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Necessity vs. Expense: The Pros & Cons of Owning an Ice Machine

Each commercial kitchen has different requirements, and business owners have an array of decisions to take care of regarding several components. Commercial kitchen equipment is the deciding factor between the success and failure of an establishment. Needless to say, the kind of equipment you invest in is one of the core areas of focus when you set out on building a new food business. Due to the multiple technical, financial, and logistical concerns involved in the acquisition of commercial kitchen equipment like ice makers, taking a well-informed call is important. We help you decide whether an icemaker is necessary for your business by listing the pros and cons of owning one in the sections that follow.

The Benefits of Owning an Ice Machine

Some of the advantages of owning commercial ice machine are:

1.    Ice Provides a Sense of Freshness

Ice can make a big difference when it comes to your drink menu. Ice tends to make drinks more appetizing and appealing. The texture & taste brought about by quality ice cubes can help you sell more drinks, and the freshness brought about by ice can have a positive impact on your customers’ opinions of your offerings.

2.    Require No Draining or Water Line

Commercial ice machines of the portable variety can fit snugly in small spaces, and do not need any special plumbing adjustments. These ice makers can be placed comfortably over countertops or under them, ensuring you make the best use of available space. They also help you avoid site augmentation costs that come with larger variants.

3.    They Save Time

Not owning an ice machine might require you to send staff to procure bagged ice on a regular basis. If not, you might have to get ice delivered to your establishment regularly – an expensive service. Having your ice machine helps in better utilization of time, and enables you to cut costs stemming from ice purchases.

4.    They’re Convenient

Ice makers are dedicated refrigeration systems designed just for producing ice. They’re especially useful in the summers and on high-volume days when you need to serve a large number of customers. They make ice available on-site and help you improve the quality of several offerings.

5.    Help You Avoid Physical Labor

If you run a business that requires large amounts of ice but buys it from a supplier, you’re sure to understand the amount of physical labor involved. Owning an ice machine can help you reassign staff from ice pick-ups to other activities that might require more attention at the commercial kitchen.

Common Reasons to Not Invest in an Ice Machine

Certain businesses choose not to purchase an ice maker due to the following reasons:

1.    They’re Pricey

Commercial-grade ice makers are expensive machines that can have high upfront costs. While the price might be worth it in the long run for establishments that really need it, smaller businesses that do not have the necessity for them can end up taking losses if they invest in models unsuited to their business plans.

2.    They Require Maintenance & Regular Cleaning

All ice machines require rigorous maintenance and frequent deep cleaning. The cleaning processes involve various technicalities, and not all establishments have staff members proficient in these techniques. A dirty ice machine will produce contaminated ice cubes. This can have serious consequences for your business’ reputation and your customers’ health.

3.    Repairs Cost Money

Due to the near-constant rate of functioning, ice makers can run into occasional technical problems. These issues need to be fixed by trained experts, and the repairs can cost you money. Repair expenses can be an additional burden on your monthly running costs unless you have a comprehensive warranty agreement.

4.    Loss of Productivity & Dealing With a Breakdown

Ice makers can run into problems occasionally, and it’s always a bad time when they do. While dealing with the malfunctioning machine and paying for its repairs is one part of the problem, sending out staff to fetch ice from suppliers is another. Both of these solutions cost money and compound the expense during a breakdown.

5.    Unexpected Costs Have Serious Implications

Ice makers can be unpredictable and might have technical problems and maintenance issues. Solving these snags costs quite a bit of money, and in the meantime, you also need to spend on backup ice. For businesses that struggle to control their costs, these sudden expenses can bring about a chain reaction that can lead to their downfall.

Does Your Business Really Need An Ice Machine?

Before purchasing an ice machine for your business, ensure you take into account all the pros and cons of owning & operating one. You could also consult commercial kitchen planners, and financial advisors to know the true cost of procuring an ice machine and keeping up with its maintenance routines. Thorough research, consultation, and planning must be undertaken if you’re evaluating your establishment’s need for an ice maker.

While ice machines can be an ingenious solution to solving several problems in the kitchen, they also come with some caveats. Be sure to understand the various benefits and drawbacks of owning an ice machine. Don’t forget to factor in your establishment’s requirements before making large investments in commercial kitchen equipment like ice machines.

Author BIO: Damon Shrauner

Damon Shrauner, Senior Sales Consultant and VP on B2B Sales at ChefBuyer, working in the foodservice equipment sector since 1994. With his expertise in market analysis, product placement, sales, and project management, he will always tell you what to do for the best of your business.

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