People enjoy ice in their beverages. But with the vast selection of styles now available, people have preferences. These range from different types of ice to how much ice they want in their beverage. Then on the other end of the spectrum, there are certain types of ice ideal for displaying and serving food.
So, with a variety of ice types to choose from, it may make you wonder which kind of ice is best to use at your establishment.
While different ice machine manufacturers may have different names for the different styles of ice, all the forms classify into the following four: classic cubes, gourmet or crescent cubes, flake ice, and nugget ice.
Cube ice is the most standard ice type you’ll see offered in commercial operations. Cube ice melts slowly and cools drinks quickly. Full cube, half cube, and regular size cubes are available. (Cubes can also be known as “dice,” but the meanings are the same and only vary based on manufacturer.)
Full-sized and regular-sized cubes are perfect for soda or alcoholic drinks because of their slower melt, which reduces the risk of watering down customers’ drinks.
Half cubes are the most versatile type of ice. They can be used in drinks, slushies, and are also the preferred type of ice for bagged ice. Half dice cubes also have a lower production need, which saves money on energy costs.
Gourmet or Crescent Cubes
There are a few different kinds of gourmet or crescent cubes. If you browse through Central’s selection of ice machines, you will see many machines produce “top hat,” “cublet” or “octagon” cubes.
These different types of ice are slow-melting and have a higher displacement which means a higher profit for businesses. They are usually found in restaurants, bars and, banquet facilities, and are ideal for higher end drinks, such as “rocks” drinks.
Flake ice consists of small, hard bits of ice that are dry and cool quickly. Flake ice resembles the type of ice you would see in a snow cone, and is an easy way to keep displayed food chilled. It is useful for food displays such as shrimp cocktail and buffet displays, while also an excellent choice for retail displays, such as seafood counters at supermarkets.
There are many different names for nugget ice, including “chewable ice” and “Sonic ice”, but they all mean — flaked ice compressed into small nuggets with a soft, easy to chew texture. Nugget ice keeps beverages colder longer and can be useful in meat and seafood displays, salad bars, and for carbonated beverages.
Nugget ice is a perennial favorite among ice lovers. So, adding nugget ice to your establishment may differentiate you from surrounding stores, which may help you get a leg up on your competitors
So How Much Ice Do You Need?
It is important to purchase an ice machine that produces the correct amount of ice for your establishment. Too much or too little ice runs you the risk of wasting money or not having enough ice for your customers.
While it may seem small, ice is a tremendous asset to a foodservice establishment, so it is important to make the right choice. Central put together a buying guide for both modular and under counter ice machines, helping you understand the benefits, as well as how much ice you need for your business.
What’s your story with ice? Why do you love it? What have you seen with your customers?
Cody Bell is a content specialist with Central Restaurant Products. With over 7 years of experience in the foodservice industry, Cody has developed knowledge on topics from all aspects of commercial foodservice, from the front of the house to back of the house. He is a NAFEM Certified Foodservice Professional. In his free time, Cody likes to spend time with his wife and puppy.