Some of my co-workers and I recently had the privilege to tour the Ice-O-Matic factory in Denver, Colorado.
Now don’t go running off just yet, let me get one thing said up front: I know that factory tours, or even ice for that matter, aren’t exactly at the top of the list for must-do’s, but I think each of us learned something during that tour. Not only did we learn more about ice in general, but we also learned that Ice-O-Matic is filled with passionate people that love to share that passion with others – yes, even over ice – and believe that investing in an ice machine is more than just another piece of equipment in your kitchen.
Okay, So What’s With the Ice?
Of course we had to start the tour with a run through of ice and how the machines work. Among other facts, I think my biggest take-a-way was that I’ll never look at ice in my cup the same way anymore – cleaning and sanitizing is crucial with ice machines because ice is considered a food.
As a germ-a-phobe myself, I told our presenter that now I have yet another phobia to add to my list of foods to be scared of. He of course laughed and said, “Well, as long as that machine stays clean and the water is filtered, consumers of ice should be just fine, and the life-span of the ice machine is greatly increased.”
But it wasn’t just the cleanliness of ice that I was able to walk away with; we also learned a slew of information about the frozen water:
- Cube Ice: Bars typically prefer to serve up bigger ice sizes because it makes the beverage look more appealing – some bars even buy blocks of ice so they can cube it themselves. This style of ice is also preferred in hotter climates because it takes longer to melt. 75% of Americans prefer cube ice.
- Flake Ice: Schools, Universities and Healthcare facilities prefer flake ice because it can also be used for packing around injuries. Grocery stores prefer flake ice to showcase seafood because it helps prevent the meat from bruising, and it can be formed into shapes – think waves of ice.
- Pearl Ice: Known by most consumers as Sonic Ice, the food service industry loves this type of ice because it’s chewable and takes the flavor of the beverage. And believe it or not, 7 out of 10 people like to chew ice, and this is the preferred type to chew. This ice is also commonly used for merchandising and displays.
But What Does That Have to Do With My Business?
Buying an ice machine isn’t just about choosing the right type of ice. Our presenter was very insistent on making sure that each establishment looking to invest in a new ice machine was matched up with the right ice machine for them. It’s not about the biggest, or most expensive; it’s about ensuring that the average ice usage per day is met, while leaving room for future growth.
Okay, I’m listening, what else?
It’s also about knowing warranty details, like using a filter (and regularly changing it) can extend the ice machines warranty by 7 years! And because water taste, hardness, chemicals, etc. vary in different parts of the country, having a filter is crucial to ensure the safety of the consumers. And the good news is that Ice-O-Matic will send out reminders for when your filter should be changed – you’ll have to make sure to register the warranty though.
After our presentation, we were then taken to the factory where we were able to see exactly how each of Ice-O-Matics ice machines were made. Here’s a great video from the show “How it’s Made” so you too can see how they’re made: