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A soft serve ice cream machine is the core piece of equipment a business owner will need when looking to sell soft serve ice cream. Once you have a projected amount of ice cream sales, this will help you determine what type of machine you will need and the amount of machines you should purchase.
Many factors go into the purchase of a soft serve ice cream machine. You will need to know exactly what you are looking to sell, how much space you have, what kind of technology you want included, whether you want to buy used or new, and what distributor you want to purchase from.
Types of Soft Serve Ice Cream Machines
There are a variety of soft serve ice cream machines available to meet the needs of your shop. Choosing the right machine will ensure that you will not be overpaying and will have a long-lasting piece of equipment. Here are some machine options:
1. Counter Top or Floor Model Soft Serve Machines – Depending on the amount of space you have and the amount of product you expect to sell, you will need to decide if a counter top or floor model works best for you. A countertop soft serve ice cream machine is only practical in shops that expect to sell a very low volume of soft serve.
2. Flavor Options – You will also need to decide how many flavors you want to offer before purchasing a machine. Some machines only serve one flavor, while many others offer the twin twist where you have the option of two separate flavors or dispensing them both in a twist serving.
If you are looking to serve soft serve ice cream in a minimal amount, such as an addition to a dessert like pie, you probably just need a single flavor machine.
3. Air Cooled or Water Cooled – An air-cooled soft serve ice cream machine is beneficial as you can place it wherever you like because it does not need a water hook-up. A water-cooled machine must be attached to a water hook-up, which could limit where you place your machine, however, it can store more energy, which cools the ice cream faster. Air cooled machines are ideal in a room with air conditioning whereas a water cooled machine can be stored in a very warm room and still perform well.
4. Gravity vs. Pressure-Fed – Gravity soft serve machines use gravity to transfer soft serve mix through feed tubes into the freezing cylinder whereas pressure-fed machines use a pump to transfer the mix from the hopper to the freezing cylinder.
Generally, pressurized machines are used for high volume use. A pressurized soft serve ice cream machine produces a higher overrun (amount of product resulting from the amount of air whipped into the mix). Gravity machines tend to be less expensive and easier to operate and clean, while pressure-fed machines can control the overrun air more efficiently.
5. Technology– Yet another feature that you want to consider is a low mix alarm. This is a buzzer or bell that goes off when the mix level in the machine becomes too low. This is necessary because when the soft ice cream mix falls below a certain level it freezes solid and damages the blades on the dasher.
Best Soft Serve Ice Cream Equipment Suppliers: How to Find Them
The best soft serve ice cream equipment suppliers are going to be the ones that offer you a selection of machines, supplies and related products all in one place.
Ideally the supplier will be located near your location to cut down on any delivery costs. If you are lucky enough to have the supplier in the same town or city as you, you can possibly save money by picking it up. You may also be able to go to their warehouse to test out the machines and see how they work.
Another great way to choose a supplier is to review their warranty and support. This will be very important should anything go wrong when using your machine the first few years. Many distributors will even offer training so you and your staff operate and clean the equipment correctly. Look for a supplier that has distributors nationwide that can offer parts and service for your machine.
Lastly, seek the advice of those in the industry. You can visit shops in your area to see what type of equipment they use or ask questions in industry-related forums online. This is a great option because you are likely to get an unbiased opinion and learn from someone who has experience using the soft serve ice cream machine.
Other Helpful Soft Serve Machine Articles
How to Choose a Commercial Soft Serve Machine
Used Soft Serve Machine – The Pros & Cons
Soft Serve Ice Cream Machines Suppliers