When the Scotsman Luv the Nug truck made a visit to Central on St. Patrick’s Day of 2011, we learned a little bit more about ice than we already knew—people love it and some are even borderline obsessed with it.
Of course, people enjoy ice in their beverages. But with the large 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 on.
So with a variety of ice types to choose from, it may make you wonder which type 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 styles can really be categorized to the following four: classic cubes, gourmet or crescent cubes, flake ice and nugget ice.
This is your simple standard ice. Its simplicity makes it great for most applications. According to Scotsman, this type of ice works well for ice dispensing, mixed drinks, carbonated beverages, ice displays, ice retailing and banquet services.
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 you. They are usually found in restaurants, bars and banquet facilities.
Flake ice consists of small, hard bits of ice that are dry and cool quickly. It’s great for meat or seafood displays, salad bars, blended cocktails and even therapeutic use. From the Manitowoc website, flake ice is great for serving because the soft, small pieces of ice form around an object without bruising.
There are so many different names for nugget ice from “chewable ice” to “Sonic ice.” Nugget ice is flaked ice compressed into small nuggets—and because of its soft texture, it’s easy to chew. Also, it keeps beverages cooler longer. It’s commonly used for carbonated beverages, meat or seafood displays and salad bars.
“It’s more energy efficient than cube ice because it uses 50 percent less water than making cube ice,” added Terry Toth, marketing communications manager for Scotsman. “It also lowers syrup cost per cup, (there’s a) higher liquid displacement.”
Nugget ice is seeming to be a 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.
Luv the Nug
Delving in a little bit deeper in to nugget ice, last year marked the 30th anniversary of Scotsman’s nugget ice, so they created a social media campaign and built a truck (Luv the Nug) to travel across the country. This enabled them to witness people’s love for nugget ice first hand and hear personal stories.
“Usually food equipment companies don’t get to taste the product they create, so it was really unique,” Toth said. “It’s a different type of interaction that I’ve never experienced.”
With their different campaigns and contests, they learned people loved chewing on ice for a variety of reasons.
“Some chew on it because they were introduced for medical reasons; people have said nurses said to chew on it to prevent ulcers from forming,” Toth explained. “Then some just went to Sonic and got lots and lots of ice, or went to a convenience store and purchased bags. There were many different reasons which is why we looked through social media.”
The Luv the Nug truck will be touring again this year, kicking off in Boston this June. They also have added a free app people can use to find the nearest location to them that serves nugget ice. The app and tons of other nugget ice information can be found at LuvTheNug.com. Also–if you serve nugget ice at your establishment, be sure to check and see if are on the list! If not, you can add your location so people can come to you for their nugget ice.
So How Much Ice Do You Need?
It’s 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 huge asset to a foodservice establishment, so you need to be sure you’re set. Central put together this buying guide which not only explains how much ice you need, but includes other helpful tips about ice machines too.
What’s your story with ice? Why do you love it? What have you seen with your customers?