Choosing the Right Type of Soft Serve

Choosing the Right Type of Soft Serve Ice Cream Machine for your Shop – A Guide to Making the Best Decision

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.
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