Master-Bilt® Refrigeration News & Product Information
Ice Cream Equipment Guide
Whether you’re planning to open an ice cream shop or add ice cream as a side item to your existing business, it’s good to know something about the equipment you’ll need and how it can fit into your business.
One of the most basic pieces of ice cream equipment is the dipping cabinet. These are used frequently in ice cream shops or self-serve buffet lines. Dipping cabinets typically accommodate 3-gallon containers and are available in a variety of sizes to suit your volume.
Things to look for include:
- Durable stainless steel tops to resist corrosion
- A floor drain with a garden hose fitting so when you wash it out, you can channel the water through a hose to your drain
- Anti-condensate heaters under the top cap to reduce condensation in high temp areas
- A cold wall evaporator with foamed-in-place refrigerant lines wrapped around the outside of the inner tub. Cold wall evaporators provide even temperature throughout with no air blowing across the ice cream which can lower product quality.
- Extra storage space beneath the display area
- A stainless steel exterior option for the most durable finish
- A dipper well option is important for rinsing scoops or other utensils. These usually come in a kit which allows you to hook up to a water source for fresh running water.
These are the cabinets you see in traditional soda fountains with pumps and jars mounted above the dipping cabinet. Topping centers are ideal for prep areas or sundae stations in ice cream shops. The construction is the same as a standard dipping cabinet but with the raised rail that houses the jars and pumps.
Keep in mind…
- The type and number of pumps and jars can be customized, so they are not always included with the base cabinet
- Stainless steel exterior and dipper well options should also be available for these models
These cabinets are used in retail settings to display all your flavors. The rear lid raises to allow store employees to dip ice cream for customers. There are several sizes of dipping/display cabinets available with different types of glass tops. For example, models with lowered front glass allow customers to get a better view of all the flavors available. Speaking of flavors, you should consider how many you want to display when selecting the cabinet size.
Other things to look for include:
- A model with rear air intake and discharge. This is important if you have special graphics you want to place on the front of the cabinet. Rear intake and discharge eliminates the need for a front grille and allows the maximum area for graphics.
- Standard wiper gaskets on the top and side of the lid to help keep out warm outside air as well as contaminants.
- Storage space beneath the display area to hold extra containers.
- Frost shields option. Frost shields are flat pieces of metal that attach along the top of the inner sides of the cabinet. Frost collects on the shields which are easily removed, wiped off and put back in place. Frost shields save a lot of time (and potential cabinet damage) by eliminating the need to scrape frost off the cabinet interior.
- Can holder options. As the name implies, can holders hold ice cream containers in place while employees scoop. The holders also come with lids to cover the ice cream and keep out contaminants.
- As with other dipping cabinets, a dipper well option should be available
These cabinets are frequently used in shops where ice cream is made on-site. Containers of freshly-made ice cream are placed inside the hardening cabinet for rapid freezing. The product is then stored, or held, until needed.
Things to look for include:
- Insulated inner half doors in addition to the outer ones. These half doors allow entry into the case without exposing all the product to warmer outside air.
- Heavy-duty cantilever shelves that will support the weight of ice cream containers
- ¾ to 1 HP refrigeration system capable of faster temperature pull down, higher product loads and lower temperatures.
Depending on your sales volume, you may want to consider a walk-in freezer for storage. The extra storage space allows you to produce more product and keep on-hand as needed. Be sure to specify an adequate refrigeration system to maintain the low temperature required. Should you need assistance, your dealer or the manufacturer should be able to help pick out the right system.
Keep in mind:
- You may want to consider a reinforced floor to support the extra weight of shelves and containers. If you are using carts or floor jacks, a reinforced floor is highly recommended.
- Optional electronic controllers add to the refrigeration system’s reliability and help ensure the consistent low temperature required.
- Optional shelving comes in very handy for efficient storage of containers.
In addition to hand-scooped ice cream, you can use a display freezer to take advantage of frozen novelty sales. When it comes to merchandisers, several choices are available including horizontal freezers, countertop models and upright reach-ins. Horizontal models typically have casters that allow you to reposition them throughout your store to capitalize on high traffic areas. Countertops can be placed next to cash registers to encourage impulse purchases. Upright glass door reach-in freezers can be placed against walls or on endcaps to display ice cream and frozen novelties of all kinds. Reach-ins come in one, two or three door models.
- Look for horizontal freezers with standard baskets, floor drains and locks.
- LED lighting is more efficient and highlights products better. Most merchandisers will be equipped with LEDs.
- Reach-in glass door freezers are available with full height doors or with lighted graphic panels on top. Full doors provide more product display while the lighted sign provides customer attraction. The choice between the two types depends on your preference.