How to Pick Cold Beverage Equipment for Your Restaurant

You want to serve your patrons well. This means that you want to satisfy all of their needs, including hunger, thirst, and overall comfort and pleasure. Not only do your patrons come to your establishment to be nourished, but they also come to be refreshed. Your beverage service is an equally important part of the dining experience that you offer. Having cold drinks on a sweltering day will make the visit complete and memorable.

Consider these points in choosing cold beverage equipment that will meet your patrons’ needs:

  • What type of ice will you need? Start with the chill. Deciding between ice that is cubed, crushed or formed in nuggets is a bigger decision than may be apparent. The choice will be foundational in preparation and presentation. In making this decision, consider the type of drinks that will be your focus. Cubed is the most common choice overall because this type of ice is slower to melt while quickly chilling the beverage. This style results in less waste and is the best value. However, cubed ice does not serve all needs well. Crushed ice is your answer if you will be serving mixed drinks, cocktails, or featured carbonated drinks. Nuggets are the perfect size for blended drinks, smoothies, and other selections that are super-chilled and ready to savor. Carefully consider the importance your cold drinks will hold on your menu, and make your choices accordingly.
  • What range of selections will you provide? Your beverage array will match the personality and purpose of your restaurant. Do you want to have featured items that remove the burden of choice for your customers, or is the freedom of choice your forte? Most restaurants do offer a variety of sodas. You will probably want to offer a plentiful menu of an array of carbonated drinks unless you want to make a conscious choice for healthier options, such as teas and juices. Is alcohol part of your venue’s appeal? Will your menu include the popular, relaxing beers and wines, or must you round your offerings out with crafted and designer choices? Focus on the atmosphere and vibe that you want to create in deciding the number and range of choices. Each option will take different valves, gas systems, and dispensers.
  • What are your space and layout considerations? The drink personality that you want to establish must be balanced with your space and availability. Standard carbonated beverage dispensers have up to a dozen flavor valves in one machine. Separate dispensers will be needed for the main categories of teas and juices. How many beer taps and wine dispensers will be needed to meet the needs and tastes of your patrons? When considering wines, look for dispensers that are either long-draw or short-draw. Consider the space and design of your bar area. Tabletop dispensers save space and use traditional glass bottles. They keep bottles chilled and dispense using a tap. Since craft beers are becoming popular, you may need to explore options that require not only the standard CO2 dispensers but those that require both nitrogen and CO2 for drafts and stouts.
  • What options are right for you? Many modern cold beverage machines provide more options to satisfy customers. Some recent features are potion controls, push-button operations that mix drinks for the customers, self-serve machines and others. In deciding how to balance choice with the bottom line, consider all aspects of your facility, including a budget, size, electrical and plumbing considerations. Seek consultants who can work with you to make the most of your capability in providing choice and efficiency.

Premium service is all about making the entire experience a pleasurable one for your customers. Soothe your patrons’ thirst for refreshment, taste, and fun by selecting equipment that meets your beverage needs and style. Your customers will be sure to return for another round.