For small business owners, especially those in the food industry, selecting the right commercial soft serve ice cream machine can significantly impact your business’s growth, efficiency, and customer satisfaction. If you’re an entrepreneur thinking about opening your ice cream parlor or adding soft serve ice cream to your existing menu, read on. This guide will be your companion in making an informed decision.
What is a Commercial Soft Serve Ice Cream Machine?
A commercial soft serve ice cream machine produces the delectably smooth, deliciously creamy dessert we all know and love – soft serve ice cream. As opposed to regular ice cream machines, commercial soft serve machines are designed to create a softer product with a lower temperature and a lighter texture, hence the name “soft serve.”
The machine works by rapidly freezing the ice cream or soft serve mix while adding air to it, creating ice cream that is creamier and less dense than traditional ice creams. It holds this product at the perfect serving temperature, ensuring every cone or cup is just as good as the last. And this isn’t limited to ice cream alone; many machines can also produce gelato, sorbet, and frozen yogurt, making them a versatile addition to any business.
Factors to Consider When Buying a Commercial Soft Serve Ice Cream Machine
Below are some very important factors to think about before making your purchase:
Machine Size and Capacity
The size and capacity of commercial soft serve ice cream machines matter greatly. Do you need a countertop machine that saves space but can only serve a limited number of customers per hour, or do you have room for larger floor model machines to produce a higher volume of soft serve ice cream? Consider your customer flow, your store’s available space, and your business’s demands before you decide.
Quality and Durability
In addition to the machine’s capacity, the quality and durability of commercial soft serve machines are essential factors. Consider machines made from high-quality materials and designed for longevity. They might cost more upfront, but the investment is worth it in the long run. Look for reputable brands like Taylor Company, known for their quality commercial ice cream makers, and always consider the warranty options available.
Soft serve machines can come with a range of different features. Some might have an air-cooled system, while others are water-cooled. Air-cooled machines are typically more suitable for smaller spaces with ample ventilation. In contrast, a water-cooled machine could be better if your business has a reliable water supply and higher ambient temperatures.
Other features include the number of flavors a machine can dispense (one, two, or even twist options), if it’s gravity-fed or pump fed, and the size and number of freezing cylinders. All these factors affect the product’s consistency, quality, and how much you can produce. Consider what’s best for your menu and your customers’ tastes.
Cost is a deciding factor for any business equipment purchase, including a commercial soft serve machine. While you can find less expensive machines, they might not have the durability or features you need. On the other hand, the most expensive options might offer more than you need for your business. You have to decide what you’re willing to invest for the right machine and the potential return on that investment.
Lastly, don’t forget to research the reputation of the brand or manufacturer. Look for commercial ice cream machine makers that stand behind their products with excellent customer service and good warranties. Don’t just sell soft serve; sell the best soft serve you can create with the help of a reliable machine from a reputable brand.
Top Ten Soft Serve Machines for Your Business
As promised, here are Amazon’s ten best commercial ice cream makers. Look at their features and specs, and you may find your next great investment.
GSEICE 3600W Commercial Ice Cream Maker Machine
Top Pick: The GSEICE 3600W Commercial Ice Cream Maker Machine is a high-performance, heavy-duty option for your business. With a yield of 42-46L (11-12.2 Gal) per hour, it’s designed to cater to high-volume ice cream needs. This machine also comes with the brand’s patented puffing technology, which improves the puffing rate by 35%-45%, enhancing taste and saving raw materials.
High Yield: Capable of delivering up to 450 servings an hour, thanks to the double 8L hoppers and 2.5L cylinders.
Patented Puffing Technology: Improves puffing rate by 35%-45%, enhancing the taste and reducing raw material usage.
Energy Saving: Brand compressors, worm gear reducers, and R410a refrigerant for faster cooling and energy saving. Also features frequency conversion technology to reduce power consumption.
3 Flavors & 9 Shape Hats: Allows customers to enjoy two single flavors or one mixed flavor. Plus, the nine different shape heads let you create various ice cream patterns to attract customers.
Pre-Cooling, Auto-Clean, and Refrigeration: Pre-cooling function improves ice cream-making efficiency. The auto-clean function simplifies the cleaning process, taking only 3 to 5 minutes without detaching the machine.
LCD control panel with a 42° tilt angle screen to display temperature, hardness, quantity, and ice cream making progress
COSTWAY Commercial Ice Cream Machine
Runner Up: The COSTWAY Commercial Ice Cream Machine is an efficient and versatile addition to any establishment. It comes with an ample capacity of 6 liters, capable of producing 5.3 to 7.4 gallons of ice cream per hour, meeting the demands of shops, restaurants, or bars. This machine offers a unique feature with four shape hats, allowing you to create various ice creams to cater to different tastes. During mixing, you can add various food items like berries, meringue, and nuts.
Four Shape Hats
Customization Options: Designed with two modes and five choices
User-friendly LCD Display: Simplifies operation with real-time control over quantity, hardness, and temperature
Large 6L Capacity
Automatic Cleaning Function
VEVOR 2200W Commercial Freestanding Soft Ice Cream Machine
Best Value: The VEVOR Commercial Soft Ice Cream Machine offers reliable performance and high production capacity at a lower price point than many freestanding or countertop machines. It’s packed with features and durable stainless steel construction, ensuring years of performance.
Besides its high-performance mechanics, this machine also offers the convenience of a detachable drip tray, ingredient shortage alarm, and a self-cleaning mode. If your small business needs a high-volume soft serve machine at a reasonable price, this Vevor model could be your best bet!
High Production Capacity: The machine comes with two 1.6 Gallon (6L) hoppers made of food-grade 304 stainless steel. It can produce 5.3-7.4 gallons (20-28 liters) of ice cream per hour, effectively catering to daily household or commercial needs.
Three Flavor Options: Two single flavors and one mixed flavor for diverse options
Power and Efficiency: 2200-watt brand compressor, resulting in faster cooling, lower noise, and less power consumption. Using R410a refrigerant enhances the efficiency and energy-saving properties of the machine.
Intelligent LCD Panel Control: Allows you to easily set the time, temperature, and hardness of your ice cream.
Pre-Cooling: Ingredients in the machine can be pre-cooled, and the quantity of the ice cream produced is displayed on the screen for direct observation.
Thoughtful Design Details: It also features an ergonomic handle, cooling vents, universal fixed casters, and an external egg cone holder.
ROVSUN Soft Serve Ice Cream Machine
The ROVSUN Soft Serve Ice Cream Machine offers a perfect blend of quality and efficiency. With a pre-cooling and puffing function, it ensures the production of smooth ice cream that rivals any high-end ice cream shop. Its user-friendly LCD panel allows for easy monitoring and adjustment of temperature, quantity, and hardness levels.
Pre-Cooling and Puffing Function: For optimal ice cream texture and freshness
User-Friendly LCD Panel: Displays temperature, quantity, hardness, and voltage for easy monitoring and adjustments
High-Quality Construction: Built for longevity and easy to fit into any space
Powerful Performance: With 1050W power and a 1.32 gal tank, it can produce up to 4.2 gal of ice cream per hour
One-Year Warranty: Ensuring customer satisfaction and peace of mind
Includes detachable drip trays and a one-click cleaning function
It comes with a dust cover for maintaining the hygiene of the mixture
Adcraft Lunar Ice Commercial Standing Ice Cream Machine
The Adcraft LIIC-2H Lunar Ice Commercial Soft Serve Ice Cream Machine stands out as a powerful tool for your business. With a maximum output of 50.7 quarts per hour, it’s designed for establishments with high-volume demands. Its microprocessor controls maintain precise refrigeration, while the counter records dispenses per day and total dispenses for easy operation monitoring.
High Output: Dispenses up to 50.7 quarts per hour, catering to high-volume needs
Stainless steel design
Air-cooled and gravity-fed
Microprocessor Controls: Regulate refrigeration effectively for optimal results
Dispense Counter: Records daily and total dispenses for operational insights
Standby Mode: Preserves product temperature in mix hoppers and freezing cylinders during idle periods
Hopper Agitator: Ensures mix consistency and temperature
VEVOR 2500W Commercial Hard/Soft Ice Cream Machine
This VEVOR Commercial Ice Cream Machine is designed to amplify your dessert offerings. With its dual 12L hoppers, this machine can produce an impressive 40 liters of ice cream every hour. The hoppers, constructed from food-grade 304 stainless steel, ensure safety and durability.
The machine enables in-process flavor additions, like vanilla, chocolate, or fruit – allowing you to add unique touches to your desserts.
Dual 12L Hoppers: Allows large volume ice cream production
Three Flavor Dispensing: Create two separate flavors or a mixed blend to cater to diverse palates
High-Efficiency 2500W Compressor: Offers fast cooling with reduced noise and power consumption
Smart LCD Panel: Enables you to set time, temperature, hardness and monitor the quantity in real-time
Self-cleaning Feature: One-click activation for ease of maintenance
Includes ergonomic handle, cooling vents, detachable drip tray, and material shortage alarm
GSEICE 2500W Commercial Ice Cream Maker
Optimize your dessert offerings with the GSEICE Commercial Ice Cream Maker Machine, an effective solution designed to enhance your small business operation. This device integrates advanced and convenient features, such as a quiet motor, ergonomic design, and high yields.
High Yield Capacity: Between 6.8 to 8.4 gallons per hour, utilizing dual 2.0-gallon mixing hoppers and a 0.5-gallon freezing cylinder for producing up to 300 servings an hour.
3 Flavor Options: 2 unique flavors and one combined option, accommodating diverse customer preferences.
LED Control Panel: A unique 42-degree digital panel displays operational data for quick and easy monitoring and customization of hardness or softness levels of your ice cream.
2500W Power & Efficient Design: Strong 2500W power alongside a 1100W compressor ensures a smooth, quiet operation. Integrated puffing technology enhances puffing efficiency and an ingredient shortage alarm ensures the consistency of your mixture.
User-Centric Features: The machine incorporates a dust-proof lid, ergonomic handle design, cooling vents, detachable drip tray, and easily maneuverable caster wheels for a convenient user experience.
Versatile Use: Ideal for a variety of commercial settings, such as cafés, bakeries, fast-food chains, and restaurants, with its compact design and durable stainless steel construction.
Home & Kitchen Commercial 3Flavor Soft Ice Cream Cooling/Making Machine
The Home&Kitchen Commercial Soft Ice Cream Machine is a practical investment for your business, providing a versatile solution for your frozen dessert offerings. Engineered with advanced features, this machine ensures the production of delicious soft serve ice cream, yogurt, and other frozen treats.
3 Flavor Options: This machine comes with two built-in stainless steel containers that allow the making of two single flavors and one mix flavor, offering a variety in your dessert menu.
High-Performance Compressor: The high-horsepower compressor ensures rapid refrigeration and discharge, greatly increasing the hourly output to a maximum of 30L/h. Ice cream hardness can also be adjusted to your liking.
Intelligent Controls: The LCD panel integrates time, temperature, hardness, and quantity into one display for easy operation. It also features a one-click cleaning function and a material shortage protection system.
Adjustable Hardness: The ice cream machine allows for easy adjustment of ice cream hardness, providing a customizable operation to meet your specific needs.
Extensive Use: Crafted with food-grade stainless steel, this machine is ideal for making soft ice cream, yogurt, and other sorbets. It’s perfectly suited for use in restaurants, cafes, and fast-food shops.
BZD Commercial Countertop Soft Serve Ice Cream Machine
This versatile and efficient machine is designed to produce a variety of soft serve ice cream, adding value to your snack bars, restaurants, and cafés. The machine includes ergonomic handles, extensive cooling vents, a detachable drip tray, and non-slip legs for a seamless operation.
Powerful Operation: 2200W total power output and a 1200W brand compressor, the machine offers rapid cooling and quieter operation down to 68 decibels.
Additional 170W pre-cooling compressor and integral foaming layer extend the freshness of ingredients.
Smart LCD Panel Control: User-friendly LED display allows for the direct observation and control of ice cream quantity, hardness, and temperature. The pre-cooling and deep puffing function enhances the taste of your ice cream.
Variety of Flavors: Equipped with two 1.6-gallon hoppers made from food-grade 304 stainless steel, this machine offers two unique flavors and one mixed flavor.
Easy Cleaning: A one-touch cleaning function simplifies your routine maintenance. Simply add water into the hopper and press the cleaning button.
Inbuilt shortage alarm notifies you when ingredients need to be refilled.
VEVOR Countertop Soft Serve Ice Cream Maker
The VEVOR Soft Serve Maker is a durable stainless steel commercial machine that delivers high-quality soft serve ice cream effortlessly. With it’s high output, freshness features, and versatile use, it’s the perfect addition to your restaurant, café, snack bar, bakery, or buffet.
High Output & Varied Flavors: 5.8-7.9 gallons per hour. The two 1.6-gallon mixing hoppers and 0.5-gallon freezing cylinders produce up to 150-200 servings per hour. The machine offers two single flavors and one mixed flavor
Keep-Fresh Function: This feature maintains the hopper at a low temperature, preserving the freshness of raw materials. An insulating foam layer protects against excessive heat, preserving the integrity of your ice cream.
Powerful Performance: 2200W and a 1050W compressor, this machine guarantees efficient and quiet operation. The machine’s expansion tubes enhance ice cream’s visual appeal and increase yield by 25-30%.
Smart Control Panel: Digital panel with LCD screen lets you monitor the quantity of ice cream and adjust its softness as per your preference.
Versatile Use: Measuring 29.3″x21.3″x34″, this countertop ice cream maker seamlessly fits into many commercial environments.
Buy on Amazon
The Benefits of Using Commercial Soft Serve Ice Cream Machines in Your Business
The benefits can be significant once you add soft serve to your menu. Not only does a commercial soft serve ice cream machine allow you to serve customers quickly, but it also allows you to create a wide variety of flavors and mix-ins. Soft serve machines can serve ice cream but can also produce gelato, frozen yogurt, or other dairy products, expanding your menu possibilities.
Also, the profit margins for soft serve are often high. Given the relatively low cost of the mix and the high prices customers are willing to pay for a good product, the right machine can quickly pay for itself.
How to Maintain Your Commercial Soft Serve Ice Cream Machine
Proper maintenance is crucial to ensure the quality of your soft serve and the longevity of your machine. Most machines require daily cleaning to keep the product tasting fresh and the machine running smoothly. This typically involves disassembling parts of the machine, cleaning them thoroughly, and reassembling them.
You should periodically deep clean your machine and look for signs of wear and tear. Many manufacturers provide detailed guidelines for machine maintenance, so be sure to follow them closely.
FAQs About Commercial Soft Serve Ice Cream Machines
How often should I clean my commercial soft serve ice cream machine?
Cleaning frequency can vary based on the manufacturer’s instructions and local health regulations, but a good rule of thumb is to clean your machine daily. This ensures the best product quality and machine performance.
What kind of mix should I use for my machine?
There are a variety of soft serve mixes available, including dairy-based mixes, non-dairy mixes, and mixes for specific products like frozen yogurt or gelato. You can also find mixes in powdered form or liquid ice cream mixes.
Can a soft serve machine also make frozen yogurt or gelato?
Yes, many commercial soft serve ice cream machines can also produce frozen yogurt, gelato, and other frozen desserts. Be sure to check the machine’s capabilities before purchasing.
How long does it take for soft serve machines to freeze ice cream?
The freeze time can vary depending on the machine and the product, but generally, it takes about 20 to 30 minutes for a commercial soft serve machine to freeze ice cream.
How much electricity do commercial ice cream machines consume?
Power consumption depends on the machine’s size, capacity, and features. It’s best to check the machine’s specifications or ask the manufacturer for details.
Boost Your Business with the Best Soft Serve Ice Cream Machine
Investing in a quality commercial soft serve ice cream machine can elevate your business to new heights. It allows you to deliver consistent, delicious products that your customers will keep coming back for. As you consider your options, remember to balance the cost with the potential return on investment, the machine’s features with your specific needs, and always prioritize quality.
Your customers deserve the best soft serve ice cream, and with the right machine, you can provide just that. Make the decision that’s right for your business, and watch as your customers and your profit margins, grow.
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This article, “Commercial Soft Serve Ice Cream Machine: The Options for Your Business” was first published on Small Business Trends