Considerations Before Investing in a Soft-Serve Program

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According to the International Dairy Foods Association, the average American consumes about 23 pounds of ice cream and similar frozen desserts each year. Flavor trends may come and go, but this is a reliable and classic favorite.

“Ice cream never goes out of style,” says Greg Pryal, senior sales manager at Taylor Company. “It’s trending, no matter what’s going on in the world. When restaurants put ice cream on the menu, they are adding a very profitable product. It’s also a way to introduce new concepts and flavors in a way that customers will respond to.

Many restaurateurs choose soft-serve when starting to offer frozen desserts, aware of the higher profit margins and minimal training required. A soft serve program also has other benefits, such as faster service, fresher product, and the ability to start a milkshake program using the same equipment.

It makes sense to consider soft-service, especially given the current environment of labor shortages and supply chain issues. One consideration is whether to choose pressure equipment or “gravity” equipment — the answer depends on the unique needs of the operator.

The pressure equipment delivers the product through a pump that puts a barrel under pressure. It provides consistency and approximately 30% more capacity and more precise control over the amount of air that ends up in the finished product (also called overshoot). Gravity equipment has a feed tube at the top of the machine to deliver product. Without a pump assembly, cleaning becomes a simpler process.

Before joining a program, however, operators frequently share similar concerns.

“There’s a lot of interest in getting into frozen desserts, but there’s also hesitation,” says Pryal.

He notes that many operators think soft-serve machines are difficult and labor-intensive to clean, especially given the chronic understaffing in the kitchen. “It’s a misconception,” he said. “Taylor Company’s distribution network not only supplies the equipment, but also provides training and upgrading of personnel, and offers extensive on-site support and remote diagnostics for the life of the unit. equipment.”

Taylor Company and its distribution network work with restaurants to learn and meet their specific needs. This includes options such as a line of auto-pasteurization (heat treatment) equipment as well as their standard offering of soft serve equipment – the benefit of the heat treatment line being that the operator does not have to only to dismantle the equipment every 14 or 28 days. Along with these innovative equipment solutions to solve cleaning problems, the Taylor Company distribution network offers a Brush Butler program for heat treatment equipment where a certified technician will come on a 14 or 28 day cycle and clean the machine for the customer. “It’s a good option for operators to outsource the cleaning process,” says Pryal.

For standard mild-duty (no heat treatment) equipment, Taylor Company also offers a clean-in-place (CIP) system called Hydra Rinse that cleans and sanitizes equipment without having to disassemble it. “Both of these solutions are great options for operators to outsource the cleaning process, making it easier for them to consider entering the soft drink world,” says Pryal.

When soft-service equipment is properly maintained, its lifespan can be extended, the quality of the product served to the customer is improved and the availability of the equipment increases. “The experienced and hands-on local support we provide is extremely important when it comes to dairy equipment,” says Pryal.

He urges restaurateurs to do their due diligence when it comes to investing in soft-serve equipment. “You have to understand that you’re entering into a 15 to 20 year relationship when you buy a piece of equipment,” says Pryal. “It’s an important decision. Any product you buy, and any support you might need, has to last for the long haul.

To learn more, visit the Taylor Company website.

By Kara Phelps

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