Easy Ice Survey Finds Ice Machines Most Frustrating

Company discovers growing trend among foodservice managers

(Marquette, MI – April 13, 2011) – Easy Ice, the first and only national provider of commercial ice machine subscriptions, announced today the results of its recent industry survey on commercial ice equipment. The study revealed that ice machines have replaced dishwashers as the most frustrating piece of kitchen equipment. When surveyed, 57.1 percent of participants stated that ice machines caused the greatest problems for their facility. In contrast, only 3.9 percent of respondents said that their dishwasher was the highest source of frustration.

“The fact that dishwashers are no longer perceived as the most annoying machine in the kitchen indicates a significant industry trend,” said Easy Ice CEO Mark Hangen. “Five years ago, dishwashers would have been at the top of the list, but third-party service providers changed how dishwashing equipment was provided, maintained and repaired.”

“These providers have had a lasting industry impact by offering restaurants, hospitality properties and institutional facilities an alternative to the hassle of dealing with these machines on their own. Easy Ice’s subscription plans are taking ice machines down the same path, shifting the operational responsibility for the machines from foodservice managers to Easy Ice and its local and national partners,” Hangen added.

The survey of operations managers, facility managers and owners in the foodservice industry also found that:

  • More than 75 percent of respondents were not happy with their current on-site ice solution, citing frequent machine breakdowns, low ice production volume and poor energy efficiency as the reasons for their dissatisfaction
  • Half of survey respondents made two to five calls when their ice machine malfunctioned, including multiple calls to repair personnel and emergency ice providers
  • More than half of survey takers also responded that machine repairs usually took between two and seven days to complete
  • Of respondents with an ice machine brand preference, participants markedly preferred machines made by Hoshizaki America, Inc.© over other well-known brands
  • Approximately 80 percent of participants spent up to $400 per repair on their ice machine
  • Survey takers noted that when it came to investing capital in their business, they focused heavily on the areas of equipment and staffing

“While ice machines are critical equipment, from the business perspective they are really non-producing assets because they don’t directly contribute to profits,” said Hangen. “By transitioning to a subscription plan that maintains, cleans and repairs their ice machines, owners and operators can eliminate the nuisance of dealing with machine malfunctions and high repair bills.”

John Mahlmeister, SVP of Sales and Marketing adds, “It all boils down to a business owner deciding where they can make the biggest difference with their capital and their time.”  Successful business owners know it is impractical to own and operate everything, so they pick their battles and focus on the high leverage issues.  ”Our unique position within the ice-making industry allows Easy Ice to eliminate the hassles with ice machines in the same way Ecolab, Autochlor, and others solved the dishwasher problem.  With regard to the Most Frustrating Equipment, we’re optimistic that in a few years, ice machines will be right where they belong – at the bottom of the list!”

How Easy Ice Subscriptions Work

Easy Ice subscriptions on Hoshizaki ice makers, bins and dispensers are offered nationwide for a flat monthly cost.   Subscriptions include preventive maintenance, standard water filter changes, repairs (parts and labor), regular cleaning and delivery of emergency ice if a machine malfunctions. The ice machines range in size from 250 to 1,900 pounds of ice produced in a 24-hour period, and come in a variety of styles including modular and stackable units, built-in bin models, fountain dispenser machines, and ice and water dispensing units.

About Easy Ice

Easy Ice is the first and only provider of national, full-service commercial ice machine subscriptions. With more than 3,000 customers nationwide, Easy Ice supplies ice machines to every industry.   Industries we serve include restaurants, bars, convenience stores, employee lounges in manufacturing and distribution centers, grocers, country clubs and recreational clubs, healthcare facilities, hotels and cruise ships, educational institutions, offices, military bases and government facilities.

Headquartered in Marquette, Mich., Easy Ice operates a 24-hour call center, which is open 365 days a year and reachable at 866-easyice (866-327-9423), to provide customers with service in real time. Through a partnership with Reddy Ice, the largest packaged ice supplier in North America, Easy Ice is able to provide experienced service technicians and emergency ice within 3 to 6 hours.