How to Choose the Right
Soft Serve Equipment for Your Business

No matter what type of food service or hospitality business you run – a café, high-end restaurant, or food truck, an ice cream shop or event space – you can increase profits and elevate your brand with soft serve ice cream and batch desserts.

But how do you choose the right soft serve equipment for your business?

Understanding the ins and outs of soft serve equipment may seem complex, but there are really just two basic things to know about your business that will be your guide.

  1. What is your projected dessert volume?

  2. Which type of feed system would best suit your goals?

Once you answer these, the rest of your decision comes down to choosing a quality soft serve machine from a manufacturer that will help you meet your goals.

Did you know, soft serve ice cream can produce over 85% profit?

Woman eating a soft serve ice cream cone with joy

1. What is Your Projected Dessert Volume? Types of Soft Serve Machines & Their Output

To determine the best type of soft serve machine for your ice cream shop, restaurant, resort, casino, catering company, convenience store, or event space, measure the physical space available, have an estimate of anticipated volume, and answer these questions:

  • Do you have a dedicated space for a floor model?
  • Do you have a dedicated space for a countertop model?
  • Does your soft serve machine need to be mobile?
  • How many ice cream or dessert servings do you need to make per minute? Per day?
  • Do you want one flavor or type of soft serve at a time or more?
  • Are customers within ear-shot of the machine while it’s running?

Now you’re ready to compare the different types of soft serve machines and their outputs and get an idea of which is best for your food service business.

Soft Serve Countertop Machines

Soft serve countertop machineSoft serve countertop machines are space-saving. They commonly hold 8–20 mix-reservoir or “hopper” quarts of your milk mixture, and 1.5 to 4 quarts in the freezing cylinder, which is the ready-to-serve product. The size of the freezing cylinder determines the impact, which is how much finished product you can get out of the freeing cylinder before quality is impacted.

Countertop machines are a great choice for small- to medium-volume ice cream shops, cafés, catering companies, grocery stores and delis, convenience stores, and food trucks.

  • 5–4 quart freezing cylinder will dispense 2–3 soft serve ice cream servings per minute (4 oz.).
  • Some countertop models will hold up to 7 quarts in the freezing cylinder, which is best for 12–20 oz. shakes and smoothies.

Most Taylor Company soft serve countertop models have an optional cart for the flexibility of having either a countertop or floor model and for ADA compliance.

Thinking about joining the food truck craze? Choose equipment like Taylor Company’s double flavor plus twist C161 Soft Serve Freezer. It’s an 8-quart compact countertop model (with optional cart) capable of handling a steady stream of customers and providing a light, luxurious soft serve.

Soft Serve Floor Machines

Soft serve machine with 2 flavors & a twistThough most soft serve floor machines tend to be larger than countertop models, they have become more streamlined over the years to fit a variety of spaces. Soft serve floor machines generally offer a variety of dessert options in one machine and are the industry standard for busy restaurants, resorts, ice cream and candy shops, casinos, specialty kitchens, and sports stadiums and arenas.

  • Most soft serve floor machines hold 20–36 mix-reservoir or “hopper” quarts, and 3.4 to 7 quarts in the freezing cylinders for pulling everything from ice cream cones to smoothies and batch desserts.

Soft Serve Freezers with Multiple Hoppers

Soft serve machine that also does shakesWant to store more ice cream mix and dispense more total product without refilling the machine? Soft serve machines with multiple hoppers allow you to do this. High-volume food service businesses benefit from a soft serve machine with two or more hoppers, even if multiple flavors aren’t offered at once.

  • Multiple hoppers provide increased output capability, an array of ready-made flavor and dessert options in one convenient machine, and a larger production capacity.

Taylor Company countertop, freestanding, and floor soft serve machines come with single or multiple flavor options and flavor twist features. Additionally, some models come with soft serve freezing cylinders and milkshake cylinders in the same machine.

Soft serve ice cream dessert with raspberries and mint leaves in a pretty green cookie bowl

2. Water Cooled vs. Air Cooled Soft Serve Machines

Another soft serve machine feature to consider is water cooled vs. air cooled. They both have benefits that suit all sizes and types of food service businesses and areas.

Benefits of Water Cooled Soft Serve Ice Cream Machines

Water cooled soft serve ice cream machines use water to cool the condenser, which allows the refrigerant to cool the ice cream with maximum efficiency. We recommend a water cooled soft serve machine if you are a high-volume business, have more than one soft serve machine in a single location, or if you have a tight space where heat output from an air cooled machine could become an issue.

A water cooled soft serve machines is also required if you’re machine is going to be used outdoors in warm environments, such as a Las Vegas pool deck.

  • Eliminates heat output around the machine and into the room.
  • Cools ice cream with maximum efficiency for a consistent, food-safe product.
  • The process is quieter, creating a more relaxing customer experience.

Benefits of Air Cooled Soft Serve Ice Cream Machines

A soft serve machine that’s air cooled works by air circulating through the condenser, pushing heat away from the machine so the refrigerant can recirculate to keep the product cold. You will need ample space around the machine for the heat to escape.

  • Keeps ice cream cold and ready to serve in an instant.
  • Does not require a water supply line or drain.
  • Convenient machine placement and mobility.
  • Easy installation – no plumbing required.
A pastry shop case full of colorful ice cream tart deeserts

3. Soft Serve Machine Feed System … Gravity-fed, Pressure-Fed, Heat Treatment

To determine if you should buy a gravity-fed soft serve machine or a pressure-fed machine decide on the speed and ease with which you want to churn out ice cream, frozen yogurt, sorbet, and batch desserts. Do you plan to pump soft serve ice cream all day, every day, is ice cream one option on your dessert menu in a fine dining restaurant, or somewhere in between?

No matter which soft serve feed system you choose, you can’t go wrong as soft serve ice cream and frozen yogurt from any type of high-quality machine provide one of the highest profit margins in the food service business.

Gravity-fed Soft Serve Machines

Gravity-fed soft serve machines use gravity to transfer soft serve mix from the hopper into the freezing cylinder. These soft serve machines tend to be less expensive, more compact, and a little bit harder to pull. Gravity-fed machines have been the industry standard for one hundred years, creating all the popular soft serve desserts we know and love.

Pressure-fed Soft Serve Machines

Pressure-fed machines – the go-to for medium-to-high-volume establishments – use an air/mix pump to transfer the mix from the hopper to the freezing cylinder.

Pressurized soft serve ice cream machines produce a higher, more controlled overrun (amount of product resulting from the amount of air whipped into the mix). They provide the lightest, silkiest frozen treats and offer greater profit margins due to less waste and reduced labor and more output.

Heat Treatment Soft Serve Machines

Heat treatment, pressure-fed soft serve machines have a heating and cooling cycle, which safely maintains dairy products up to two weeks before you need to perform a complete disassembly and cleaning. Heat treatment freezers reduce labor even more and address food safety, product waste, maintenance, and repair cost concerns.

Taylor Company has a selection of heat treated systems, as well as a unique 28-day heat treatment feature (28HT) that virtually eliminates daily maintenance and further reduces labor costs. You can go almost one month between cleanings without compromising food safety.

Taylor Soft Serve Machines Provide the Best Soft Serve in the Industry & Help Increase Profit Margins

Along with the basic soft serve machine options above, Taylor Company offers innovation, simplicity, and quality no other food service or freezer equipment manufacturer can match.

When you’re buying a new soft serve machine, we recommend digital, electronic control systems. With electronic controls, you benefit from regulated refrigeration, product consistency, cost efficiency, and high quality.

Taylor Company’s soft serve ice cream machines offer:

  • Softech™, an exclusive microprocessor-based master control that regulates refrigeration by measuring product viscosity to maintain consistent quality.
  • Standby, for long no-use periods. This feature maintains safe product temperatures in the mix hopper and freezing cylinder.
  • Adjustable overrun allows you to alter the air-to-milk-mix ratio so you can create an array of different frozen desserts in addition to soft serve, such as frozen yogurt, sorbet, shakes, and gelato.
  • Digital temperature control. Hopper temperature is displayed to assure safe product temperatures.
  • Door interlock system protects the operator from injury as the beater will not operate without the dispensing door in place.
  • Indicator lights. The Mix Low and Mix Out light alerts the operator to add mix. An audible alarm may be enabled to sound when mix is low.
  • Microprocessor touch screen controls embedded in a durable tempered glass panel. Multiple languages selectable. Viscosity is continually measured to dispense consistent quality soft serve desserts. Temperatures in the hoppers or freezing cylinders may be displayed at any point of operation, in either Fahrenheit or Draw counter allows operator to view number of servings dispensed.
  • And so much more!

Six Reasons Taylor Company Customers Love Their Soft Serve Ice Cream Machines

  1. They get to offer a fantastic-tasting, high-margin dessert selection to their customers.
  2. Because it’s freshly churned, they know they’ll get the exact same quality soft serve every time.
  3. The luxury of having the machines pre-programmed is a time-saver.
  4. There is a large cost savings in product, labor, and machine maintenance.
  5. The day-to-day operation of the machines is straightforward for easy cleaning.
  6. Soft serve has increased profit margins beyond their predictions.

Watch Head Chef Ollie Dabbous share how soft serve ice cream from his Taylor Company machine is now an intrinsic part of the dessert offering at Hide, his Michelin Starred restaurant.

Watch Head Chef Ollie Dabbous share how soft serve ice cream from his Taylor Company machine is now an intrinsic part of the dessert offering at Hide, his Michelin Starred restaurant.

Take the Next Step to Profitability by Choosing the Right Soft Serve Ice Cream Machine

In addition to the basics of size, output, and feed systems, there are many soft serve machine variables to consider based on your business type and your goals. When you start getting into the nitty-gritty of machine details, this is when it’s best to contact a reputable soft serve machine distributor, like Taylor Freezers of California.

A seasoned professional can speed up the selection process and help you narrow your choices to those that make the most sense for you. If you are in California or Nevada, we have five nearby showrooms and demo kitchens so you can see for yourself if the machines do what you want them to do and meet your quality standards, and get to know us too.

To speak directly with a local Taylor Company expert about soft serve ice cream machines and all the ways in which soft serve and batch desserts can help your business grow, contact us today for a no-obligation conversation. 800-927-7704