|Posted by Lilly on May 1, 2012 at 8:40 AM|
Starting an Italian Ice business is a lot like learning a new word or seeing a new car. Suddenly, everywhere you go, you encounter this new "thing". So, in starting my business, I've been hyper-aware of all that I took for granted when I'd visit an Italian Ice or ice cream shop. And the most noticeable tool is that ubiquitous scooper. I've italicized that word because it's what we laypersons call them. It's an ice cream scoop, right? Well... no. We're entrepreneurs and experts now in this Italian Ice subculture, so you must now learn that scoopers are the actual people who scoop your Italian Ice or ice cream. And a scoop is a non-descript tool that scoops ingredients in no discernible, measured amount. It's a tool you would use to scoop dog food into your dog's bowl.
The proper terms for the tools used by Italian Ice and ice cream vendors are dishers and spades. A disher is the tool that has a metallic rounded bowl and a clicking mechanism for ejecting the product out of it and into your serving cup. A spade is what's used at Rita's, which is a large, flat looking spoon. It gets the product out of the tub and into the cup with no particular shape. When the cup is full, the spade is used to flatten the top of the Italian Ice and clean up the look of the served product. Personally, I prefer the appealing rounded ball presentation, so I plan to use dishers.
But, don't think this lesson is over yet. As dishers go, there is still much to learn. There are a number of different types, with different ejecting mechanisms and multiple sizes. Learning all these differences is like getting a PhD in Italian Iceology. Believe it or not, you can encounter charts showing the different sizes with variances by manufacturer and other criteria. But, here's what I did. I asked my wholesaler what size disher they use when they sell retail. I already know I like how their served product looks, and I want to achieve the same look. Easy enough. The answer, by the way, turned out to be the blue #16 disher.
For those just venturing into this aspect of the Italian Ice business, I'll go into more detail. Dishers are sold by numbers. In our business, the most common are #12, #16 and #20. The numbers represent the amount of scoops in a quart. Yeah. Their purpose, however, makes a lot more sense. They are divided into how much they serve as a way to ensure consistent proportions every time. Not only is this fair to customers that they each get the same amount. But it's ideal for the vendor to control product cost. So it's a win-win solution. Spades, unfortunately, do not offer this advantage. though it explains why Rita's gives a flat topped Italian Ice. In this way, they are controlling portion sizes by using the cup itself to determine consistent servings.
To make life easier, the handles of dishers are universally color-coded by the number of the disher. So all #12 disher handles are green, and all #16 disher handles are blue, regardless of manufacturer. Please don't do as I did and get your hopes up on a beautiful color that would complement your business scheme only to find out you can't use it, unless you plan to scoop malt ball-sized portions.
You will encounter all kinds of dishers in your search for supplies. One caveat is to make sure the one you select is NSF approved. This is the governmental stamp that assures your disher will meet sanitation codes for commercial selling. And by all means, if you have a local restaurant supply store, go there and try the dishers out yourself. I found that my hands are too small to work the one I was planning to buy. I'd have ended up a very unhappy worker with carpal tunnel syndrome. So I found ergonomic ones online that work perfectly for my small hands and that my children can also operate, when they help out.
Categories: Equipment & Supplies