|Posted by Lilly on November 20, 2012 at 3:25 PM|
This post is the sequel to the story titled The Scoop on Dishers. In looking back, I was very interested in telling you all I'd learned about dishers and spades, but I realize only now that I could have included even more, such as what to look for, what your health department may require and where to purchase them. So, I hope this post will make someone's life just a little bit easier in starting up their Italian Ice business. Here goes...
Now that we're all on the same page about the difference in scoopers and dishers and spades (oh, my!), let's look at what you're going to need when it comes time to buy them. My previous article explained that, while they come in nice, pretty colors, those colors are not for show. They're a color coding system for the size of the disher's portion holding ability. This is great quantity control when you want each cup of Italian Ice to have the same amount in them so you don't have angry customers, or worse... variable profit.
There are many companies that manufacture dishers, and this may be of concern to you as these companies have varying standards in quality, as well as price of dishers. On the lower end, you will find Hamilton Beach and Winco make the most common dishers. They have a typically loose and rickety-sounding thumb release mechanism. But they are cheap and easily replaceable. I can find these readily at my local restaurant supply store.
Photo Credit: Hamilton Beach
You may be tempted to stop in at any kitchen supply store or the kitchen gadget section of your Target or Bed, Bath & Beyond to buy something cheap or that you find attractive, perhaps even ergonomic, considering the amount of hours you'll be using that gadget to scoop cup after cup of Italian ice. But here's where the sad news meets opportunity for inventors. There are no super comfortable, easy-to-use, attractive and cheap commercial dishers for those who need them and would use them most, us vendors.
Currently on the higher end, there is only one company I've found making dishers that are considered ergonomic. And this is the Zeroll Company. Their dishers have a unique look. You will immediately notice the lack of a thumb release. And the dishers offer multiple ways to hold and grip the tool, whether with your thumb or by use of your entire hand in a squeeze motion that makes repeated use less likely to cause carpal tunnel.
Photo Credit: Zeroll EZ Disher
Whichever dishers you're considering, make sure you take into account the following information:
What to Buy
You will need to buy dishers specifically for commercial (business) use. The home use dishers will not hold up to constant and repeated use and washing, and will leave you unable to scoop Italian Ice, as Murphy's Law would suggest, right when you have your longest line.
The National Sanitation Foundation is a company that certifies products for public health and safety. You will want to get dishers that are NSF certified for commercial use. And your health department will concur. Those you buy at Target for home kitchen use are not NSF certified.
Left Hand/Right Hand/Universal Disher
This is one of those things that people don't consider until they're actually holding a disher in their hand. Typically they are made for right handed users. As of this writing, the only dishers for left handed users are the universal dishers by Zeroll (see below).
Quantity (more than one)
You will need a good number of these, not just one. Some health departments require one disher per flavor of Italian Ice, or one for each bucket you're scooping from, so as not to mix flavors or contaminate containers. Some also require backup dishers to be on hand in case you drop one on the floor and don't have a warewashing sink next to you. Be sure to ask your health department's requirement on this issue.
What NOT to Buy
All-metal dishers with a symmetrical mechanism
Believe it or not, these are not NSF rated, though they would certainly seem so due to the all-metal construction.
Ice Cream Scoops
These are the ones that do not have a scoop release mechanism and are impossible to use for vending. Unless you have limitless patience and time to get the Italian Ice out of the little scoop's bowl, these are the wrong kind for vending Italian Ice. They require the smoothness of ice cream to glide through in order to work, and so they are strictly for ice cream and not frozen water products.
Commercial Dishers Manufacturer Pages