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More Scoop on Dishers

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

Commercial Quality

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.


NSF Rating

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

Adcraft

Hamilton Beach

Vollrath

Winco

Zeroll


Categories: Getting Started, Health Department, Equipment & Supplies

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8 Comments

Reply ~K~
5:35 PM on November 21, 2012 
Good read and I like how you mentioned that the disher must be NSF certified, very important.

I will be going with the thumb mechanism disher. You mentioned some health departments require one disher per flavor of Italian Ice, in my area, if that's the route you take then there is no need for a dipwell and you are able to leave the disher in the tub with handle extended out. With that being said, something such as a clip-on disher rest would be great to use if such product existed.

What size disher would a vendor need to achieve that full size scoop of Ice on top that you see in every pic of a cup of Ice?
Reply oldsoldier
8:57 PM on December 29, 2012 
Good question. I too would like to see this answered.
~K~ says...
Good read and I like how you mentioned that the disher must be NSF certified, very important.

I will be going with the thumb mechanism disher. You mentioned some health departments require one disher per flavor of Italian Ice, in my area, if that's the route you take then there is no need for a dipwell and you are able to leave the disher in the tub with handle extended out. With that being said, something such as a clip-on disher rest would be great to use if such product existed.

What size disher would a vendor need to achieve that full size scoop of Ice on top that you see in every pic of a cup of Ice?
Reply Lilly
9:21 PM on December 29, 2012 
[oldsoldier]
Good question. I too would like to see this answered.

Well, guys, it depends on the cup size that you're using. You really need to decide that first. The cup will determine the number of ounces it can hold, and then the right disher will give you that overflowing top that's so appealing. My 9 oz. cups take 3 heaping scoopfuls, using the blue disher to get that look. But they're TALL 9 oz cups. Even in the same ounce cups, you can find wide mouth or narrow, and that will affect if you can get the scoop to even fit in the cup. I say, cup choice comes first. Think of how you want to present your ice upon serving. Disher choice is second. A wider cup will require a larger bowled disher. Buy different sizes (restaurant supply stores have them), and go home to test them out on some ice (even store bought ice).
Reply ~K~
8:45 AM on January 5, 2013 
I will be using an 8oz cup with a yellow disher. I seen video of using this disher and that size cup achieving the full scoop on top with 3 scoops of ice.

Be careful though Lilly because the wider the cup and bigger the disher, the higher the food cost will be per serving which will 'dig' into your profits!
Reply Lilly
3:11 PM on January 7, 2013 
~K~ says...
I will be using an 8oz cup with a yellow disher. I seen video of using this disher and that size cup achieving the full scoop on top with 3 scoops of ice.

Be careful though Lilly because the wider the cup and bigger the disher, the higher the food cost will be per serving which will 'dig' into your profits!


You got that right! But I'm selling at $3 per cup, and I get my ice for "free" (you'll have to read that blog post!). How much do you think you'll charge for your cup/scoop size?
Reply ~K~
8:01 PM on January 7, 2013 
Because the free bucket(6th) covers the cost of the first 5 buckets you bought. Nice
I would use the supplier you're using but there's a supplier 5min from me that I can pick the ice up from so I won't have to worry about the cost of freight.
I will also be selling my ice for $3.
Reply fruity ice treats
1:21 PM on January 11, 2013 
Great information,
This summer was my first year operating and I broke alot of scoops and dishers. This was a lesson learned, this season I will invest in commercial dishers.
Reply Lilly
1:50 PM on January 11, 2013 
fruity ice treats says...
Great information,
This summer was my first year operating and I broke alot of scoops and dishers. This was a lesson learned, this season I will invest in commercial dishers.


Oh no! That must have left you scrambling! You'll be surprised to know that commercial dishers don't necessarily cost more. I found the dishers you buy from Target for your home cost much more. I bought 6 of the Zeroll commercial, ergonomic ones, and they cost about $7 each, plus only a little bit of shipping. Cheaper by the case, too.