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Types of Slushy Machines

Whether you are planning to blend up the perfect slushy, smoothie, or frozen cocktail, it’s important to know what sort of slushy / granita machine will best serve your needs. By presenting a slushy machine in plain view of your customers, you’ll help boost impulse sales when they see the swirling, bright colored beverages inside. This buying guide will help you choose the right machine for your business!

Slushy Machine Types

Slushy machines are incredibly versatile, allowing you to blend frozen coffees, cappuccinos, lemonades, smoothies, and even cocktails. If you are running an upscale adult hot spot, frozen mochas and cocktails are sure to be crowd pleasers. If your business is more centered on families and youth, frozen lemonades and smoothies will score high with your guests.

So, how does a slushy machine work? You might also hear the synonym "granita" used when referring to a slushy machine, but they mean the same thing. Let's start with the basics.

Filling the Machine

To fill the machine, you either have to mix and add product manually (pourover machines) or choose an auto fill option. Liquid auto fill draws mix from an external supply, usually a bag-in-box. Powdered auto fill combines powdered mix with water inside the machine.

Freezing the Product

Whether you have a pourover or auto fill machine, the product flows down from the hopper into a freezing cylinder or barrel, and a rotating device called an auger circulates the beverage inside the tank as it freezes, causing the "slushy" consistency. When the mix has frozen to the desired consistency—some machines allow you to adjust this—your drink can be dispensed from the front of the machine.

Now it's time to decide what type of machine is best for you. The following chart displays unique benefits of each type of slushy machine we offer.

Type
Pros
Cons
  • Saves employee labor and ensures a more consistent product
  • Requires an external pump for water
  • Saves employee labor and ensures a more consistent product
  • Requires an external pump for water
  • Simple operation - no auto fill system means fewer moving parts
  • Lowest price point
  • Employees must create the mixture and pour into the machine

Capacity

Knowing how many slushies you need to produce for your ice cream or snack shop relies entirely on how many people you plan to serve. The chart below provides a general guide on how to determine what machine will match your production intentions. Make sure to consider these options with the peak period of your busiest day in mind.

Number of Bowls
Gallon Capacity 10 oz. Servings 12 oz. Servings 16 oz. Servings
1-3 gallons 13-38 per hour 10-32 per hour 8-24 per hour
4-6 gallons 51-77 per hour 42-64 per hour 32-48 per hour
7-8 gallons 89-102 per hour 74-85 per hour 56-64 per hour

Product Types

Traditional Slushies / Granitas

A traditional slushy is a blend of water / ice and a flavored mix. By storing your mix in the walk in cooler, you can allow your machine to produce drinks faster because it doesn’t have to cool the liquid before freezing. Additionally, more sugar means a slower freeze time, but not enough sugar will result in a coarser beverage because the ice crystals are larger. This could result in your machine freezing up, so it’s important to experiment with the ratio of water to sugar to keep your machine running properly and your drinks tasting great.

Frozen Cocktails

Some machines are equipped to handle alcoholic products. However, it's important to read up on your local food service laws because some areas don't allow you to add liquor to the machine. Alcohol also slows freeze time, so you may produce less slushy per hour if liquor is added. It's also important to check the manufacturer's user manual to ensure that there aren't any special maintenance requirements or procedures frozen cocktails in the machine.

If you'd like to offer your customers frozen cocktails but don't want to put liquor in the machine, you have other options. Simply blend up a neutral base granita, and as you draw beverages from the tank, add whichever flavoring of liquor you want and mix it with a beverage stirrer. This option also allows you to offer a variety of different cocktails rather than being limited to one specific drink per tank of granita.

Dairy-Based Products

Certain machines are certified to serve dairy-based products, but they require a more involved cleaning routine. Check the manufacturer's manual to determine if your machine is qualified to serve dairy.

Other Considerations

ADA Compliant
Another thing to consider when purchasing a slushy machine is who the principle operator will be.
If you are contemplating a self-serve machine designed for front-of-house action, it’s important to accommodate all of your potential customers. You can easily do so by purchasing a machine that is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Most ADA compliant machines have extra-long dispenser handles, which permit easy operation and are more user-friendly.

Water Filtration Systems
3M Water Filtration Products DP290 Dual Port Water Filtration System - .2 Micron Rating and 10 GPM
Water filtration systems block contaminants to help keep your beverages clean, safe, and tasting great! They help to extend the life of your equipment by consistently preventing sediments, cysts, and scale from clogging the internal workings of your machines. Plus, the filtration makes your beverages clearer and more visually appealing. By purchasing a water filtration system, you can be sure that your vibrant, colorful slushies taste as wonderful as they look.

The Right Voltage

On slushy machines, a higher voltage generally means a faster recovery time.

For example, a 220V machine will yield more product than a 120V unit in a shorter period of time. However, just because the voltage is doubled doesn’t mean that the output is also doubled. The output of your machine will vary widely depending on the manufacturer, the type of unit you purchase, and other factors like the type of recipe you're making and whether or not it contains alcohol.

When trying to figure out what voltage you’ll need, it would be helpful to ask yourself a couple of questions:

  • How many slushies am I planning to produce daily?
  • Does my location have the correct electrical outlets for the desired voltage?

If you are unsure of which machines will accommodate your situation, you can look at the Specification Sheets and product descriptions of the units you are considering for further information.


Care and Cleaning
Bunn 34000.0013 Ultra-2 HP High Performance Black Double 3 Gallon Pourover Slushy / Granita Frozen Drink Machine with Flat Lid - 120V
It’s important to keep your slushy machine cleaned regularly, as the mixing tank can harbor bacteria and other pathogens if left unattended for too long. As a rule of thumb, most machines should be cleaned at least once per week. If you use milk in your recipes, though, you will want to clean the machine at the end of each day.

In addition to the tank and the moving parts within, also be sure to clean the drip tray beneath the faucet. It’s easy for this area to become slimy and unsanitary as condensation and extra mix runs out of the faucet.

Running a Profitable Slushy Business

Selling slushy products can be extremely lucrative. Whether it's your primary source of profit or you'd like to add it to your existing menu, it's important to have the right supplies and know-how to maximize your returns. For the highest profit margins, consider using our own Choice brand disposables and Carnival King bag-in-box syrups!

Vollrath Stoelting 600085 Auto-Fill Kit for CBE127-37 Dual 3.2 Gallon Frozen Beverage Dispensers
Auto Fill and Maintenance Kits

Purchasing an auto fill kit or maintenance kit can save you money in the long run if any inner components of your machine have a malfunction. Some manual fill machines can even be converted to auto fill using these kits.

Mixes

Jug mixes can be added manually or attached to a pump dispenser. They also have a re-sealable cap to ensure freshness.

For higher quantities of product, you may want to consider a bag-in-box mix. You’ll be refilling your machine less, while producing more beverages at a time. This is also the most economical way to buy syrups. Check out how much you can save using Carnival King 5 gallon bag-in-box syrups!

Carnival King 5 Gallon Bag in Box Blue Raspberry Slushy Syrup
  • 9 oz. serving uses 1.8 oz. of syrup, costing approximately $0.09 per cup
  • 12 oz. serving uses 2.4 oz. of syrup, costing approximately $0.12 per cup
  • 16 oz. serving uses 3.2 oz. of syrup, costing approximately $0.16 per cup
  • 20 oz. serving uses 4 oz. of syrup, costing approximately $0.20 per cup
  • 24 oz. serving uses 4.8 oz. of syrup, costing approximately $0.24 per cup

Cups, Lids, and Straws

Beverage stirrers and straws allow customers to mix the slushy on their own, which helps to eliminate the formation of ice crystals as they socialize out on your venue's patio or lawn. We also offer a variety of cost-effective disposable cups and lids to serve your beverages in. Try our Choice cold cups for maximum profits!

Choice 24 oz. Clear PET Plastic Cold Cup - 600/Case

Estimating Your Costs

By using Carnival King syrups along with Choice brand cups, lids, and straws, here's what you can plug into our Slushy Cost Calculator for your unit cost based on the beverage size.

Beverage Size Cup Cost Syrup Cost Lid Cost Straw Cost Total Unit Cost
9 oz.
$0.04 $0.09 $0.03 $0.01 $0.16
12 oz.
$0.05 $0.12 $0.03 $0.01 $0.20
16 oz.
$0.05 $0.16 $0.03 $0.01 $0.24
20 oz.
$0.07 $0.20 $0.03 $0.01 $0.30
24 oz.
$0.07 $0.24 $0.03 $0.01 $0.34

Slushy Cost Calculator

Enter your estimates in each field of our Slushy Cost Calculator and see how much money you can make over the course of one year. You might be surprised. Some operators pull in a staggering 80% gross profit per serving!

Slushy Cost Calculator

Unit Cost
$
Retail Price
$
Servings Per Day
Profit Per Day
$
Profit Per Month
$
Profit Per Year
$

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