When the heatwave strikes!
Heatwaves and Ice Cream Vans look like a match made in heaven – well certainly to the general public. Many Mobilers will be familiar with the ‘you must be making a fortune today’ and ‘you’ll be a millionaire by the weekend’ type comments that accompany any good weather.
Sadly (and rather frustratingly) it’s not always that simple. Without doubt we’d all settle for wall-wall sunshine and above average temperatures instead of rain and cold. But when the good weather does arrive it can bring a few additional challenges to Ice Cream Vans.
Whilst the last thing we would want to do is tell you how to run your business, after all we only build vans and don’t operate them, we would like to share a few tips to ensure you get the best from your van during the warm weather;
Soft Ice Cream Machine: This is the heartbeat of the operation for most Mobilers. Remember worn pump or gears means a heavy mix which will take much longer to freeze and of course takes away much of the profit! But as well as the usual making sure that all seals and pump gears are in good condition, and that the refrigerant charge and settings are all optimised, the most important consideration is ventilation. All refrigeration systems are totally dependent on getting the heat away. In simple terms the cooling can only be as good as the efficiency of dispersing the heat from the condenser. It is therefore essential to keep the condenser fins clean and to not block the airflow with cases of mix or drinks in front of it. The side vent grill should be kept clear and the additional 12 volt cooling fan as fitted to all Whitby Morrison vans ensures the hot air is dissipated as efficiently as possible.
Holdover Refrigeration: The holdover refrigeration system on ice cream vans is designed to maintain a specific temperature after having been ‘charged’ overnight. In simple terms, it has a 45C differential – in other words, with a 15C ambient temperature overnight the freezer will pull down to minus 30C. BUT if the ambient temperature overnight is 20C the system might only pull down to minus 25C. The key here once again is optimum ventilation. The refrigeration system is only as good as the way it disperses the heat from the condenser and compressor. Making sure that the van is kept in a sheltered area and has clean air around it, or even better moving air, can make an immense difference to the efficiency of the refrigeration. And then not wishing to state the obvious, don’t leave lids open for any longer than needed to serve the product.
Storage: Whether you have liquid mix in the chill or impulse products in the deep freeze, it is essential that you allow air flow around them. This will ensure even storage temperatures and more accurate temperature readings on the thermometers. Always remember to load chill cabinets in a similar manner to loading a refrigerator at home; there will be a temperature gradient throughout the cabinet. Liquid mix stored at say plus 2c will help the Carpigiani work at its best. The temperature of canned drinks served cold is not so critical as its simply relative to ambient temperature. And remember that the holdover refrigeration is precisely that – it is not a blast cooler! The process can always be helped further always loading pre-cooled drinks.
Product: In really hot weather sales of soft ice cream can actually reduce and it has long been known as ‘Calippo time’. However, this can also be a good time for SLUSH with the high profit margins – with a Whitby Morrison power pack system and fast freeze slush machine you can make the most of this opportunity.