It’s no secret that consumers love frozen beverages. Yelp predicted that frozen drinks—alcoholic and non-alcoholic alike—would take over beverage menus in 2023. And as consumers feel the heat of the summer months, demand for frozen options is set to surge.
“Frozen beverages are definitely hot right now, and a lot of quick-service restaurant operators are looking to get into that space because it offers you something different,” says Greg Pryal, senior sales director at Taylor Company. “Frozen beverages offer a decent price point for customers and solid margins for operators. Typically, operators can charge a little bit more if a drink comes in a frozen format.”
As operators research frozen beverage equipment before making an investment, however, operators must take a look at anticipated servings, the operational complexities of adding new menu items and training staff on new equipment, and how frozen beverages might be expected to affect overall sales. If restaurants rely on seasonal traffic, such as those located in common vacation destinations, operators may also wonder how they can serve frozen drinks at a dramatically higher volume during certain parts of the year without forcing customers to experience excessive waits.
“Whether it’s dairy-approved frozen beverage equipment or just frozen beverages in general, you’re most likely worried about two things,” Pryal says. “Number one, you’re concerned about the amount of time from when you put liquid up into the hopper until you’re actually serving products. For some equipment on the market, freeze-down time can be upwards of an hour, and that’s time wasted. The second piece is the recovery time, or how long it takes to recover after you’ve extracted all the product from the barrel.”
Frozen beverage equipment from Taylor Company has a freeze-down time of seven–10 minutes, and its recovery time ranges from three–five minutes. This allows restaurants to go from zero to a finished frozen drink much faster, a crucial factor during rushes and peak season. When product is ready to serve, “you’re literally pulling a lever and you may have an eight-ounce drink within three or four seconds,” Pryal says.
Taylor frozen beverage equipment can also operate well in high ambient temperatures. In the summer months, especially if drinks are being prepared and served outside, it’s important for equipment to be able to handle a hot environment. “People are blown away by how well Taylor equipment handles high ambient temperatures,” Pryal says. “Our customers based in travel destinations and vacation spots say this has literally changed their business—it gets upward of 100 degrees or even 105 degrees at the extreme, and they’re still serving high-quality frozen product, and people are loving the consistency and taste of it.”
Of course, the ability to start serving quickly—and keep serving—opens up room for higher margins as well as an efficient ROI.
“Frozen beverages offer a premium price point with relatively very minimal product cost increase, which just leads you to increased margins and the ability to offer something different and trendy to your customers,” Pryal says. “Generally, people come to us if they don’t have a frozen beverage offering because they are looking for healthy-margin products to add to their menu. We all know with food costs increasing, implementing a high-margin frozen option is ideal to improve profitability. A saving grace in many of those situations is adding a high-margin product to your menu.”
Designed with a small footprint for busy spaces, Taylor frozen beverage equipment supports restaurants interested in building a high-capacity frozen beverage program.
To learn more, visit the Taylor Company website.