Think about how many times you have been to a restaurant or bar and ordered a drink to received it in or with a glass of ice. As guests, it is usually something that we might not give much consideration to, other than the occasional request for no ice or extra ice.
For many organisations the need to serve ice is often viewed from the perspective of having a reliable ice machine that will not break down, is a reasonable cost (purchase or lease) and is efficient to run. But part of creating an experience requires organisations to think about each component of the customer interaction and considering how each element could potentially enhance a customer experience.
So what role can ice play in enhancing a customer experience? Lets have a look at a few considerations.
Ice melts at different rates
The type of ice you serve will determine how long it will last in your glass and the ideal timing will depend on the type of drink you are serving. There has been some research which compares which ice melts quicker when comparing ice cubes, crushed ice and ice balls along with other options.
Oversize Ice cubes
One trend saw the development and introduction of oversize ice cubes with the advantage of a greater surface area and suggested improved cooling ability. It also adds a level of novelty and uniqueness to the drinking experience. Although the wait to crunch some ice in your teeth may be a bit of a wait.
You can even get an ice ball machine.
Whisky stones and balls
Talk to any serious whisky connoisseur and they will be able to debate the value of ice versus whisky stones or balls. Traditionally made from granite or soapstone and more recently stainless steel the idea is that the stone or ball is placed in a freezer or fridge to become cold in order to cool the drink without watering the drink down.
Flavoured and decorative ice cubes
We often think about the flavour of what goes into the drink, but what about if you added some of the flavour into your ice as well? What about flavoured ice cubes! The advantage here is that you add another visual dimension to your drinks and also an additional flavour dimension as the drink as the taste develops as the ice melts.
But what about the additional cost of making these ice cubes? Agreed these would be more expensive per cube than ice from a machine. BUT, consider, how many extra people would visit your venue for the novelty of the flavoured ice cubes – a novelty which they may well be prepared to pay extra to enjoy.
Do a course!
Recently in Sydney Australia there was the opportunity to perfect the art of making ice balls with an Ice Ball Masterclass.