Tourist Attractions & Parks Magazine an Amusement Park Dinner Sponsor at the IGES Show
The 2013 International Gift Exposition in the Smokies® is fast approaching November 5-9 and the show’s management is excited to share the details of its very first 2013 Annual (complimentary) Amusement Park Gift Shop Buyers’ Dinner and Meeting. Tourist Attractions & Parks magazine is one of the sponsors of the dinner. Seats are limited to the first 30 buyers, so call an IGES representative at (800) 430-7608 to register. Once registered, you will receive a follow-up email in October with more detailed information.
The dinner is scheduled for Wednesday, November 6 from 5:30 p.m. – 9 p.m. at Calhoun’s in Pigeon Forge and will feature the moderator Buddy Knoebel of Knoebel’s Amusement Park Resort in Pennsylvania. Enjoy cocktails, dinner, gift bags and a priceless networking discussion with peers from the Amusement Park industry. Shuttles will depart both the Sevierville Convention Center and the LeConte Center in Pigeon Forge promptly at 5:15 p.m. The show’s management looks forward to your attendance, so please register ASAP for guaranteed seating.
Tourist Attractions & Parks Magazine eNewsletter Feature
Sweetening Up Food Profits: Tips for Finding the Right Dessert Kitchen Equipment
Desserts have the potential to sweeten sales at leisure entertainment facilities of all kinds. However, neither sales nor profits can be properly maximized unless careful attention is paid to selecting the foodservice equipment needed to prepare these treats.
Size is one of the first variables to consider when shopping for new dessert preparation equipment, because squeezing a large machine into a small space can create operational and logistical hassles. Such vendors as Stoelting offer soft serve machines in a variety of sizes, including counter top and floor models. According to the company, even large soft-serve frozen dessert machines have a relatively small footprint; for example, a high-volume, twin-barrel machine measures approximately 26 inches wide by 36 inches deep. Similarly, a special mini-donut oven from State Fair, which allows operators to offer baked mini-donuts rather than the deep-fried variety, features dimensions of 14 ¼ inches by 20 inches. This compact size, coupled with a desire to capitalize on donut sales while avoiding the mess and other complications associated with frying, ranked among the top reasons why Six Flags Great Escape in Lake George, N.Y., opted for the ovens when it introduced mini-donuts to its menu. The oven fits neatly onto and into a donut cart that is also available from the company. Other than the fit with the cart, management at Grand Slam Sports of Coon Rapids in Coon Rapids, Minn., had the same rationale, according to a foodservice crew member.
Capacity, too, merits the attention of operators as they evaluate foodservice equipment intended for dessert creation. Stoelting and other manufacturers rate the capacity of soft-serve machines according to volume, which is further broken down into gallons per hour or servings per minute. Machines in the “lower-volume” category generally produce two to three servings per minute; those in the “medium-capacity” category, four to five servings per minute and “high-capacity” units, seven servings per minute. Similarly, “high-output” cotton candy machines can turn out four to seven servings of the confection per minute; “low-output” machines, one to four servings per minute. Similarly, on average, high-capacity cotton candy machines can turn out four to seven servings of the confection per minute; lower-capacity machines, from one to four servings per minute.
Determining the approximate number of customers for whom the equipment will be used to prepare desserts daily is also a good step to take before making a decision on a particular piece of equipment, noted Steve Christensen, director of the Frozen Dessert Institute. The more machines any foodservice operation has, the lower the capacity necessary for each. A venue that purchases eight frozen dessert machines so as to offer a higher variety of flavors may not need units whose capacity is as high as one that is purchasing three to four machines. As another rule of thumb, high-capacity machines are a top choice for large amusement parks and other large venues that will probably want to produce desserts non-stop, with many servings sold in a short period of time. By contrast, smaller venues like family entertainment centers, where the demand may not be as constant, can usually get by with lower-capacity models. The Baton Rouge Zoo in Baton Rouge, La., opted for higher-capacity soft ice cream makers based on the fact that soft ice cream is at the very top of its list of popular fun foods, coming in second only to snow cones, stated Guest Services Manager Vicki Jones.
Finally, it’s important to look at individual machine features and parameters. Good recovery time is critical for medium- and high-volume frozen dessert machines, which should be able to freeze additional product to replace other product as it is dispensed. In terms of feeding, gravity-fed machines require that staff manually load liquid mix into a hopper located at the top of the machines; gravity does the rest. Pressurized machines use pumps to supply the freezing cylinder. Staff capability and labor availability is the deciding factor here, said Christensen. Many machines feature incorporated touchpad LED displays to set the temperature and/or consistency of the final product. Other controls include low-mix lights that indicate when it is time to replenish the mix hopper and/or when to add more mix.
One highly desirable new feature is a monitoring option introduced by Stoelting several months ago. Called ConnectI2U.com, it is a subscriber website that monitors, tracks and reports on Stoelting machines equipped with IntelliTec2TM controls. Bob Oonk, vice president and general manager, said the Wi-Fi-enabled control can communicate anywhere in the world that has Internet access and is the first feature of its kind in the frozen dessert equipment market. ConnectI2U gathers statistical data throughout the day from the IntelliTec2TM control-equipped machines, automatically transmitting notifications to operators, service companies and/or distributors via email through a Wi-Fi connection. Notifications include, but are not limited to, performance and equipment error alerts.