For a business centered on blended beverages, keeping noise in check is as much a consideration as functionality when choosing equipment. “If you have four or five [standard] blenders going, you can’t hear the person taking your order. It’s really loud,” says Davis Jaeger, food scientist and product development manager of Smoothie King.
Yet, it’s not an all-or-nothing proposition. “We’re a lively brand and our cafes are upbeat,” says Lake Dawson, product development chef for Tropical Smoothie Café. “We found that we really liked a little bit of the noise from the blenders, because it helps fold the consumer into the culture of the on-the-move, active lifestyle.”
In addition to managing sound, restaurant operators are looking to new blender models to speed up production, avoid cross-contamination and create housemade sauces and other concoctions beyond drinks. “In order to get the biggest return on investment, we’re trying to incorporate [blenders] on both sides of the business,” says Dawson.
Six of his locations are testing blenders with colored bowls to separate sweet smoothies from savory sauces and potential allergens. The colored bowls aren’t just reminders for staff to keep ingredients separate, they’re visual cues that reinforce to customers with allergies that the restaurant is taking care to avoid cross-contamination, Dawson adds. “What we find is that it helps the customer trust us,” he says.
Blendtec’s Stealth 885
Blendtec’s Stealth 885 has a sound enclosure to reduce blender noise, 42 preprogrammed cycles and an online tool that operators can use to create additional custom cycles. Jamba Juice was an early testing partner and is rolling out this model to its stores. Standalone and in-counter versions are available.
Vitamix’s The Quiet One
Vitamix’s The Quiet One has six program buttons with 34 settings and a noise-reducing, magnetically secured sound enclosure that can be taken off for cleaning without removing screws. “What we like about this particular model is that it’s quiet, but it’s not the quietest one on the market,” says Tropical Smoothie’s Dawson. Adds Jaeger, “By making sure we can tweak the blending speed and velocity … it helps push more people through the door.”
Taylor’s MagnaBlend Pro
Taylor’s MagnaBlend Pro was created with QSRs and drive-thrus in mind. It features a preprogrammable menu via SD card and cuts out friction by using magnetic force instead of direct-contact gear mechanisms. The MagnaBlend is designed for rest on a countertop for operations with smaller footprints.