It's the worst scenario -- you've got a line of customers waiting on ice cream and the soft serve machine has suddenly decided to start acting wonky. Don't go into panic mode just yet. There could be a simple issue causing the problem that you can quickly resolve on your own.
A Clog In The Line
At the end of the night, make sure your employees are cleaning the machine, not just the area around it. Some people think that machine cleaning involves wiping around the surface of the unit. This is a great place to start. However, the machine should be disabled each night and cleaned with a mild detergent and water mixture.
When it's not cleaned, not only does this introduce a safety hazard in terms of germ transfer, but the leftover ice cream mixture can harden and create a clog in the line. If the machine seems to be working fine, but you can't get the ice cream to come out, this could be the reason why.
If the ice cream coming out of your unit resembles something of a milk-like consistency, this is generally the result of poor mixing. Before turning the machine on, the milk powder and additive mixture must be well-blended. If not, it won't freeze, causing it to come out in liquid form.
Remixing the solution and rerunning the cycle will generally resolve this problem. Make sure you are training your employees on the importance of proper mixing. If things are especially hectic, it might be wise to invest in soft serve mix that already comes blended so that you can skip this step.
Too Much Product
If you wanted to make extra ice cream without having to run more than one cycle, adding more of the soft serve mixture to the machine would help, right? No exactly. Never add more mixture than the machine calls for.
If you do so, the soft serve likely won't flow out correctly. These machines are designed to push the soft serve through based on a preset feed rate that is based off the capacity of the machine. When you overload the machine, you create an imbalance that slows down the feed rate.
If you can't seem to get to the bottom of the problem, it's time to call on a soft serve machine service technician. Rather than cause further damage to the machine with your exploration efforts, call on a professional to quickly diagnose and repair the issue.