How Much Ice Do I Need?

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How Much Ice Do I Use?

Often times what seems like a difficult question to answer is actually quite simple. To determine how much ice we need to produce first we need  to determine how much ice we use. Ice usage can be estimated based on your industry. Let's dive into the various industries that utilize ice as a key component to their business.

1. Restaurants.

Restaurants typically use 1.5 lbs of ice per customer per day. If you serve 100 customers a day then you need 150 lbs of ice each day. If you serve 200 customers a day then you need 300 lbs of ice per day, and so on. This rule of thumb is time tested and used by the majority of restaurants. Restaurants typically utilize half cube ice makers because it is ideal for self serve dispensers, blended drinks, and overall universal use.

2. Bars/Cocktails.

Bars will typically use 3 lbs of ice per customer per day. Bars tend to use large or gourmet cube ice because it has a slower melt time and there is something about large and gourmet ice cubes in your glass that simply makes the experience that much better.

3. Hospitality.

Ice-O-Matic CD40030 Cube Ice Dispenser 30"

Hotel guests on average go through 5 lbs of ice per guest per day. The photo above showcases the Ice-O-Matic 30"W cube ice dispenser with an Elevation Series™ ice maker. The ice dispenser stores up to 120 lbs of ice and dispenses at a rate of 1/4 lbs per second.  

4. Quick Serve Restaurants & Convenience Stores.

Quick Serve Restaurants average 5 oz of ice per 7-10 oz drink, 8 oz of ice per 12-16 oz drink, and 12 oz of ice per 18-24 oz drink. To make things even more simple this equates to a 1:2 ice to drink ratio.

5. Healthcare.

Ice usage in healthcare varies wildly but can be broken down into three categories to better estimate ice usage. The first category are hospital patients which use 10 lbs of ice on average per bed per day. The second category are nursing home patients which use 6 lbs of ice on average per bed per day. The third category is healthcare cafeteria and on average uses 1.5 lbs of ice per person served per day.

6. Seafood/Deli Counter Display.

Seafood/Deli Counter & Display applications typically require 30 lbs of ice per cubic foot. Seafood displays utilize flake ice because of its combination of low temperatures and high levels of moisture. This combination is ideal for keeping seafood the freshest longest.

How Much Ice Does My Ice Maker Need To Produce?

Now we know how much ice we need, but how much ice should my ice maker produce? Take the amount of ice you use every 24 hours from the information above and add 10-20%. This is done to give yourself insurance that you will never run out of ice. This also allows for business growth.

Example: A restaurant that has 500 customers per day uses 750 lbs of ice per day will need to produce between 825 and 900 lbs of ice per day. This restaurant will need to purchase an ice machine that produces between 825 and 900 lbs of ice per day.

  • Ice Cold Equipment Distributors
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