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Ice Making Rates and How They Affect Your Business


[posted June 12, 2012]

All ice machines are not created equally, and neither are the establishments that require them. The scenarios in which ice is desired also vary greatly from business to business. Typically, the bar or restaurant setting requires a continuous flow and production of ice throughout the day. In these instances it helps to have an ice machine that produces at a steady rate, while you may not require a larger bin. Other establishments however, may require an ice machine that produces a larger quantity of ice over time, AND a larger bin for storage.

For example, imagine a situation where a landscaping crew gathers at a central office or building before going to work each day. If all workers require ice, then an ice bin is required that will hold the proper amount for everyone at the beginning of the day. The ice bin will likely be depleted within the first hour of the day as everyone takes the ice they require. The next 23 hours will be crucial in providing adequate amounts of ice for the next day.

If we assume this company employs 50 people and everyone takes 5 pounds of ice before leaving for the day, then there should be 250 pounds on hand every morning. Once the last person leaves for the day, your ice machine must start replenishing for the next day. In this case, a 250 pound bin and an ice machine that produces around 12 pounds per hour would provide ample ice for all employees every day. Proper calculations are imperative before purchasing any ice machine.

As another example of ice production, let us examine the church social event that requires ice for one afternoon or evening event per week. These events will require a bin that can hold enough ice for the initial round of drinks, or a bin large enough to contain ice for the duration of the event. If your bin does not have the capacity to hold enough ice for the whole event, then your ice machine must produce enough ice in the coming hours to sustain everyone's needs in that time. An ice machine with faster production rates is ideal for keeping guests cool and glasses full.

Changing gears, we'll delve into the world of bagged ice for the convenience store or gas station. These calculations can be a bit more tedious or taxing. First, you must figure out around how many bags are sold daily on busier days. If you were to take the average amount, you would inevitably run out of ice on certain days, and potential profits would fall by the wayside. You must accurately assess your ice merchandiser storage and how many bags it can hold, as well as the amount of ice contained in your bags.

Usually, ice is required in greater quantities during warmer months of the year. These months should be the basis for calculating your ice production needs. If your merchandiser holds 100 five pound bags of ice and sells 150 bags on its busiest day, then you will need an ice bin that holds at least 500 pounds of ice to start your day, and an ice maker that can provide ample ice for additional bags BEFORE your merchandiser is depleted. To achieve this, you have a few options. You must either buy a larger bin, a larger ice merchandiser, or equip your bin with an ice machine that produces enough ice to refill your merchandiser while bagged ice is still being purchased. The latter option will allow you to bag ice at various times of the day, as ice is needed.

We'll assume ice is purchased in greater quantities in the early or middle parts of the day. As people head to picnics, barbecues, or to the beach, they start their day with a few bags of ice. If from 8AM to 3PM, you sell out your merchandiser, then in that 7-hour period, your ice machine must have produced enough ice to supply customers for the rest of the day. In this case, you would require an ice machine with a production rate of around 860 pounds per day. In this instance, there will be 250 pounds of freshly created ice available in your bin, made during that 7 hours, ready to be bagged.

In order to provide adequate amounts of ice to all customers, guests, or patrons, there are many factors and calculations that must be taken into account. The listed amount of ice produced is generally the amount of ice produced in a 24 hour period. However, your ice machine will not produce this amount of ice if it does not have a bin of adequate size to contain all of the ice created, because most ice machine systems have a standby mode that turns off the ice making when the bin is full. You would also never have that amount of ice on hand unless your machine is left untouched and no ice is used in that 24 hour period, which is unlikely, so you need to plan on a potentially larger production machine.

For the most accurate ice production rates, convert the 24 hour rate to an hourly production rate. This way, you can tell exactly how much ice will be created in a given length of time and find the perfect ice machine to provide this production rate. We at are committed to rethinking and revolutionizing the ice machine world. Take a second to browse our extensive selection of ice machines, and find the perfect icemaker or accessory for your business.

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