Ice Machines  /  Water Filters

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How to choose the right ice machine for you.

When determining an appropriate size of an ice machine to meet your business needs, there are certain factors you have to take into consideration.

First, you will have to determine how much ice your business will produce and consume during various and specified times throughout the day/year. For example; what are the peak hours of ice consumption for your business? Which days of the week require more ice production? How much will your consumption rate fluctuate from week to week?

Secondly, the heat during the summer months may require a greater yield of ice from your equipment than the rest of the year. An upcoming (or reoccurring) special event will certainly impact your ice production needs.You know your business better than anyone else. You know your customer base better than anyone else. Once you have made a determination as to how much ice you will need to produce, it is a good idea to factor in a 10% to 20% overage. Factoring in such overages will allow flexibility while ensuring adequate supply during any unforeseen surges in ice production and consumption.

(Remember that this is a helpful guide only)

Type of Operation

Approximate Ice Usage Per Day

Food Service

1.5 lbs. per person served
Cocktail Bar
3 lbs. per seat
Salad Bar
35 lbs. per cubic foot
Water Glass
4 oz. per 10 oz. water glass
Fast Food / Self Service
5 oz. per 7-10 oz. drink
8 oz. per 12-16 oz. drink
12 oz. per 18-24 oz. drink


3-5 lbs. per seat


Guest Ice
5 lbs. per room
1-5 lbs. per person served
Cocktail Bar
3 lbs. per seat
Catering / Room Service
1-5 lbs. per person


Hospital Patient
10 lbs. per bed
Nursing Home Patient
6 lbs. per bed
1.5 lbs. per person

Supermarket / Convience Store

Beverage Self Serve
6 oz, per 12 oz. drink
10 oz, per 20 oz. drink
16 oz, per 32 oz. drink
Product Display / Packing
35 lbs. per cubic foot
Cold Plate Display

Take 50% of your daily usage & add it to your daily total (e.g. 200 lbs. per day = 100 lbs for cold plate display = 300 lbs daily requirment)

Packaged bagged Ice
Number of bags sold daily x lbs. per bag (e.g. 6 five-pound bags sold daily: 6x5 lbs. = 30 lbs.)


1.5 lbs. per student


Ice usage for packing or for a product display, such as for a salad bar or fresh fish display case, is calculated by cubic feet needed during a 24-hour period. This would be length of the display multiplied by the width of the display multiplied by the depth of the ice pack (L x W x D). Note that since ice depth is often less than 12 inches, depth in inches will need to be converted to feet by dividing by 12 (e.g. ice pack depth of 6 inches is 6 divided by 12 = 0.5 ft.).

Calculate your daily usage based upon your operation and each type of usage: For example, a restaurant has 100 table seats each with 4 guests per day, a bar with 15 seats, and a salad bar 8 ft. by 3 ft with ice pack depth of 6 inches

100 table seats x 4 guests = 400 meals x 1.5 = 600 lbs. ice.

15 bar seats x 3 = 30 lbs. ice.

Salad bar 8 ft. x 3 ft. x 0.5 ft = 12 cubic feet x 35 lbs = 420 lbs. ice.

Average Usage / Production Requirement Example

15 bar seats x 3 = 30 lbs. ice.

3500 lbs. ÷ 7 days = 500 lbs. average daily usage.

+ 20% (100 lbs) extra as suggested =

600 lbs Average Daily Production Requirement in this example.

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