How to Size Your Ice Machine

The main principle to keep in mind when sizing your ice machine is to combine the current demand and potential demand for ice.   A complete ice demand tally will result in the proper ice machine selection.  All different industries have different customer and internal demands for ice.  Below are the industry averages that produce reliable :

  • Restaurant – If you know how many tickets in a day you do, estimate 1.7 lbs. of ice per customer.  If you have a lot of variance in seatings, use 5 lbs. a seat. Remember to allow for special needs like an extra 35 lbs. per cubic foot for iced salad bars.
  • Cocktail Lounge – Seating or bar size is not a good measure here for the amount of ice you will need.  Allow 3 lbs. per customer and 4 lbs. per customer if you are doing a lot of frozen drinks.
  • Fast Food – Either .9 lbs. a customer or 7.4 lbs. per seat will cover.  Likewise, 2 oz. per 8-10 oz. drink and 4 oz. per 12 to 16 oz. drink is more accurate if you have a good ticket history
  • Convenience Stores/Customer Self Service – Utilize 4 oz. per 12 oz. drink, 7 oz. per 20 oz. drink and 10 oz. per 32 oz. drink
  • Healthcare – Healthcare being the heaviest demand per customer, estimate 7 lbs. per patient bed.  Also allow 2 lbs. per employee.
  • Lodging – The hotel industry consumes approximately 3 lbs. per guest room.  Depending on the floor layout, count the number of guest rooms per floor and size the ice machine by floor if required.


What to Avoid when Sizing and Ice Machine

Many times people buy an ice machine based on what fits the space.  Please note that the 300 lb. and 1000 lb. ice maker look the same but have much different results. Always carefully calculate demand by your industry.

If you have been buying bags of ice and are switching to an ice maker, do not base the size of your ice maker on the number of bags of ice you purchase each day.  Remember to include how much ice that you didn’t serve because there was just not any for the customer.


Please contact us at 1-800-755-4777 if we can help you size your ice maker.  Thanks!