How much ice do I need?

First of all, no two businesses are alike and ice usage is rarely consistent even within the same industry. Use this information as a guideline. You know your business better than anyone. Better to err on the side of caution and always have ice on hand.

Determine your ice production requirements based upon peak needs. You have peaks periods of ice needed during your typical week, dependent upon your industry and situation; for example, a restaurant may have larger needs Thursday through Saturday evening, while a convenience store may have consistent requirements Monday through Friday and more moderate needs on Saturday and Sunday.

Also consider that more ice may be needed during summer months than in winter.  This will vary dependent upon your climate. For example, if you have hotter summers, you may need to select an ice machine with a higher quantity of ice produced in a 24-hour period.  Locations with more moderate temperatures during summer will not experience as large an increase in usage over the rest of the year.

After you do the math, give yourself 10-20% extra production requirement to be safe.

Ice usage chart

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:

ice machine detail chart

Weekly Usage: 3500 lbs.

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

+ 20% (100 lbs) extra as suggested =

600 lbs Average Daily Production Requirementin this example. (Your needs and usage will vary.)