• What ice machine is right for me?
  • How much ice do I need?
  • Ice usage calculations

Guide to Sizing Your Ice Machine

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

You should determine your ice production requirements based upon your peak needs. For example, a restaurant may have greater needs Thursday through Saturday evening during dinner, while a convenience store may have consistent requirements during rush hour Monday through Friday and more moderate needs on Saturday and Sunday.

(This is a guide only. Your actual usage may vary.)
Type of OperationApproximate Ice Usage Per Day
Food Service
    Restaurant: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
8oz. per 12-16 oz. drink
12oz. per 18-24 oz. drink
Bar:3-5 lbs per seat
    Guest Ice:5 lbs. per room
    Restaurant:1.5 lbs. per person served
    Cocktail Bar:3 lbs. per seat
    Catering / Room service:1.5 lbs. per person
Health Care
    Hospital Patient:10 lbs. per bed
    Nursing Home Patient:6 lbs. per bed
    Cafeteria:1.5 lbs. per person
Supermarket/ Convenience 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 & ad it to you daily total(e.g. 200 lbs. per day + 100 lbs. for Cold Plate Display= 300 lbs. daliy requirement)
    Packed Bagged Ice:No of bags sold daily × lbs. per bag( e.g. 6 five-pound bags sold daily: 6 × 5 lbs. = 30 lbs.)
    Cafeteria: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:

Daily Usage
    Monday:400 lbs.
    Tuesday:300 lbs.
    Wednesday:300 lbs.
    Thusday:600 lbs.
    friday:700 lbs.
    Saturday:800 lbs.
    Sunday:400 lbs.
    Weekly Total:3500 lbs.

Weekly Usage: 3500 lbs.

3500 lbs. / 7 days = 500 lbs. average daily usage + 20% (100 lbs) extra as suggested =

600 lbs Average Daily Production Requirement

in this example. (Your needs and usage will vary.)