For first-time small business owners, the price of a new ice machine can be intimidating. Not only are commercial ice machines expensive, but there are hidden costs associated with owning an ice machine, like maintenance, cleaning, and repairs. This can lead new business owners to try and cut costs when it comes to sizing. A hundred pounds of ice may seem like a lot, but we’re here to tell you that a 100 lb ice maker is likely too small for your business.
Let’s take a look at the main issues with sizing an ice machine too small and why you should aim to buy larger than a 100 lb. ice machine.
How Much Ice Does My Business Need?
Each industry is different when it comes to the amount of ice they need. A 100 lb. ice machine is relatively small compared to other commercial ice machines designed to meet a business’s full range of ice needs.
Sizing an ice machine comes down to more than estimating how many drinks you serve. Many kitchens use ice for food prep. Some bars use ice for beer tubs for special events. Hospitals use ice for hydration and to treat injuries. There are many areas businesses don’t factor in when sizing an ice machine.
The amount of ice for each industry can vary greatly. The average hospital requires 10 lbs. of ice per bed. Restaurant customers require 1.5 lbs. of ice per customer. Bars, on the other hand, require 3 lbs. of ice per customer since they tend to order more drinks.
Here at Easy Ice, we’ve compiled our ice machine calculator to help businesses in all industries size the perfect ice machine for their needs. One of our Ice Machine Experts can also help you size a new ice machine for your business if you’re unsure how large of a machine you need.
A 100 lb. Ice Maker Should Not be Your Only Machine
When it comes to running a business, a 100 lb. ice maker is likely not going to cover your total ice needs. Even if your business is small enough to get by on 100 lbs. of ice, many new business owners don’t factor in the difference between the ice machine’s production rate, and its storage capacity.
Ice machines produce their full capacity over the course of 24 hours. So, if you were to purchase a 100 lb. ice maker, it would take 24 hours to produce 100 lbs. of ice.
An ice machine’s storage capacity is defined by how much ice the machine can hold in its storage bin. Most 100 lb. ice machines come with self-contained storage that is built into the ice machine. Normally this is around 50 lbs., so at any time throughout the day, the most ice your machine will have on hand is 50 lbs.
A 100 lb. ice machine will continue to produce ice throughout the day, but if things get busy around lunchtime, your ice machine may not produce enough ice in time to meet customer demand.
Running out of ice can be a huge hassle. The average 10 lb. bag of ice costs between $2-$3. If you need another 50 lbs. of ice to meet demand, you’re looking to spend around $30. That does not include a delivery fee if you can’t find an employee to run out to a store to buy ice.
While $30 may not seem like a lot, if your ice machine ran out of ice once, it will likely run out of ice again. Over time, extra ice can really cut into your bottom line. Buying an ice machine that is slightly larger than you think you need will offset the cost of multiple trips to the store to buy replacement ice.
Where Can I Use a 100 lb. Ice Maker?
A 100 lb. ice maker may be small, but it can have uses in certain work environments. The best use for a 100 lb. ice maker is as a backup machine or designated for small areas like bars or waiting rooms.
Undercounter ice makers like the Hoshizaki IM-200BAB ice machine produce up to 186 lbs. of ice a day and have 75 lbs. built-in storage. These models are great for bar use. Bartenders have quick access to a replenishing ice supply, so they don’t have to bother waitstaff and barbacks to refill the undercounter ice bin.
Many cabinet-style ice makers make around 80 lbs. of ice a day. These commercial ice machine models are designed to fit underneath counters as well. Cabinet-style ice makers are ideal office ice makers. People can grab ice from these machines to serve visitors or guests.
Small commercial countertop ice maker dispensers are popular in delis, fast-casual restaurants, and hospitals. These units are designed to fit on top of a countertop to save space.
These models provide a small amount of ice, around 100-300 lbs. a day, and are much more hygienic than ice machines with a bin. Ice bins require users to reach into a bin to retrieve ice. This poses a risk that users may accidentally contaminate the ice supply with dirty hands.
Water and ice dispensers drop ice directly into drinkware, so users never have to retrieve ice by hand.
Need a Small Ice Maker for Your Business?
Commercial ice machines come in all shapes and sizes, but many small businesses only need a 200 lb. to 500 lb ice machine.
A 100 lb. ice maker might be enough to get you through the day, but having more ice than you need on average can guarantee you won’t run out on busy days. A slightly larger automatic ice machine can save you money in the long run by limiting (or eliminating) the days you have to run out and buy backup ice.
If you’re looking for a small ice maker for our business, we have many undercounter or countertop ice makers like the Hoshizaki DCM-300MAJ ice machine. Our all-inclusive ice machine subscription program comes with routine ice machine maintenance, cleaning, and repairs – all for a low, monthly cost. We also keep our ice machine service lines running 24/7 to help with any ice machine issues that might arise.
If you’re not sure how big of an ice machine you need, give our team of Ice Machine Experts a call. They have experience sizing the best commercial ice machine for all types of industries!