Your Complete Guide to Ice Makers for Stadium Concessions
Concert venues, sports arenas, and stadiums can serve thousands of people a day. That's thousands of drinks served per event, and each one needs ice. Stadium concessions need high-performing commercial ice machines that can keep up with the crowd. Use our ice machine guide to choose the perfect ice making equipment for your facility.
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Types of Ice Machines for Stadium Concessions
Many different ice maker models are designed to meet the needs of any industry, including stadiums and venues. Here are some of the most popular ice machines for concessions:
Modular Ice Machines
These are the most common types of ice machines because they produce the most ice and have the most flexibility regarding storage. Modular ice machines only produce ice. You'll need to include an ice bin to store the ice as well. These machines are the best fit for running a high-volume concession or providing multiple stands with ice. These machines range between 500 – 1800 lbs, but larger machines are also available!
Stackable Ice Machines
Stackable machines allow users to install multiple ice machines on top of one another. Multiple machines mean you can double or even triple your ice production rate. These systems are very flexible, as they allow concession stands to increase their ice production rate as business grows. If you predict that business will boom during the season, you can install an additional stackable ice maker to meet your needs. Many stackable setups allow for over 3000 lbs of ice a day.
Undercounter Ice Machines
Undercounter ice makers are great for full-service bars and restaurants within a sports arena or concert venue. These machines are designed, so bartenders and other serving staff have quick access to ice without taking up a lot of room behind the bar. Undercounter ice makers measure below 40", so they fit underneath most bar tops and counters. These machines produce less ice than modular or stackable ice makers and, in many cases, act as a second ice machine for bar employees.
Countertop Ice Machines
Countertop ice machines are an excellent way for concession stands to have access to their own ice supply even if they have limited room. These machines fit directly on top of a countertop, so employees don't have to grab ice from backrooms or access tunnels. Some of these dispensers come with their own storage, while others can be outfitted with a modular ice machine. These are great machines for self-serve stations as well.
Types of Ice for Sports Arenas or Concert Venues
Stadium concessions need a high volume ice machine with versatile ice cubes that accompany drinks of all kinds. Here are some of the most popular types of ice cubes for stadiums and arenas:
What Size Machine Do I Need for Stadium Concessions?
Stadiums, sports arenas, and music venues need a high-volume ice supply to meet the needs of thousands of customers per event. Sizing an ice machine is of the utmost importance. Our Ice Machine Estimator will help you get started sizing your next commercial ice machine. Here are some other factors to consider:
Many large sports and music facilities are not open every day, so concession owners will have to estimate how much ice they use per event. If you have back-to-back events, know that an ice machine takes 24 hours to produce its full capacity. A 600-lb ice machine takes 24 hours to make 600 lbs. of ice.
What Type of Condenser Should I Get?
Condensers help to cool refrigerant so your ice machine can freeze water into ice. Each condenser is designed with certain environments in mind. Here are the three most common types:
What are the Installation Requirements for a Commercial Ice Machine?
Stadium concessions and or restaurants inside the facility will need to meet the installation requirements for their ice maker. Commercial Ice machines have specific electrical and water needs (among other things). Our Pre-Installation Checklist can help you identify your model's needs.
As ice melts in your ice bin or built-in storage compartment, the water will need someplace to go. Ice machines can utilize several drainage systems. A floor drain is probably the simplest example. Still, countertop dispensers may need a wall drain or another setup to operate. All cities require an air gap between your machine and the drain line. Check your city codes for your area's drainage requirements.
Ice machine electrical requirements depend on the model of ice machine. Generally, smaller ice machines require 115v of electricity to operate. Large ice makers require 220v. Voltage is only one requirement. Ice machines of all types have amperage needs as well, so check your machine's specifications. You may need to call an electrician to install the right outlet for your ice machine
You can't have ice without water, but how much water depends on your model. Larger ice machines will require more water than smaller ones. Overall, commercial ice makers require between 3-5 gallons of water per minute to operate. Without the right amount of water, ice cubes will come out small or malformed. This article covers some of the requirements for your ice maker water line.
Air cooled ice makers (the most popular type) require space to expel hot air produced during the ice-making process. The air is emitted into the surrounding environment, but the machine needs space to move that air. When Ice machines are not given enough space, hot air lingers around the machine and overheats the unit. Air cooled machines need at least 1 foot of space on all sides of the unit.
We’ve serviced over 10,000 ice machines across the country. No matter the challenge, we know exactly how to keep your hotel ice machine running smoothly. Our pre-installation checklist shows you what you need to provide to install an ice machine in your hotel. If you have a challenging environment, give us a call and we'll help you find a solution.
Do I Need a Water Filter for my Commercial Ice Machine?
If your stadium concession is located in a location with poor water quality, water filtration is a must. Water filters help to reduce the amount of sediment and minerals that enter your ice machine. Here are the three types of ice maker water filters we recommend:
Standard Sediment Filters
All ice machine models (no matter where they are located) can benefit from a standard sediment filter. If your area is known for high-particulate water, these filters are a necessity. These filters trap sediment in your water supply, preventing them from entering your ice machine and causing damage. Sediment filters need to be replaced around every 6 months. A clogged water filter will lead to smaller ice cubes.
These are technically not "filters" but water treatment systems. These cartridges are designed to treat water with high-mineral content. Calcium and magnesium deposits can bind together inside your ice machine and cause scale to form. Scale is a hard, chalky substance that can seize up vital components in your ice machine, causing expensive damages. These cartridges need to be replaced every six months to replace the phosphate in them.
Carbon filters are often used in place of phosphate cartridges. These also help to reduce the amount of sediment and minerals entering your ice machine. They are also effective enough to reduce chlorine inside the water supply, which can affect the smell and taste of ice cubes. Carbon block filters need replacing around every six months, so they don't clog up and reduce water flow to your ice machine.
Ice Maker Cleaning and Sanitization
Cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitizing are necessary if you want your ice machine to continually produce clear, safe ice for your office park or campus customers. Mold, slime, and other contaminants can lead to customers getting sick or a bad review from a health inspector.
Ice maker manufacturers recommend you receive at least 2 professional cleanings per year to keep your machine safe. If you run a bakery or brewery, you'll likely require more to combat the yeast in the air.
Mold and Slime
Mold and slime love to proliferate in dark and damp environments - especially if there is a lot of yeast in the air. While mold and slime aren't dangerous, they can lead to a bad health inspection from your city inspector.
Ice Bin Cleaning
Your ice bin also needs routine cleaning. Since your ice is stored in the bin, your employees must look for any mold and slime buildup inside. Regular cleaning is the best way to keep mold and slime at bay.
Environmental Factors in Stadium Concessions
Ice machines operate best under ideal conditions. If conditions are less than ideal, the machine will produce less ice and require more frequent repairs.
Air cooled ice machines are often the most cost-effective choice for most businesses, but the air around them can affect their ice cube production rate. These ice machines operate best in 70-degree temperatures.
Air cooled ice machines also require ventilation to release hot air produced during the ice-making process. If ice machines are installed in a tight area with low ventilation, you'll see less ice produces and increased repair needs.
Depending on your region, water can have high sediment and mineral concentrations that cam harm your ice machine. Water filtration is the best way to combat areas with low water quality.
Not only will a clean machine produce safer ice, but it will produce more ice as well. Dirt, dust, and grease can cling to ice machine parts and reduce efficiency. The best solution is to schedule at least 2 cleanings per year.
How Much Does an Ice Machine Cost for Stadium Concessions?
Commercial ice machines can cost between 1,500 to over 10,000 depending on the size. A high-volume ice machine for a sports arena or stadium can easily run around $15,000. Besides the initial price of the machine, you also have some hidden fees to consider:
Cleaning and Maintenance
Your average cleaning and maintenance visit runs around $300.
During that time, an ice machine technician will optimize your ice machine for maximum performance and cleaning the machine inside and out. Ice machine manufacturers suggest getting at least 2 preventive maintenance and cleanings visits per year.
Water filters are suggested for all ice machines, but they are particularly vital for ice machines installed in areas with high-sediment and mineral-laden water. Depending on the type, filters can run between $15 - $100. They need replacing around every six months. When filters clog, they produce small or malformed ice cubes.
Depending on the issue, ice machine repairs can cost a few hundred dollars or a few thousand. Here are some of the most common ice machine repairs and their associated costs:
- Hot Gas Valve Replacement - $600
- Expansion Valve - $600
- Compressor Repair - $1500
- Evaporator Repair - $2500
Simplify Your Ice Supply with an All-Inclusive Subscription for Stadium Concessions
Whether your facility hosts a pro sports game or a major artist's concert, you can expect thousands of people to show up in a single night. That's a lot of ice you need to serve! Having commercial ice makers on site is the only option that makes sense--and you don't need to spend a fortune or set aside a ton of time to purchase and maintain those ice makers.
With an Easy Ice subscription, you can get as many high-capacity ice machines for your stadium or event venue as you need without putting down capital upfront. Better yet, we'll make sure every single ice machine at your facility is taken care of: properly cleaned and inspected every 6 months, quickly repaired in the event of a breakdown, and prepared to operate efficiently on your busiest days. We keep track of ice machine maintenance for you, so you don't have to worry about it. We answer emergency calls about ice machine technical issues 365 days a year and fix them faster than any other ice machine service provider. We even provide you with replacement ice whenever your ice machine goes down!
Ready to choose the smart solution to your ice machine needs? Let us know you need ice for stadium concessions, and we'll get you started with the right subscription.