The holiday season often brings busy nights of food preparation & display, festive beverages, and office parties. It’s also a time many business owners find themselves asking, “How much ice do I need for the holidays?”  

In the spirit of giving, we have prepared a few tips to help your business get ready for the holiday season.  

Unique Holiday Ice Needs for Each Business 

Every business will need a different amount of ice, based on their unique circumstances.  Easy Ice has broken down the approximate daily ice requirements by industry, which you can find in our handy Ice Usage Estimator. 

The holidays bring plenty of challenges for many businesses, from increase in seasonal customers to planning a holiday party, and everything in between. Let’s look at some of the biggest holidays for each industry and how much ice you can expect to use.    

How Much Ice Do I Need for My Bar? 

The average bar or cocktail lounge requires around 3 lbs. of ice per customer. Certain holidays, like New Year’s Eve, are famous for drawing big crowds, but there are many other holidays that bring people out to celebrate. Let’s look at a couple. 

Halloween – Kids aren’t the only ones looking forward to Halloween, adults also want in on the action. Many adults go to a bar to show off their best costume and celebrate until the witching hour.  

Thanksgiving Eve – Ask anyone in the bar and restaurant industry, and they’ll tell you that Thanksgiving Eve is one of the busiest nights of the year. There’s even an ominous name for it – Black Wednesday. Since many businesses give their employees Thanksgiving off, the night before is an ideal time to celebrate with drinks.   

Christmas – If you decide to stay open for Christmas, you might want to expect a rush. Not everyone celebrates Christmas, and those that don’t are often looking for a good time while everyone else is with family. Also, those that celebrate may like to cap off the evening with a few drinks before heading home.   

How Much Ice Do I Need for My Hotel? 

Hotels go through approximately 5 lbs. of ice per guest on average, so it’s important to consider the increase in ice demand when your hotel is solidly booked during the holidays.   

In addition to a full-house, holiday parties are a major consideration when planning for your ice supply.  If you have in-house banquet facilities, you have probably noticed the difference between ice usage for a corporate seminar event serving ice water, and ice usage for a holiday party serving dinner and cocktails.  In addition to increased beverage ice, you will also use a great deal more ice for food preparation and banquet displays during these festive events.   

Speaking of holiday parties… 

How Much Ice Do I Need for My Office Party? 

Since many businesses in the US close their doors during Christmas, it’s commonplace to host a holiday parties a few weeks in advance, or even after the first of the year.  

If you’re hosting your office party in-house rather than off-site, you’ll want to consider the storage capacity of your office ice machine. More than likely, your ice machine has been sized to meet the ice needs of your employees throughout the workday.  Ice demand spread out throughout the workday is very different than an event that requires a large amount of ice at one time.   

Small offices with under 50 people might be able to get away with using a countertop ice dispenser for their on-site office party, but if you’re expecting more guests than that – you’re likely to run out of ice.  

So, let’s look at some ways you can make sure you have enough ice for the holidays.  

How to Ensure You Have Enough Ice for the Holidays 

Storing Excess Ice on Slow Days 

One of the best ways to prepare for the holidays is to bag and store excess ice on less busy days, although you’ll need adequate freezer space for this. To do this, you can buy heavy-duty, food-grade plastic bags and fill them with the extra ice your machine produces.  

Bars and hotels should look to pull ice on slow business days. The weekends or the end of the workday are great times for offices to raid ice machines for extra ice. By storing extra ice in your freezer, you can help make sure you’re well-stocked for your next busy day or holiday party.   

Ice Delivery 

Another option is to have ice delivered to your business. This is often the best option for an in-office party since you may not have the freezer space capable of storing large quantities of ice.   

If you’re an Easy Ice subscriber, we offer a Peak Demand Ice service that provides ice delivery for a fee in select cities. Many of our customers use this service for special events, like holiday parties. Contact us at 866-easyice for details.  

If your business is swiftly growing and you notice that your current ice machine isn’t keeping up with the influx of new customers, it might be time to up-size – and what better time than before the holidays?   

Easy Ice subscribers can up-size their ice making machine once per year if they find that their current ice machine is not satisfying their growing business needs.