Is a 100-lb. Ice Maker a Good Choice for My Chicago Business?

Reading Time: 5 minutes Ice Machines 101

If you’re a new small business owner in Chicago looking for commercial ice equipment, a 100-lb ice maker may seem like a lot of ice, but you should likely consider sizing up.

New business owners will often try and cut costs by choosing a small commercial ice machine they think will meet their business needs. Small business owners often settle on 100 lbs of ice, assuming it will carry their ice needs.

Automatic Icemakers has been serving the Chicago area for over 60 years. Before running out to buy a 100 lb. ice maker, our Ice Machine Experts would like to show you how to choose the right sized ice machine for your Chicago business.

How Much Ice Does My Business Need?

From a business standpoint, a 100 lb. ice machine is relatively small.

For example, the average hospital uses around 10 lbs. of ice per bed. Chicago restaurants use about 1.5 lbs. of ice per customer. Chicago bars require 3 lbs. of ice per customer since bar patrons tend to order more drinks than at restaurants. Keep in mind; these examples are simply average estimates. A lot more goes into sizing an ice machine.

Business owners often forget that they use ice in many other areas, not just in drinks.

Chicago kitchens use ice to prepare food. Sports bars use ice to fill beer tubs on big game days. Healthcare clinics in Chicago need ice to treat injuries.

Need Help Sizing an Ice Machine for Your Business?

Our Ice Machine Experts are ready to assist! We have commercial ice machines in sizes ranging from 200-3000 lbs a day!

Simply put, there are many factors you need to consider when sizing an ice machine.

Our ice machine calculator includes some general estimates for each industry. You can give Automatic Icemakers 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

If you’re looking for a single ice machine for your business, a 100 lb. ice maker is likely not going to cover your needs. Even if you run a small business that can get by on 100 lbs. of ice, you should know that ice machines produce ice in batches, not all at once. It takes 24 hours for an ice maker to produce its full capacity of ice. For example, a 100 lb. ice maker takes a full 24 hours to produce 100 lbs. of ice.

Also, just because an ice machine is rated to produce 100 lbs of ice a day doesn’t mean it can hold all that ice at once. Typically, these machines store around is 50 lbs of ice at a time.

Smaller ice machines also produce less ice an hour than a high-volume ice machine. If you’re running through ice quickly during a busy rush, a typical 100 lb. ice machine will only produce a little over 8 lbs. of ice an hour.

Running out of ice is not only a hassle, it can be expensive as well! You can buy ice in just about any convenience store in Chicago, and many services will deliver ice to your business if you run out. Keep in mind, 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. If you choose to go with a Chicago delivery service, they’ll likely add a fee on top of the price of the ice.

$30 may not seem like a lot, but if you run out of ice during a busy day once, you’ll likely run out of ice again. Repeat trips for extra ice can really cut into your business’s bottom line. Small business owners should look to purchase an ice machine that produces slightly more than they need. A larger ice machine may cost more at purchase but will save you money in the long run.

Where Can I Use a 100 lb. Ice Maker?

Just because a 100 lb. ice maker is small doesn’t mean it isn’t useful in certain work environments. 100 lb. ice makers work great as a backup bar ice machine or office ice machine.

Undercounter ice makers, like the Hoshizaki IM-200BAB ice machine, are a great option for underbar use. These units produce up to 186 lbs. of solid, square ice a day (which is a great type of ice for high-end cocktails). Our models come with 75 lbs. built-in storage. Bartenders in Chicago pubs and cocktail lounges can quickly grab ice from a replenishing supply.

Small countertop ice and water dispensers are popular options for office ice makers and break rooms in Chicago. These machines can fit on top of a countertop to save space and allow employees access to ice throughout the day.

Most countertop ice makers provide between 100-300 lbs. a day. They are also more hygienic than traditional ice machines, where employees reach into a commercial ice bin to grab ice. This exposes the ice to accidental contamination, which can end up making employees sick.

Countertop ice dispensers drop ice directly into drinkware, so users never have to retrieve ice by hand.

Need a Small Ice Maker for Your Business?

If you’re a small business owner looking for a commercial ice machine, know that you have a lot of options. There’s nothing wrong with looking for the best deal. Just know that if you choose an ice machine that is too small, you’ll end up paying more in extra ice.

While you may be able to get by on a 100 lb. ice maker on a normal business day, you may run out of ice on busier days. Choosing a slightly larger ice machine can save you money in the long run, since the operational cost to produce 100 lbs. of ice is a fraction you will pay buying that amount retail.

Automatic Icemakers has a large selection of small commercial ice makers for businesses. We’ve been serving the Chicago area for over 60 years. If you’re having a tough time choosing the best commercial ice machine for your business, our Ice Machine Experts are ready to help. Buy an ice machine or choose one of our all-inclusive ice machine leases. Contact us today.

Our team is available to help you get started today!

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