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Efficiency behind the Bar

5 Things you can do to manage your Ice efficiently

There are a lot of things you as a bar owner can do to create efficiency behind your bar. We took a closer look at cocktail bars specifically, because compared to wine bars or pubs, there is one big difference – the enormous consumption of ice.

Running out of ice mid-shift comes close to a catastrophe and every bartender’s nightmare, but with proper planning and maintaining certain steps, this can easily be prevented.
We have asked Timo Janse, the Hoshizaki Ambassador from Flying Dutchman Cocktails Amsterdam to walk us through the important steps when building your daily bar routine and how to avoid bad surprises.

1. Do the Math

It all starts with knowing your own ice consumption. It is not enough to only eyeball the size of your bar. Take a closer look and try to estimate the maximum number of drinks you are able to serve at a given time and over a period of 2 hours. Now, calculate the ice needed for these drinks, and don’t forget to include ice for preparation as well as for serving your drinks. Knowing this number will tell you how much ice you will need in the course of two hours.
In order to avoid hectic ice runs, plan ahead and make sure your ice chest is big enough to hold at least this amount of ice.

2. Ice Chest for dry & cool Ice

This leads us to the next point – the size and quality of your ice chest. One thing to look for is a well-isolated ice chest, as it determines how much your ice is affected by the ambient environment temperatures of your location. And of course, good drainage is key. You don’t want – under no circumstances – to let your ice sit in excess water. As soon as the ice gets wet, it will start to melt even faster, which will eventually lead to more frequent ice runs and a more hectic work mode.

3. Location of Ice Maker

If you look at your ice maker as a core tool of your business, it makes sense to carefully plan its position. It is important to make sure that there is sufficient ventilation, as this is a critical aspect for perfect ice production and the longevity of your ice maker. If there is not sufficient ventilation and/or the ambient temperatures are extremely high, you might want to consider purchasing a water-cooled model instead of an air-cooled model.

Considering the sound of an ice maker, it is best to position the unit where this won’t bother anyone. Small under-counter models can be neatly tucked away behind the bar, but bigger machines are better positioned in the back bar, easily accessible but away from frequent walking routes and your general operating area.

4. Correct Temperatures

Understanding how your ambient temperature affects your flow of ice will help you to plan ahead and to stay on track with your ice production and refilling processes. No matter if you go with a high-end temperature control system or you decide to distribute a set of thermometers around your operational areas as well as within the guest areas, it is highly recommended to keep an eye on your ambient temperatures.

5. Handling the ice

Although it should be common knowledge and practice, it still happens often and in plain eyesight, so it cannot be mentioned enough – Please never touch the ice with your hands. Not only is it extremely unhygienic, but it will also cause a quicker ice melting rate.
If you want to know more about how to build your own ice hygiene routine, read the Hoshizaki Clean Ice Dos and Don’ts.

Watch the full video of Timo Janse, Hoshizaki Ambassador and Co-Owner of Flying Dutchman Cocktails and Dutch Courage in Amsterdam, explaining the details of good ice management.