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Why Do Restaurants Serve Ice with Holes in It?

Updated: 6 days ago

In the scorching summer months, one of the most refreshing sights for diners is a glass of ice-cold water adorned with strangely-shaped ice cubes. You've probably noticed that many restaurants serve ice with holes in it, leaving you curious about the purpose behind these seemingly ordinary frozen wonders.

ice cubes

Why the holes?

Better cooling efficiency. The primary reason restaurants opt for ice with holes is to enhance the cooling efficiency of beverages. When ice freezes, it will expand, trapping small amounts of air and impurities within its structure. These air pockets and impurities, though tiny, can cause ice to melt faster and dilute drinks–which can be pretty annoying and water down your drink! By creating ice cubes with holes, the trapped air is released during the freezing process, resulting in denser and purer ice cubes. As a result, beverages stay colder for longer durations, ensuring that customers enjoy refreshing and undiluted drinks throughout their dining experience.

Compatibility with beverage dispensing equipment. Restaurants extensively rely on commercial ice machines that produce ice cubes specifically tailored to the needs of their beverage dispensing equipment. Many beverage dispensers feature a grid-like design or mechanisms that can become clogged or damaged by solid, dense ice cubes. Ice cubes with holes, on the other hand, prevent such issues by allowing smooth and uninterrupted ice flow. The holes in the ice cubes facilitate efficient distribution and prevent blockages, ensuring that the ice machines and dispensers operate flawlessly. Consequently, using ice cubes with holes reduces maintenance costs, enhances the lifespan of equipment, and enables restaurants to serve beverages consistently, without interruptions or delays.

More hygienic and safe. Maintaining high standards of hygiene and food safety is a top priority for restaurants. The use of ice cubes with holes contributes to these efforts. Holes in the ice cubes serve as an extra layer of safety by allowing any potential contaminants, such as dirt particles or impurities, to pass through the holes instead of being ingested by customers. This additional filtration mechanism ensures that the ice served in beverages is as clean and pure as possible. Furthermore, the holes in the ice cubes enable faster freezing, reducing the time frame during which bacteria can multiply. As a result, restaurants can offer customers a safer and healthier dining experience.

Better presentation. We eat (drink?) with our eyes first. Beyond functionality, restaurants also value the visual appeal of ice with holes. These unique ice cubes are aesthetically pleasing and add a bit of elegance to a beverage. The presence of holes in the ice cubes creates a delicate and sophisticated look, elevating the overall presentation of the drink. When served in a glass, the ice cubes with holes catch the light and create a sparkling effect. Thus, restaurants prioritize the use of such ice cubes to elevate the aesthetics and visual allure of their offerings.

The bottom line

The presence of holes in the ice cubes served at restaurants is not merely a coincidence; it is a deliberate choice made by establishments to enhance cooling efficiency, improve aesthetics, maintain equipment compatibility, and prioritize hygiene and safety. By incorporating these specialized ice cubes into their beverage service, restaurants demonstrate their commitment to providing customers with an exceptional dining experience. Next time you dine out, raise your glass and appreciate the artistry behind those seemingly simple, yet purposeful, ice cubes with holes.

Call us

Need some help navigating the water filters on your commercial ice machine? Want to schedule some maintenance or establish a routine maintenance schedule with us? Please, don’t hesitate to call! We would love to chat and help you along the way. For a direct line to any of our employees ready on the line to help you, please call…(512) 651-4565 for our Austin, Texas community (806) 686-0050 for our Lubbock, Texas community. Or check out our website at

<a href="">Image by wirestock</a> on Freepik


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