Congratulations! Now that you have a dream, let’s talk about the reality of things to consider when opening an Ice Cream Business. Be prepared for the "Game of Cones"!
The first area that can make or break your business before you even get started is having an ample level of operating capital. Know the costs for equipment, furniture, supplies, staffing, licenses, permits, products and construction, and plan on having a solid cushion to get you through the first season. Plan on buying high quality equipment for long term hassle-free production.
Don’t settle on just any location. Study the customer traffic, likely competition, visibility, and accessibility of a proposed site. No matter how fabulous you believe your product is, you need to have enough customers walking in the door. Do your homework or face the consequences of meager returns on your investment.
Focus on providing quality products. Don’t scrimp for inferior fudge, imitation chocolate and stale toppings and cones. Produce your own ice cream, Italian Ice or Gelato and put more money in your own pocket, not that of a manufacturer. Buckets of pre-made frozen desserts will always cost more than what you can make in the same volume. Plus, your homemade treats will be more creative and tastier, and keep your customers coming back for more.
Know your competition and your targeted customers. Plan for how your shop will look and what products you will offer: the name, the signage, what you will be selling, the menu board, employee uniforms, custom cups and containers…etc. Be aware that certain geographic areas prefer certain flavor profiles and pricing.
Hire friendly and conscientious personnel. Train and educate them, before they even serve a single customer, to up-sell by adding toppings or suggesting larger sizes. Show them proper scooping techniques for fast and efficient turnover of customers. Untrained employees and absentee owners are one of the leading causes of frozen dessert business failures.
Don’t expect the business to run itself. Be prepared for putting in lots of long hours as an owner or manager and be realistic on expected profits from the business. Calculate the number of dishes of ice cream that will need to be sold each day, week or month to cover expenses and provide salaries, and develop a constantly changing plan for ensuring this happens.
Don’t let your dream become a nightmare. Without all of this planning, research, and forethought done ahead of time to ensure a successful business, once you open your doors it may already be too late. So, forge ahead. It’s time for you to make the world a tastier place.
Gil's Ice Cream Supplies
320 W Oak Lane Glenolden PA 19036
Over 40 Years of Personal Service & Product Expertise Ice Cream, Italian Ice, Gelato & Frozen Dessert Supplies, Paper & Plastic Products for serving, packaging & manufacturing, Candy, Gum, Mints & Snacks, Concession Supplies for Popcorn, Snow Cones, Cotton Candy & more