Thinking of starting an ice cream business? From gelato to frozen yogurt, ice cream stores and sit-down restaurants can be massively successful, provided you’re willing to give your business, it's marketing, and your products the attention and focus they deserve.
The average American consumes approximately 48 pints of ice cream every year, making ice cream one of the country’s favorite treats. Like coffee, the ice cream industry is a competitive one, making it a tough but potentially rewarding industry to enter.
From your store’s location to your branding efforts, the right approach to starting an ice cream business can pay dividends over the long term. Below, we’ve shared four vital pieces of advice to keep in mind as you start and grow your ice cream business.
Ice cream is an impulse purchase for most consumers, making it important for you to choose a location that receives plenty of foot traffic.
There’s a reason most ice cream stores are located in and around shopping malls, commercial streets, and other retail areas. These areas tend to attract the most foot traffic, resulting in high numbers of drop-in customers.
From visibility to the total number of passersby, study any location in detail before you commit to it. A good location can be the difference between success and failure, particularly if your store is dependent on local residents, shoppers and visitors for success.
Ice cream business supplies, such as cups, napkins and carry bags, can play a major role in the marketing aspect of growing your ice cream business.
While many ice cream businesses stick with generic ice cream business supplies (such as plain white or brown paper cups, bags and containers), one of the best ways to get more exposure for your business is to invest in customized, branded supplies.
From cups to carry bags, aim to add your ice cream store’s brand to every possible supply. Over the long term, it can make a significant difference to your store’s visibility, brand recognition and profitability.
With McDonald’s and other fast food chains offering their own cheap ice cream products, it can be tough to turn a profit aiming for the lower end of the ice cream market. Because of this, you’ll generally get better results with a range of mid-priced or gourmet ice cream offerings.
From homemade ice cream to all-natural, chemical-free products, aim to differentiate your ice cream brand by offering the best products in your area, rather than simply competing with the lowest prices.
Ice cream businesses grow through two key mediums: foot traffic, which is largely dependent on your location, and word of mouth. If your ice cream, experience or brand is one of the best in the area, you’ll have few problems attracting the second.
However, as a new ice cream business, it’s important to seed word of mouth and generate some initial buzz for your business. From local Facebook groups to TV and radio ads, use a variety of mediums to get the word out about your store and bring in your first few paying customers.