Ice cream is a popular commodity, and one with a significant mark-up. If you’re looking to start an ice cream business, there are a number of different avenues to take, such as going mobile with a van, or opening a fixed location at a beach or on the high-street. Having a solid business plan is essential as ice cream parlor businesses can be heavily affected by seasonal demand.
Ice cream is a very saleable commodity, especially during the summer months. The initial start-up costs are not as high as some other businesses and thus may attract first-time entrepreneurs or those not willing to risk large amounts of capital. Ice-cream businesses are also very scalable; you can expand to multiple vans or locations should you succeed. If you’re looking to start your entrepreneurial path and aren’t sure what company to start, consider an ice-cream business. If you can find the right location, and pair it with a solid business plan, you’ll get a great flavor of running a business and will hopefully enjoy profitability too.
Type of business-
The nature of your business is likely to affect the level of sales that you make. Things to consider are:
- The size of your ice cream parlor. The more room you have, the greater the number of potential customers you will be able to accommodate. Will you have an outdoor seating area. Will you make take-away sales from a separate ‘window’ or kiosk.
- The location of your parlor. A parlor in a popular tourist location is likely to attract a large number of customers in the holiday season but may be very quiet for the rest of the year. Locating in a town center may attract customers throughout the year.
- The appearance of your parlor. An upmarket image may mean that you will be able to charge higher prices for your ice cream products.
- Determine whether you will start a franchised shop or a shop on your own. Know the benefits of franchising your business. You’ll have people working with you for guidance in starting it. They will help you in the decor of the shop, the materials and food ingredients used to make the products, and the preparation for employees. However, they can also call for capital loan.
- Get an idea for your business and what it will look like. Do this by looking at other ice cream and frozen dessert shops. For example, an ice cream and frozen yogurt shop may specialize in chocolate, strawberry and vanilla flavors. You want to be as successful as that shop, right?
- Do market research. You can look at websites such as the National Ice Cream Retailers Association for this research. Ask for what is needed to start an ice cream business. A pass for starting your business may be necessary. You will also need items such as ice cream makers, and things to prevent animals such as bees from coming. What is called for, for your business, should stay with you at all times.
- Decide what goods (other than ice cream) that you are going to dispose to your customers. This can include ice cream cones, and things to put on top of the ice cream (such as whipped cream and cookie crumbs). Once you have come up with everything you are going to dispose, write it down on paper.
- Determine a setting for your business. This could be somewhere close to malls, parks, or in the center of town, or near other places to buy things/restaurants. You should also keep customers’ convenience in mind, as well as the transportation conditions. Another thing you need to do is make sure that you have enough space for all ice creams that you are disposing to your customers.
- Come up with a plan for your shop. Be sure to write what you learned in your research, where your shop is going to be, how you plan to attract customers, and how you are going to boost your business. Make sure people in a bank close to you, as well as merchants, see what you wrote.
Compliance and regulation-
- Any shop serving food and drink requires high hygiene standards. There are common statutes covering the preparation and sale of food and these must be adhered to at all times.
- The Food Safety Act 1990 is a British piece of legislation that provides the framework for all food legislation in the country, while the General Food Law Regulation is a piece of European legislation on general food safety. The General Food Law Regulation 178/2002 covers general food safety. These are ‘food law’ legislation and separate to food hygiene legislation.
- With regard to food hygiene, ensure you speak to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to make sure your practices and procedures are fully compliant with food hygiene regulations as the law changes regularly.