How To Start An Ice Cream Business In 2022 And Beyond

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Updated: December 01

By: Scam Risk - Expert Reviewer

How To Start An Ice Cream Business In 2021 And Beyond

The most popular shops for both kids and adults are ice cream businesses. Because ice cream, one of the most loved desserts in the entire world, is why this is so obvious. It was initially created as a treat only for European royalty in the 1500s. Now, everyone can enjoy the rocky road whenever and wherever they wish!

The average American consumes 22 lbs worth of ice cream per year.

If you’re anything like me, this number may be a bit low. In fact, the ice-cream industry makes more than 870,000,000 gallons of ice cream served every year. That’s over a billion pounds if you include frozen treats like popsicles, cakes, and ice-cream cookies (my favorite).

Ice cream is so popular that it generated more than $5 billion in 2014. This number keeps growing every year.

Ice cream is a favorite treat of Americans, which makes it a great idea to open an ice cream shop.

This Ice Cream Shop review has been thoroughly researched with information and testimonials that are available online to anyone in the public. Any conclusions drawn by myself are opinions.

Table of Contents

Towards the end of this article, I’ll answer some of the most frequently asked questions about the best franchise opportunities in 2021 and other online alternatives.

But most importantly, you’ll be shown a system that many investors have used to build their own business to over $40,000+ per month in mostly passive income.

How To Start Your Own Ice Cream Shop

It doesn’t take a passion for ice cream to open an ice cream shop. Before you can find your niche in the ice cream industry, there are many business aspects that you must understand.

You’ll see exactly what you need to turn your soft-serve passion into a reality by the end of this article.

Step 1: Learn How An Ice Cream Business Works.

How To Start Your Own Ice Cream Shop

Doing is the best way of learning something, and this holds true for the ice-cream business.

You may have read about an existing ice-cream shop and business in general, but you won’t really understand the business until you have actually worked in one.

To really get to know the ice cream industry, you must work at an ice cream shop.

Learn about staffing, ordering, marketing and inventory. This list could go on and on. A long-time entrepreneur in the industry can help you better understand how to run your own ice cream parlor.

This is all market research. The end result will be that you will have a better understanding of the ice-cream business. This will help you develop a solid plan.

Step 2: Create A Plan.

icecream business

Why do ice-cream businesses fail?

In reality, most ice cream shops fail due to the same reason that many other businesses fail – the absence of a plan.

Choosing the right ice cream shop concept and brand is the first stage of opening an ice cream business.

And your business plan is your road map. It is important to put enough time, effort, and thought into your business plan to ensure that you don’t have to wonder what to do when you open an ice cream shop.

This is the moment you decide what kind of ice-cream business you want.

Independent ice cream parlor?


Shop for specialty ice cream?

Maybe you’d rather have an ice cream truck or stand.

What Kind Of Business Entity Will Your Ice Cream Business Be?

Would it be a sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation?

It is a good idea to plan ahead for every decision, cost, or expectation. By allowing yourself to plan ahead, you can save both time and money later on. You won’t order too much ice cream if you know the exact amount of ice cream toppings or flavors you require. You’ll also know precisely how much you should order, as you’ll have it planned against your sales projections.

It’s the perfect time to research your competition, identify and understand your target audience, and start thinking about your design and style.

Step 3: Discover Earning Potential.

ice cream business

How much money do ice cream businesses make?

Workers in ice cream shops make between $8.00 and $12.00 per hour. An average salary for management is $25,000-38,000 per annum. These are costs you should consider when planning your business.

Your ability to earn is a crucial factor in the success of your store.

Do You Want To Launch A Franchise Or An Independent Shop?

Are you an ice cream shop that produces high-end specialty ice creams, or are you looking to order the bulk of your flavor from a distributor?

Independent shops can set their own prices and margins. But if your product fails to meet customer expectations, you will not be in business for long. You may charge as high as you want if you have a good product. Lick Honest Ice Cream, Austin, TX. This small chain sells all kinds of seasonal and artisanal ice cream.

Step 4: Set A Budget.

ice cream business plans

How much does it take to open an ice cream shop?

Everything depends on what your business does.

You will need a truck, mobile stand, or brick-and-mortar store. An ice-cream stand will require $2,000 to $10,000 of startup funds.

An ice-cream truck will need less. According to the National Ice Cream Retailers Association (Nice Cream Retailers Association), a brick-and-mortar startup can cost between $50,000 and over a million for just the space. Equipment and inventory costs are also high, making it very expensive to start an ice cream business.

However, there is plenty of funding and small business loan options.

Step 5: Decide Which Products To Offer.

opening an ice cream shop

This is where all the fun starts!

The type of store you will open will depend on the products you decide to carry. This step will allow you to determine whether you want to be an artisanal shop with high-end products, a custard shop, a freezer shop, a custard shop, or a creamery. Simply take all of your ideas out and decide what excites or satisfies you.

A Word Of Caution, Though.

While you might be able to attract more people by being all things for everyone, you could end up reducing the efficiency of your store and losing revenue.

Hand-dipped adult shakes are a great specialty to offer. You will have a loyal following and be a trusted authority in hand-dipped. By doing this, your specialty product will have a significantly higher margin.

You’ll Also Want To Think About What To Charge For Each Product.

Like other food service businesses in general, your cost should average between 25-30% of the total customer charge. This ensures that you cover costs such as waste, samples, overhead, and other expenses.

Here’s A Rough Calculation:

  • Average cost for a 3-gallon container of ice cream: $30
  • Scoop Size: 4 ounces
  • Servings per Container: 55
  • Price per scoop: $0.47
  • Add $0.13 to each scoop to cover additional costs like waste, samples and cups, spoons, spoons, or cones: $0.60
  • Multiply by 3.33 – 4.16 depending upon the markup your market supports

The scoop price would then be between $2.00-2.50.

Again, this is for a regular ice cream shop. Your ability to manage costs and business model will determine how much you can charge.

Step 6: Decide On A Location.

how to start an ice cream shop

What is the best place to open an ice cream shop?

This depends on the business model.

If you’re an icecream truck driver, you can simply cruise wherever there is a large number of children in peak season, such as summer. You can also find prime spots in parks, sports events, and residential areas.

When opening a store, you need to be sure it’s in an area with high foot traffic, visibility, and good lighting.

You Want To Find A Location That Fits Into Your Budget.

According to the National Ice Cream Retailers Association, finding a reputable broker specializing in commercial sales or lease is a good idea. They will be able to help you plan and know about the most recent projects.

If you aren’t sure what to search for, look for a reputable ice cream shop. Then analyze the reasons they are so successful.

Prospective ice cream shop owners need to pick a location to attract customers. This alone can make managing the business so much easier.

Step 7: Find Suppliers.

starting an ice cream shop

What Equipment Do You Need To Open An Ice Cream Store?

According to NICRA, the following are required:

  • Back-lit channel letter sign
  • Electronic Scale4, 12, 16 or 16 hole/tray/dipping cabinets
  • Credit Card Machine
  • Cake display freezer
  • Wire Storage racks
  • Self-serve Reach-in display freezer
  • Preparation tables made from stainless steel
  • Batch Freezer5-quart mixer w/2 mixing bowls1, 2, or 3 door hardening cabinet, or walk-in hardening cabinet
  • Cake Image printer system
  • Soda Machine
  • Reach-in/Walk-in cooler
  • Waffle Cone Iron(s).
  • Reach-in / Walk-in storage freezer w/shelves
  • Commercial
  • Mop sink with faucet
  • 3 Head Shake Maker w/4 shake cups
  • Dishwasher-safe sink with double washboards.
  • Fudge Warmer 2 hole
  • Handwash sink
  • Cone Holder
  • Inside Chairs
  • Sandwich Prep cooler
  • Tables and bases for inside use
  • Soft Serve Machines
  • Alternative tabletops
  • Bar Blender(s)
  • Chairs for outside
  • Cold topping ice container
  • Outside tables
  • Cash Register(s).
  • Fax Machine

You might not even need it all. Don’t spend too much on equipment. Get only what you need.

Step 8: Promote Your Ice Cream Business.

starting an ice cream business

It doesn’t matter how delicious your ice cream tastes. If you don’t have customers, it won’t matter. A business’s greatest asset is its customers. How can you promote your business?

There are two ways to go: the old-fashioned way and the modern way. Both are necessary!

You should first put up visible signage so that people can see your shop when they pass it. You must also use clear, attractive photos of your products so that people can understand what to expect.

Your website is the most crucial part of digital marketing. Your menu and daily or weekly schedules can be published online. Having a Facebook page is another excellent way to promote your store. It should be responsive to all messages and inquiries. This will let them know what kind of customer service you offer.

Step 9: Create A Staffing Plan.

how to start an ice cream business

As with any business, you cannot do it all alone.

Either you’ll be so fast that mistakes happen, or you’ll take so long customers will leave. This will hurt customer satisfaction, reviews, loyalty, and overall service.

You can make your ice cream shop a success by hiring reliable, passionate employees.

Most franchises offer training at their headquarters, as well as in your local store.

If you want to open your own business, you need to plan a training program so that all your employees can be consistent in their actions.

A system of procedures should be established to ensure that everything is done correctly. A staffing plan will help you save considerable time and effort later.

Step 10: Create An Accounting Plan.

icecream business accounting

Accounting plans are not optional. It is essential.

Taxes are always an issue for businesses. It’s essential to make sure every dollar is counted, and everything is in order.

Proper tracking will allow you to easily project your sales and determine if you are staying within your budget. A store accounting plan will help you identify any potential threats to your security.

Step 11: Get Into the Ice Cream Business Community.

Get Into the Ice Cream Business Community

Franchise showcases and updates will be provided to you if you sign up for a franchise.

If you are an independent shop, join the National Ice Cream Retailers Association.

Because you will be supported by others eager to help you succeed, this gives you a significant boost in managing your business. It’s possible to meet other ice cream retailers and suppliers of cones toppings, nuts, flavorings, equipment, and toppings.

The NICRA offers several benefits to its members such as ice cream quality testing, insurance programs, monthly bulletins, conventions, and scholarship opportunities

You never know what your big break could be, so keep active in the community.

Step 12: Plan Your Ice Cream Shop Opening.

You will need to decide how to open your ice cream shop to the public when the time comes. When opening an ice cream shop, the most crucial decision is whether to have a soft or grand opening.

Soft Opening vs. Grand Opening

A soft opening provides you an opportunity to test your menu items, customer service, and shop capacity. Although a soft opening is unnecessary, it can help you work out any kinks before your official start.

A grand closing is an event that marks the beginning of your business. Grand openings often include special deals, special menu items, and live events to celebrate the opening. A grand opening is an excellent way for your business to launch and get customers to visit your shop.

The Bottom Line

ice cream shop start up costs

It’s a lot of work to start an ice cream business.

However, if done correctly, it’s rewarding as well as a lot more fun.

It’s even more rewarding to be your boss and brighten the lives of others every day by running your own business.

In any event, we hope you will use the guide.

Finally, if these tips appeal to you and you’d like to see more content, feel free to download our 21 point checklist for your business startup. It’s a simple yet comprehensive checklist that will help you start your journey to becoming a successful startup.

What Is Our #1 Recommendation For Making Money In 2021?

start an ice cream shop business

Our review team has come across a program in the real estate industry that is next level!

Although it’s not real estate in the traditional sense, because it’s all digital.

Yup, Digital Real Estate!

With digital real estate, you have the opportunity to completely walk away from your 9-5 job!

Sound too good to be true?

Of course it does!

But it isn’t…in fact, business owners wish they had this skill!

What exactly is the skill?

Well, basically you are acting as a conduit for small business to increase their bottom line.

What we mean is…

You are helping these businesses grow!

But how?

All you have to do is build and rank a website and forward certain service requests off to a business owner in town… you could even email it to them!

This works for literally any service based business… ie: tree service, plumbing, towing, etc.

How Do You Get Paid And How Much?

Simple, after you forward the jobs off to a business owner and he makes closes the deal, you simply ask to agree to a WIN-WIN arrangement.

A fair price to charge per lead, depending on the industry is 10-20%… let’s just use the tree service industry for example and go by worst case scenario.

Let’s say you build and rank the site and only 20 jobs a month come in. The average tree service job is anywhere from $500-$2000!

That means at bare minimum you have an asset worth $1000 a month!

See why they call it digital real estate now?

That’s a rent payment. 

The great thing is how easy it is to scale. You don’t have to answer the phone…all you have to do is get the phone to ring.

Truly passive income!

start an icecream shop business

The training program takes making money online to a whole other level. The owner of the program walks you through how to build and rank a site hand in hand, with the occasional voice over when he is sharing his screen.

You will learn the importance of keywords, website name, how to send call notifications via email, backlinking, etc.

Once the training program is completed you will also have access to a Facebook group where you can ask questions and be in a community with others on the same journey as you.

Digital real estate allows you to have passive income with most of your day being spent OUT of the brick and mortar landscape.

Now, we know you probably have tons of questions…

So, check this out to learn more.

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