By Bimbola Oyesola
Ice cream production is an investment that will be a hit anyday and opening an ice cream shop in your neighbourhood is a business idea guaranteed to draw a crowd. Knowing your product, being familiar with the most popular ice cream flavours, and having a willingness to work nights and weekends are all important factors to take into account.
Ice cream is a delight for both old and young and children most especially love the delicious flavours. Ice cream is demanded round the year, and hardly can you get to any eatry, super market or pastry store without seeing ice cream. But the sales are more during weekends, festive seasons and special occasions like birthdays and weddings.
Success in this business however is based on your ability to understand some important guidelines and these include:
Success in any business has to do with passion, hence the very first thing you need to ask yourself before opening an ice cream shop is: are you passionate about ice cream? Not just how it tastes on a hot day but the subtleties around flavour, consistency, delivery, and more.
Customers have a lot of choice about where to go for their ice cream so if you are going to compete with the existing brands, you need a product that is high quality and distinctive. You want to offer your customers the best of the best and keep them coming back for more. That means you need to know the ice cream making process inside and out.
Know Your Product
Ice cream comes in many flavours and designs. Some ice cream is light and fluffy. Some ice cream dense and creamy. It all comes down to the ingredients. If you want to offer the best quality to your customers, you will need to know what goes into the ice cream making process that makes the difference. The more air, the fluffier the ice cream. The less air, the more dense and creamy. You need to be careful, though – too much air and there won’t be a whole tons of actual edible ingredients, leaving the ice cream bland and tasteless.
Not enough air and the ice cream will be impossible to penetrate with even the most hardened of ice cream scoops! This is just the basics of understanding the world of artisanal ice cream. Going into production, you may need to understudy those already in the business or enroll with one of these confectionery schools. They also offer a pretty good introductory list of the equipment you will need to purchase before opening your ice cream business.
Registration of the business with the Corporate Affairs Commission is very important. Equally as it is a product that falls under food, neglect of NAFDAC would be a peril to such business. There are other paper works that may have to be done, but different states have different requirements, but you can count on a few things being the same.
You will also need to read up on your local health and safety laws to make sure you can pass a health and safety inspection. All states will have their own different regulations and special permits.
Know Your Customers’ tastes
How will you decide what flavours to carry? The choices you might consider obvious might not be the choices your customer’s will want. You can carry the best of the best when it comes to flavours, but if your customers do not agree, it will be hard to get repeat customers. You want to try to offer something for everyone.
Do your research by visiting other ice cream parlors in your city. What flavours are gone by the end of the day? What flavours are still sitting there, melting in their containers? Think about what special flavours you can offer that no one else does to help you stand out from the crowd. Some ice cream shops, prides themselves on doing the simple flavours, others like to mess around with funky, crazy flavours.
The only way you are ever going to find out what works for you is by giving it a try. So, it might be time to invest in some equipment, get churning, and start selling. Carry out lots of research to actually find out the niche you can create to be successful in the business.
Though you need to get the idea, the price those established in the business are selling, but your price would be determined by what you are offering and your target markets. But in all it is important to fix a price that will be reasonable as turn over is the most essential here. If you can be able to sell more then you can be sure of better profit. You can also decide to sell in wholesale directly to the eateries and supermarkets while equally targeting special orders for special ocassions like birthdays, weddings and anniversaries.
You need to get experienced hands to support the business. Though when you are first starting out, you are going to want to take care of everything yourself. But even the most savvy and hardworking of business owners can not be all things at once.
Eventually, you are going to burn out, and you will need to rely on other people to help lighten the load. It is your dream to open your own business and be your own boss – but don not forget that you might also end up being the boss to someone else.
The site of the business is central to its sucess. So you need to site the business where your target market will be. As ice cream appeals more to the children it will be good if you locate your business near schools, central location where lots of foot traffic, tons of people can stop in to have a glance in your window.
How do you get across to your target market, this depends on the scale of the business though. However you can use several ways to popularise your products. You need to advertise in local newspapers, radio programs and television. The social media like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter as well as creating a website is equally important.
If you really want to open up an ice cream shop, these are just a few of the questions you need to ask yourself. There is a lot you need to learn about the business before opening an ice cream shop, but if you’re determined and ready to do your research, there is nothing that can stand in your way!
As said earlier determination and zeal will give you the edge and guarantee your success in the business. It also important to note that this is one of the investments that requires low capital to start with high turn over.
Stories by Bimbola Oyesola