Frozen Dessert Success

Adding Products and Profits to Your Ice Cream Shop

Posted by Robert Romarino

Jul 22, 2019 9:15:00 AM

As a business owner we all want to generate more profits for our business. If you own or are involved with running a frozen dessert business then you know there are many different costs and factors involved that affect your profits and/or losses. Decreasing your losses and increasing your profits won't just happen overnight but if you follow our tips below you could be adding profits to your business by the end of the season.

The most potential for adding profits to your operation will come from within your own store in what we call profit centers. A profit center is any collection of products or a collection of spaces that generates profit. More than likely, you already have a profit center(s) in your store, you're just not utilizing it properly. Why would you do that?  Well, most of us don’t know what we don’t know.  And sometimes we are so involved “in” our business that we forget to work “at” our business.   Below are some tips on how to add new or maximize existing profit centers. 

Look at the market and look at your competition. You are probably not the only frozen dessert or ice cream shop within your area. Having this local competition gives you the opportunity to look at what your competition is doing and what customers are willing to spend their money on.  Not that you're going to copy your competition, but processing it all might help you pinpoint what's trending or what's hot at the moment.

Evaluate Your Menu. You've looked at the competition, now it's time to turn inward and look at your store. First, evaluate your own menu and look for those missed opportunities that you could be offering your customers but are currently not. Maybe there was a product that you used to offer but no longer do.  Maybe it's a special summer time flavor or just a stand-alone product that you could be getting more out of. The harder you scrutinize your menu for the right and wrong products the more you set yourself up for success.  Look hard at what is selling – hopefully you have a POS system that breaks it down.  Capitalize on the popular products and eliminate the non-movers.  More is not more and the quickest path to increase sales is to max the max.  An overcrowded menu makes it difficult to drive sales. 

What are you missing?  You've seen what the competition is doing and you've evaluated your own menu. Now it's time to fill the gaps and missing pieces with better performing products, new products or added upsells. Take advantage of what's currently trending in the industry and offer it to your customers. What other products can you make out of your foundation product? 

Do you have the proper product categories?  Foundation products in this business are soft serve, Italian ice, hand scooped ice cream and gelato.   From these come the spinoffs that can drive new profit centers.  From sundaes, to shakes, to novelties…oh my!   Within your foundation product you can also place other, more specific categories of that product. You might be a soft serve ice cream shop but there can be many flavors, combinations and recipes for soft serve ice cream.  What's more, there are a lot of toppings and confections you can add to soft serve ice cream to create additional products and profits.  


What is your foundation and is it enough? Your foundation is what your store revolves around, your core product, but it doesn't need to stop there. As mentioned above, if you're a soft serve ice cream shop, there are plenty of flavors, add-ons and combinations you can make within your foundation product. 

Spinoff the core products into other profit centers. That soft serve ice cream that you're known for can be used to create a line of profit making milkshakes for instance. As you've heard us say, milkshakes can be a huge profit center for any frozen dessert shop or restaurant. But milkshakes can be even more than just a plain milkshake. You can drive milkshake sales by developing recipes, developing creative names and doing a bit of marketing through social media. 

Is Grab and go food an option? Takeout food can be a big percentage of your business. Everybody is busy these days and stopping to sit down at restaurant to eat with the family may not be an option for many people. By having a take-out menu, you could be reaching a whole new customer base within your community. Don't forget about take home items as well. Make sure they're prominently displayed within your shop so customers know they can now take your delicious products home.  Keep it simple but hot dogs, popcorn, nachos are simple add-ons that can maximize space and profits in your operation. 

Are you maximizing your product categories? We mentioned there can be many different categories within your foundation product. Once you have your categories organized it's all about driving sales to those individual products or profit centers. Better sales for individual product or profit centers can be achieved through upselling, having recipe driven products and being creative with your products.

Are you recipe driven? Recipe driven means you've basically created a special line out of a product category. For example, the chocolate and vanilla milkshakes you offer could be become so much more. You could create different recipes or concoctions with the milkshake. So instead of having a plain chocolate shake, a customer could have a double chocolate fudge shake. The point being, you can get very creative with your combinations and create a whole recipe of special milkshakes to drive sales.    Being recipe driven is the way to go.   Imagine people walking up to your store and pointing at the menu saying, “I want that.”   Now you have them.  You’ve created recipe driven treats that drive business.   These are branded to your store with your customer base. 

Are you unique and different? Being unique and different will set you apart from your competition. There is almost endless flavor possibilities and combinations that can be made with your foundation products. Getting creative, not just with your recipes and food combinations, but with names as well could really set your product and store apart. When a customer comes in and orders that extra-large double chocolate fudge shake with M&M's and Hershey Kisses then raves about it to all his friends on social media - well, you'll probably be seeing his friends tomorrow. After all, where else could one get a double chocolate fudge shake with M&M and Kisses? Nowhere else but your store. That's being unique.  Be daring.  Be bold.  

Do your categories offer upsell opportunities? The best example of an upsell is any fast food restaurant when they ask if you want to supersize that?" You should be doing the same with your products. The customer may have ordered a small vanilla cone, but you just asked if he/she wants a large cone with sprinkles and a cherry for just a dollar more. Maybe they won't go for it this time, but if you train your staff properly to ask every time, it's highly likely you'll get a few takers throughout the day. Thus increasing profits throughout the day.

Do you have take home options? We mention take home products and novelties a lot in our blogs and tips because it is a money making opportunity for any ice cream shop or restaurant. If you have your own machines and are making your own product on site, then there is no reason not to have a take-out or novelty program. A take home line doesn't just have to be a pint of plain ice cream, it can also be popsicles, ice cream sandwiches, ice cream cakes and more. Your take home selection should be prominently displayed to all your customer walking through the door. In addition, any take home product that you offer should be branded with your shop brand so that it is always front and center in the customers mind.


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Topics: Ice Cream Sales, Increased Profits, Starting an Ice Cream Business