If you're in the frozen dessert business or in the business of selling ice cream in any capacity then you should be making and serving your own ice cream. How's that for a bold flavorful statement? In this month’s blog we're talking to the ice cream shop and restaurant owners who are interested in growing their customer base and making more profits with ice cream.
There are many advantages to making your own ice cream but for some ice cream entrepreneurs it doesn't make sense. So, before explaining what the advantages are, let's go through some of the reasons people choose not to make their own ice cream.
Why Not? The major reason it doesn't make sense to make your own ice cream is that you are simply not selling enough hard ice cream in the first place. If you have a low volume of customers or low volume of sales in the product category, then you need not bother as it just doesn't make financial sense for you. When you make your own, you're going to have to invest in a batch freezer and probably a storage freezer, a blast freezer and dipping cabinet as well, if you don't already have them. The investment into this equipment is a barrier of entry for most and you just may not be selling enough tubs of ice cream to justify the investment. If that is the case….I get it. Perhaps you can build sales more so the ROI on the endeavor of making your own is not tooooo far down the line.
One also has to think about the time involved in making their own ice cream. Just as there is a cost investment to make your own, there is also a time investment. When you make your own ice cream, you have to get the individual ingredients and mix them all together to make the product. Buying the ingredients, mixing them and completing the product cycle may be a daily chore that some people believe they cannot commit too.
Space may be another issue for you as well. If you don't have the room for a batch freezer, blast freezer, storage freezer and all the ingredient accompaniments, then you must might not have the room to do it. The creativity of ice creation needs some elbow room. There have been instances where the room just wasn’t there.
Finally, as we often hear, people just don't know what to do. They like the idea of making their own ice cream, but they quickly become overwhelmed when it comes to the creation and execution of the product. They worry about recipe creation and whether the quality will be as good as what they have now. These are realistic concerns but if you partner with the right support staff for equipment and training – a la a Sentry Equipment (shameless sales plug) – then those concerns disappear.
Advantages of making your own. If you are an ice cream shop that sells enough ice cream to warrant the investment then there's no reason you should not be creating your own ice cream and frozen products. Though time may be concern to more than a few at first, they soon learn the time invested in their own product pays off dividends down the road. Plus if you have the fore-thought to properly train your employees to make the product, then time really shouldn't be an issue at all.
Cost. The biggest advantage to making your own ice cream is that you're going to save money. Even though there are some great wholesale products out there, when you make it yourself you'll save on every tub of ice cream. The savings of course depend on the flavors you make, the ingredients you use and how much you buy the wholesale product for. In the end your food cost will be lower and the freshness and quality of product will be higher. Not a bad combination.
Inventory. Another advantage often overlooked is that you can control your own inventory. When you make your own ice cream you're no longer beholden to the wholesaler's products, flavors and delivery dates. You get to make what you want, when you need it. If you hit on a flavor that everybody loves then you're going to need more of that flavor quick. When you make your own, you can gather the necessary ingredients and make some more immediately, rather than wait for the next delivery.
Creativity. One of the best things about being in the ice cream business is the creativity it allows you. This creativity can be carried out through your product line. When you make your own you can make whatever you want. You're no longer limited to the flavors that your wholesaler offers. The creativity you put into your product can really invigorate your business. It allows you to experiment with seasonal flavors and perhaps even hit on a unique or different flavor that will keep your customers coming back.
Your Own Brand. Last but certainly not least is that the fact that you now have your own brand of ice cream. It's your flavor, it's your ice cream, it's your brand. Customers want homemade, fresh, farm to table products that they can enjoy. When you make your own and can advertise that it's homemade, you're getting customers to buy a homemade product from a local store and developing your own brand at the same time. We are confident that once you develop your own brand and advertise that it's homemade product, your sales will go up. We say this because we've seen it happen time and time again. This homemade, farm to table trend is changing the ice cream market and you need to take advantage of it now.
Bottom line, if you're not making your own ice cream then you're not only leaving a lot of money on the table but a lot of business as well. Imagine building your own brand, controlling your own inventory, buying at the right price and charging more for your premium product. When you make your own ice cream - you can take your business to the next level.
If you're a shop that isn't making your own ice cream but would like to explore or consider the options, then contact us. We can help you analyze the costs and see if it makes sense for your store. with the equipment selection, business plans, menu planning and product creation.