At Sentry Equipment, we've been teaching customers for years what we call "The Art Of The Ice Cream Cone". Creating a perfect cone from a soft serve machine time and time again consistently takes practice, knowledge and a bit of training. An ice cream cone may not sound like a big deal to mess up but just little inconsistencies over time can add up to huge problems at the end of the season. The ice cream cone is probably the cornerstone or symbol of your shop, so it's important to nail it correctly every time for every customer.
There is a lot more to serving the perfect ice cream cone than just putting ice cream in a cone and handing it to the customer. Whether it be soft serve ice cream, custard or hand dipped, there are some universal guidelines you should follow when serving ice cream cones. Using these tips will provide consistency across staff and allow you to control margins even if your store is completely different from the others. Bottom line, we know you're unique - and stay unique - but follow these tips and you'll be sure your entire staff will stay consistent while serving your cornerstone product.
First thing first, start with the cone. It's important to note that you should always use a napkin or sleeve when picking up the cones, this is best for presentation purposes. Be sure to grasp the cone with a light grip. The cones can be brittle by themselves, so be careful not indent or crush the cones before serving.
On the top, outer rim of the cone there little suction cups. It's a design of the cone you may not have ever noticed before but it's an important feature. This outer edge or line of suction cups is what helps hold the ice cream in place once it is poured into the cone. Filling these holes with ice cream will provide grip between the cone and ice cream, thus allowing you to roll or dip the ice cream in sprinkles, chocolate or some other confections.
Hold the cone close to your ice cream machine and pull the handle. Start to fill the cone on the outer edge of the cone filling the suctions cups mentioned above. Do not fill the ice cream in the bottom of the cone. This practice should be taught to all employees and avoided at all costs. Filling the cone at the bottom will not provide the proper grip and what's worse, you'll be giving away extra product. Remember, the customer is only buying from the top up - everything from the top down is extra product that you're giving away. Another huge benefit of not filling the cone at the bottom is the fact that ice cream melts. If the cone was filled in the bottom, it has no where to melt but on the hands of your customer. If the cone is empty at the bottom, the ice cream will melt down into this reservoir and not onto their hands. As you slowly move your cone around the machine's spigot you should clearly be able to distinguish between layers.
Size does matter. When you engage Sentry in our consultative services we work with each individual shop owner to evaluate all the different sizes you want to serve. We then work with in measuring the cone levels that should match the sizes you want to serve. Knowing exactly how many levels or what size a cone should be increases efficiency, cuts down on waste and provides consistency across staff and product. As you pull the machine handle down you can count the number of swirls to match the cone size. Don't ever hold the cone far below the spigot of the machine or else your cone is going to roll to one side or another.
Once you've reached the proper number of levels per the size, push the machine handle off and pull the cone down and away from the spigot of the machine. When you pull the cone away you should be easily be able to count the levels. Generally, we match sizes with the levels such as one and a half, two and a half...up to five or six and a half depending on your store.
To see a real-time demonstration of how Rob Romarino pours the perfect ice cream cone...click here.
One of the most important reasons for training is for consistency throughout your staff. This is very important because just a few little inconsistencies added up over time can add up to a huge difference in costs and profits by the end of the season.The true test. There is one test you can perform to make sure your cone is the perfect cone. After you've shut off the handle and pulled your cone away from the machine, turn it upside down. If done correctly, the ice cream should stay in the cone...even while held upside down. If it falls out, then you didn't pour the perfect cone.