Are you passionate about your ice cream and ready to be your own boss? Opening an ice cream shop could be the perfect way to have a career you will love every day! While you will decide the particulars of your establishment, there are certain general guidelines every entrepreneur should follow. The following guide details each step of how to open an ice cream shop:
Step 1: Determine Your Shop Type Is opening a franchise or independent ice cream shop the best choice for you? Franchisors do much of the start-up work for you, but typically have high net worth requirements and demand a percentage of your sales as long as your shop is open. Be sure to speak to current franchisees before making any final decisions.
Step 2: Form Your Company Protect yourself by forming your company, registering, and incorporating your business. Register your company with state officials, apply for your employer tax ID number, and obtain a sales tax number.
Step 3: Create Your Business Plan A thoroughly researched business plan is crucial; it will provide you with knowledge of local market realities, an itemization of start-up expenses, serve as a financial and operational plan for the next several years, and demonstrate to potential investors and lenders the viability of your enterprise.
Step 4: Choose Your Location Look for a highly visible, easily accessible location in a family-friendly area, with ample parking, heavy family and female foot traffic, and a reasonable rental rate.
Step 5: Pick Your Product Line Finalize your menu choices. For the broadest appeal, include hand-dipped, soft-serve, and self-serve options; sundaes, splits, floats, and cakes; sugar-free, dairy-free, organic, and exotic flavors; several cone options – waffle, cake, and chocolate dipped; and a large selection of sweet, savory, and fruit toppings.
Step 6: Design Your Décor Give your creativity free rein: do you have a 50’s style ice cream parlor in mind, a cozy den when customers will linger for conversation over your confections, or a trendy dessert bar that will appeal to the younger generation? The atmosphere you create will determine the clientele you attract.
Step 6: Select your equipment The equipment you will need includes:
- Ice cream freezer
- Dipping cabinet
- Soft-serve ice cream machine
- Milkshake blender
- Soda fountain
- Ice cream shop POS
- Ice cream servers and savers/lids
- Hot topping warmers
- Cone, topping, napkin holders
- Waffle cone bakers
- Scoops and servers
- Ongoing supplies: ice cream cups, napkins, drink cups and lids
Step 6: Obtain Licenses, Permits, & Insurance Look up local and state regulations and make certain you get all required business licenses and health department permits; purchase property, liability, and workers’ compensation insurance.
Step 7: Hire Enthusiastic Staff Look for outgoing, friendly candidates. If possible, hire employees with prior ice cream or dessert shop experience.
Step 8: Market Your Shop Begin marketing a month before you open to ensure your customers are there from day one! Mail postcards and flyers, create a website, employ social media, and advertise on local papers and radio.
Step 9: Time for Your Grand Opening! This is your chance to shine. Go all out and make it a family fun occasion to remember, with face painting, balloon animals, live music, special discounts, and other entertainment.
Part of learning how to open an ice cream shop is choosing the right point of sale equipment. Calypso’s is the most affordable in the industry, and features simple, easy to use software that enables fast, accurate service. Calypso meets all the needs of ice cream shops with integrated credit card processing, an employee time clock and labor scheduling, and QuickBooks integration. Contact Calypso today at 800-771-7100 to make your ice cream shop dreams come true!