How to Start a Sweet Ice Cream Business

How to Start a Sweet Ice Cream Business

Running an ice cream store or truck is a sweet deal—you spend your workdays trying to get a beloved dessert into as many hands as possible. You give your customers something to do with friends and family, inevitably bringing smiles to their faces as they enjoy a night out.

If you’re curious about starting your own, here’s how to start a sweet ice cream business.

Refine a Delicious Product

You can’t start anywhere but here. Because people love ice cream, there are countless flavors and forms ice cream takes, and each tasty treat is a special favorite to some. Hand-scooped, soft-serve, custard, gelato, and even frozen yogurt are just a few of the possible forms, while you can create your own flavor from practically any ingredient that strikes your fancy.

Though you can source your ice cream from elsewhere, the best way to draw people is with something new. Maybe your personal dabbling yielded a unique dairy dish. Or, you can bring a special family recipe cultivated from years of refinement to your customers’ tables. Either way, as long as you also have an unquenchable passion for ice cream, and not just money-making—you’re ready to move forward and spread joy.

Pursue a Bevy of Certifications

Moving on to the business-heavy aspect of an ice cream shop, you need a business and foodservice license as well as an employee health license. As a baseline, a business license reports your existence to the government and allows you to legally open up shop. Coupled with this, you need an employee identification number so that your team can do their taxes properly.

Because your customers come to consume your delicious ice cream, you need to permit inspections (which recur over time) so that the health department can assess your ability to serve food safely.

Meanwhile, your employee health permit signals that all your employees undergo state-approved food safety training. While these and other licenses and permits can seem confusing, they’re what allow you to scoop out cones for your visitors.

Consider Buying an Ice Cream Truck

Everyone loves the ice cream man or woman. If you want to spread more happiness and extend your business, consider investing in an ice cream truck. You can even start working out of a cost-effective truck and working your way up to opening a brick-and-mortar store if you like. You’ll need your own dedicated refrigerated van to keep your precious cargo cold and ready to serve, and there are many advantages to buying one. Just remember, you’ll need additional permits in order to sell on the street.

Be Proactive About the Winter

Our final strategy for starting an ice cream business is to plan for the winter if you’re in a colder area. When you start out, strategically plan to open in the spring, using the winter as prep time. When you crunch your numbers and set prices, anticipate the stretch of time when you may choose—like many other ice cream shops—to temporarily shut your doors due to low demand.
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