Are you wanting to start a business to capitalize on your love for all things ice cream? Do you want to spread joy and deliciousness throughout your community? If so, then you need to look into building an ice cream parlor.

Doing so will help you determine the best way to open an ice cream parlor and witness successful growth in the coming years. Starting a business is always exciting and nerve-wracking, but as long as you have a plan, you’ll be setting yourself up for success!

See below for a guide on what you will need to open your own ice cream parlor the right way.

A Business Plan

Starting an ice cream parlor is very similar to starting a gelato store. As a matter of fact, all great business ideas start by creating a business plan. It puts your idea of starting an ice cream parlor onto paper, making it all the more realistic.

All great business plans feature a certain list of factors such as:

  • Executive summary– Done after the rest of the business plan is completed. This is a one-page summary of what the reader will discover after reading through your business plan.
  • Market analysis– Thorough description of your market. This is mainly used to describe the key competitors in your market.
  • Marketing and sales information– Describes your plan for getting the word out on your business and converting on foot traffic in your parlor.
  • Target market analysis– Information describing your ideal customer. What draws them to your parlor? What makes your parlor more desirable to them than other ice cream shops in the area?
  • Financial projections– Projections of income, profit margins, expenses, and so forth. This is vitally important for those of you looking for funding.
  • Company outline– Explains all key personnel at your ice cream parlor. Includes information about each employee’s title, experience, responsibilities, and what makes them a valuable asset. Investors want to see this.
  • List of products (such as the ice cream flavors you’ll serve)– Self-explanatory. What are you going to sell at your parlor?

Identify Your Target Market

Who will you be selling to? At the end of the day, your ice cream parlor is meant to do two things: serve up delicious treats and make a profit!

The only way you’ll do that is by refining your target market. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, a target market is the ideal type of client that your ice cream parlor will be targeting.

The answer of “everyone” doesn’t fly. It’s too general and unspecific, which can sabotage your company. If you build a marketing campaign that’s targeted at everyone, you will attract no one.

Not sure who your target market is? Start by creating buyer personas. These are make-believe “customers” that you create to define your target market. Ask yourself these questions to pinpoint your ideal buyers:

  • Where do they live?
  • What is their job?
  • How old are they?
  • What is the pain point that leads them to your parlor?
  • Where do they go to get information? (I.E. social media, websites, Google, etc.)

3. Start Your Marketing Initiatives

It’s never too late to start marketing your ice cream parlor. Research shows us that it can take anywhere from 5 to 20 touchpoints before you convince a customer to buy from you, regardless of your industry.

If you start marketing right away, that’s fewer touchpoints you have to make once you officially open your doors. Make sense?

So where do you start with your marketing plan? Make sure that your plan includes the following:

  • A marketing budget
  • The platforms you’ll use to reach your target market (and statistics showing why)
  • Identify your target market (as previously mentioned)
  • How you’ll share your story
  • What makes your ice cream parlor’s products attractive to others
  • Online and offline marketing tactics
  • Marketing attribution

These are just the start. Essentially, your marketing plan needs to answer two questions before you can start to put it into action: who are you targeting and how will you reach them?

Put Things Into Motion

Of course, you shouldn’t start your marketing initiatives until a few business factors are taken care of. Start by getting all of the permits and licensing in place for your new ice cream parlor.

This includes getting a food handling permit, vendor permit, and health permit. If you open your doors without any of them, your store will be closed down before it gets started.

Next, make sure that you purchase all of the necessary equipment. At Lancaster Manufacturing, we’re happy to help you fulfill all of your equipment needs. We can shine a light on all the essential tools and equipment your business model will need.

After that, you’ll need to get business insurance in place. In order to ensure that you’re prepared for any emergency, be sure to invest in things such as business liability insurance, umbrella insurance, and workers’ compensation insurance.

Once all of that is in place, give a call to your local city officials. Tell them about your new ice cream parlor, then ask them what licensing and other permits they require you to have before setting up shop in their community.

Put Your Dream Ice Cream Business Into Motion Today

Now that you have seen the essential steps that you need to take before opening the doors to your ice cream parlor, it’s time to start the process.

Be sure to read this article about how to choose the best-frozen custard machines for your business for more information on the equipment needs your company will have.

For more inquiries, please be sure to reach out via our contact us page and we will be happy to assist you further.