Small Business Brief

Food Business

How to Start an Ice Cream Parlor: A Step-By-Step Guide

Are you thinking about opening an ice cream parlor but don’t know where to start? From perfecting the flavors to finding the best machines and getting new customers, it can all become too much.

Luckily, with a good plan and a decent initial investment, you can get the business up and running in no time. Consider launching in the spring or summer so you can have time to attract customers and make enough money to last through the winter.

Curious to learn how to open an ice cream shop? Read on to discover the first steps to launching a successful business.

Make a Business Plan

For some, opening an ice cream shop is a childhood dream come true, but it’s still a business that requires time and dedication. This is why you need to make a business plan where you’ll write down everything from business goals, budgets, equipment, financial projections, marketing activities, and anything related to the running of your business.

You can start with a quarterly plan and tweak it as you go. If you’re getting a bank loan or any other type of funding, you’ll be required to show the institution a professional business plan.

Obtain the Necessary Permits and Licenses

Before you start your ice cream business, you need to get all the necessary permits and licenses. Aside from local permits, you may also need to obtain state, federal, health, and other small business licenses before you start selling.

It is against the law to run a business without these licenses, and it’s only a matter of time before you get caught or reported.

Get the Right Equipment

Making good ice cream that customers will love is a skill for which you’ll need professional equipment. Ice cream machines can be pricy, so do thorough research before you buy one. If you want to also sell cold drinks or snacks, get an ice machine rental that’ll keep the refreshments ice-cold.

Define the Ice Cream Flavors

You can’t open an ice cream parlor without defining the flavors you’ll be selling. First, know what type of ice cream you’ll specialize in, such as classic ice cream, gelato, soft serve, sorbet, frozen yogurt, non-dairy, sundae, or frozen custard.

You’ll also need a recipe for the cones and a machine if you want to make them fresh and in-house. Finally, you need all kinds of toppings: sprinkles, hard chocolate coating, crushed nuts, caramel, fresh fruit, whipped cream, and candy.

Market Your Business

Now that you know your flavors and are ready to open, consider making a marketing plan to promote your business. You can start by posting paid ads on social media, hand out flyers to people, run a TV or radio commercial, and tell everyone you know you’re starting a business. Create a buzz before the opening and consider organizing a fun event on opening day to entertain the crowd.

How to Open an Ice Cream Shop

Now that you know how to open an ice cream shop, it’s time to start whipping up flavors and attracting customers.

Want more business growth tips? Read some of the other articles on our website and stay tuned for the latest industry trends and news.