If you are an ice cream lover, maybe at some point in your life you went into an ice cream parlor, looked at that colorful environment with so many cheerful people and the most varied frozen flavors and thought, "I could do that!"
And why not? You will be your own boss and your flagship will be loved by you and your entire community. In addition, the growing appreciation of premium and artisanal ice creams has opened up new opportunities in the market.
However, as with any and every company, love of the end product does not necessarily mean that you will love working with it. So let's get to know all the pros and cons of opening an ice cream shop to help you succeed in your business.
What is an Ice Cream Parlor?
An ice cream shop or gelateria is an establishment that produces and / or markets ice creams. You can produce your own ice creams or else you can simply resell the product from another industry.
The ice cream can be served on casquinhas, cascÃμes, cups and innumerable other packages. You can also choose to serve each customer individually at the counter, or offer a self-service buffet system, where the consumer serves himself and, at the end of the buffet, pays for the weight consumed.
In addition, some ice cream shops offer other product options, such as desserts made with the product (sundaes, banana split, milk shakes, etc.), other sweets (such as pies and brigadeiros) as well as coffees, juices and other beverages.
Products and their characteristics
The ice cream is basically an ice-cream-based dessert, which can be produced in the most varied flavors, depending on the other ingredients that will be added to the recipe, such as fruits, chocolate, essences, among others. Most of them contain sugar, flavorings and dyes.
Ice cream, in general, contains several nutrients, such as protein, vitamins A, D, E, K and complex B, and calcium, and is already part of the diet of Brazilians.
It is speculated that it originated in China, more than 3 thousand years. But it was at the end of the thirteenth century, in Italy, that ice cream was born similar to what we know today. Here in Brazil, he arrived only at 1834, in Rio de Janeiro.
Advantages and disadvantages
Perhaps the biggest disadvantage of having an ice cream shop is the seasonality of the business. In some places in Brazil, especially in the south of the country, you will have plenty of movement during the hottest months of the year, which is sometimes restricted to less than half the days.
That means you will need to make money in about five months, paying rent year-round. So you need to make your business extremely efficient and profitable in the summer, and keep a leaner and more efficient operation in the colder months.
However, depending on the geographical region where you plan to set up your ice cream shop, this seasonality may not make the least sense to you, especially if you live in the northern and northeastern states of Brazil. Then, in this case, your advantage is precisely to live in a tropical country, with heat year-round!
Another advantage of the ice cream shop is that you can start your business more modestly and expand as needed. So, at first, you do not need to invest big money, and you can go testing the market to see if you can grow your business.
The great challenge of the ice-cream market is called Innovation. Competition in the ice cream market is very fierce, especially since it is not just a specific type of establishment.
You can compete with large ice cream shops and large brands, with Italian gelato boutiques, the neighborhood's ice cream shop, the market, fast food chains, ice cream truck, popsicle cart and even establishments that sell similar, like açaí or frozen yogurt.
Therefore, your focus is to offer a differential, something that makes your customer choose you over the other competitors. This can be a committed and creative team, a cold-site ice cream shop that provides coffees and chocolates in the winter, a greater diversification of flavors, with ample turnover, so that your client finds new options and does not "enjoy" his options, besides numerous coverings and accompaniments.
However, more than that, the market is also demanding quality in terms of nutritional value. People are being willing to pay more for a product that is better.
The change in the consumption habits of the population has stimulated the investment in products healthier, with less sugar, for example, or produced entirely with natural ingredients. In addition, demands of restrictive diets such as gluten-free, lactose-free or vegan products also deserve attention.
Anyway, of course, none of this is good if you do not observe the basic care for the success of your ice cream shop - and any other company: quality of the goods, punctual delivery, fair price and good service.
Estimated Initial Capital
Like any other business, the initial investment for your ice cream shop will depend on the size of the establishment, the flow of people served, the quantity and variety of goods offered, and the geographical location where it will be installed.
It will also be preponderant to choose the type of business, ie if your company is a small industry producing ice cream, a resale of another brand or even a franchise, just to name a few.
For an ice cream shop of about 40m², Sebrae estimates that between 60 and 65 one thousand reais of starting capital are required. This amount would include furniture, working capital and initial raw material.
How to open an Ice Cream Parlor (step by step)
First of all, decide what kind of business you want to have. Is it an independent ice cream parlor? Handcrafted? Resale? Franchise? Is it an ice cream factory?
A small point of sale can be in a 35 m² store, with ice cream counter, tables and chairs and toilets.
An ice cream buffet requires a complete self-service structure, similar to a food buffet, but chilled.
A factory requires a larger space, with an area of production, storage, packaging and transportation. All complying strictly with current health laws.
Therefore, check your business model to determine the initial structure required. The Sebrae in your area can help you with this.
For you to decide where to put your ice cream shop, it will also depend on your business model. For example, if you want to have an ice cream truck, you can simply walk around wherever there are large populations, especially children.
If you're opening a store, make sure you're in an area with good traffic, high visibility, lots of light, and easy access to get in and out of the parking lot and store.
However, do not forget that you need a location that fits your budget. You may think that a downtown location is the best option for an ice cream parlor, because of the tons of people to stop just because they have seen their shop window.
However, if you are in a region where the seasonality is paramount, be sure that you are paying in the city center for the whole year, even when you may not receive customers.
It may be worth researching the areas that receive more people in the summer, near parks, open areas and sports zones, which may offer a cheaper commercial rate due to lower winter traffic. Do your math on that.
Your supply network also varies according to your type of establishment. If you are a franchisee or order your ice cream from a distributor, your main supplier will be the related distributor.
In addition to the ice cream itself, you will need supplies such as casks, baths, toppings and treats, as well as disposable items such as packaging, napkins and spades or spoons.
For manufacturing, you will need production equipment and all the raw material, such as milk, eggs, glucose, fruits, essences, fat, sugars, flavorings, dyes, emulsifiers, among others.
Like any other business, do not make the mistake of choosing your suppliers just by price. Remember that the loyalty of your customers is won by the quality of your product.
Then, evaluate the best cost benefit, observing origin, delivery times, payment terms, packaging and transportation. And do not forget: always have more than one supplier of each type as a partner. Relying on just one can be risky for your business.
How to Open a Company
If you want your store to receive the money and issue invoices, you must open your business legally. You can also read one step by step about opening a business. Here we will take advantage of the following main points:
- Creation of the Social Contract
- Registration at the Board of Trade
- Issuance of CNPJ and Choice of Activity
- Municipal and State Registration
- Operating Permits
Special Tips for New Businesses
Starting a new business is not only putting products on sale. As demonstrated, opening an ice cream parlor is not very complicated. However, only those who view their ice cream shop as a complete business will be able to survive and profit. So, I will list below some special tips for those who really want to undertake.
1) Define a SPECIFIC Customer Segment
There is no successful business that did not define well your area of expertise and your target customer. Do not fall into the error of speaking "Everyone is my clients", because this is the beginning of the end. Immerse yourself in this theme by reading our post market segmentation.
2) Create a Differentiation (Specialty)
By defining a specific segment, you'll be able to tweak your value offer by delivering something unique and memorable. For this, I recommend that you draw your Business model and also make your value curve!
3) Calculate the Expected Return on your Business
"Whoever does not make the bill pays the bill." This is a maxim in the business world. Without estimating your desired return and what potential your ice cream shop can bring, you will be adrift. For this you will need price your products very well and make a economic feasibility study of your project.
Ice Cream Spreadsheets
Spreadsheet for manufacturing ice cream: Worksheet for use of control of the own manufacturing, with its costs. You will have access to annual reports and monthly surveys of quantities and values destined for categories, as well as, graphs and rankings of all your production.
Restaurant Management and Costs Worksheet: Complete the management of your ice cream shop, from the registration of supplies, management of purchases and orders to financial control and inventory.
Prime Cost Sheet: Get to know your Prime Cost (or primary cost), one of the leading operating performance indexes for ice cream shops and restaurants. With it you easily discover whether you are keeping costs with controlled goods and labor or whether you need to reassess your financial management.