India is a land of tropical weather; with summers being the longest weather in the country. Thus, in niche food businesses, the Ice Cream business seems to be the most lucrative.
Over the last couple of years, ice cream parlor business has seen some rapid innovation. Earlier roadside carts were common among the people and were frequented by mostly children and youngsters. Nowadays, the concept of ice cream parlors is fast gaining popularity, where people can enjoy ice cream at leisure. The reason behind this changing trend is clear – one is the increasing disposable income of the middle-class family and secondly, the west culture is influencing the consumer habits. These macro and micro economic factors make the ice cream business more viable and profitable in present times.
In this particular article, we will take you through the step-by-step guide on how to start you own ice cream parlor. Unlike other formats, the market is a very niche for this particular product and format. However, if done carefully and getting few things right, you can make your ice cream business a runaway success.
Formats of Ice Cream Parlor
In present time there a lot of ice cream formats from cold stone, Ice cream rolls, ice cream cakes, Nitrogen ice cream, live ice cream counters and pre-packed ice cream counters there are endless. So, the first step it is choosing which type of ice cream parlor you want to open.
Ice Cream Delivery- Food delivery has become quite a rage these days, and can also be a profitable business model for ice cream parlors if done smartly. Ensure that you provide your delivery boy with ice boxes equipped with dry ice. This would keep the ice cream chilled and solid for a decent amount of time, and prevent spoiling. You can get three layers of dry ice for a meager Rs 30 per day.
Investments & Area Required for an Ice-cream Store
On average, an ice cream parlor requires a 400-500 SqFt carpet area shop or a small food truck which has the necessary arrangements for refrigeration. In both the cases, the average investment required is between Rs 5 lakhs and 10 lakhs depending upon the ambiance and sitting area you want to create. High-end ice cream parlors can require investment up to 15 lakh. Apart from that, one has to look for a market or catchment area where there is high footfall and people are ready to splurge.
Eating ice-cream is not a necessity unlike another form of food, but it is more of fun and fashion in the crowd. So, a proper market research should be done before choosing the location. An Ice cream truck being a movable property can experiment at different areas before finalizing the location.
For an ice cream parlor, availability of the parking space is extremely important. Purchasing ice cream is usually an impulse decision by customers, therefore, the ice cream parlor should be easily accessible, and have ample parking space.
Procurement of Store types of equipment With Respect to the Menu
Once the format and location are finalized, list down the number of items you want to sell at your store. Then compare it with competition around and keep the pricing the low initially in order to penetrate in the market and distribute free samples. Based on the menu, decide what all kitchen equipment you want to procure and then divide the list into two parts one which items which you want to buy new and other which can procure as used or old or the equipment which has less impact on your quality and ambiance.
List of Equipment and number of Employees required
For a Cold stone ice cream parlor, the list of equipment (With a rough estimation )
- Cold stone refrigerator (Rs 2-2.5 lakhs)
- Chest Refrigerator with capacity of 500L (Rs 40,000)
- Storage cupboards and utensils (Rs 30,000)
- Raw materials including packaging (Rs 1-1.5 lakhs)
- Miscellaneous (Rs 50,000).
For an ice-cream parlor, power backup is indispensable, as the prime way wastage in an ice cream parlor happens when the ice cream melts. A good refrigerator can preserve the ice cream for a good two hours, but if there is a power outage for longer hours, then you are in for trouble. Therefore, remember to invest in a good noiseless generator. You can get this under Rs 1 lakh.
Number of Employees
In this particular format, the number of employees required is very less as you just need three people including cashier to serve or to make a particular flavor of the ice cream. One of the uniqueness in this format is that you don't need a proper Chef or Bar Tender whose salaries are way too high.
Anybody can learn how to make a particular style of ice cream with a little training so no skilled labor is required. The salary in this format may lie between Rs 30-40k depending upon the soft skills of the employees.
One thing that is an absolute must for the ice cream business is consistency in taste. Whether you have one ice cream parlor or a chain of outlets, you must ensure the same taste and quality in ice cream portion that you sell.
Standardization of recipes is a must in ice cream parlors. If you have multiple outlets, then you must make efficient use of Central Kitchen Management, which ensures easy distribution of your products from the base kitchen to different outlets. Use a specific Point of Sales software that includes this feature, and also helps you manage your inventory apart from the regular billing operations.
Licensing and Paperwork
Since ice cream comes under the food category so all the licenses required are quite similar to that of a QSR – Shop establishment licenses, FSSAI licenses, Local Municipal Authority license and Fire license.
In all of this, an expense of Rs 50,000 is incurred. It is always advisable to take help of a consultancy to get all the required licenses. since it is very time taking the process and you can concentrate on other areas of business.
Since ice-cream is usually consumed as a dessert item, the prime time of ice cream sales is 9 PM onwards. Therefore, get the license to keep your ice cream parlor open till at least 1 AM for late-night operations.
Lastly, the ice cream business completely depends on the unique flavors you sell, right pricing and high-footfall market.
Inputs taken from Hemant Jain, MD, Goosebumps Ice Cream