I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream. Indeed Americans of all ages go crazy for the stuff, and although health-conscious palates are turning to more nourishing foods it seems people are reluctant to give up this tasty frozen treat.
With that in mind savvy entrepreneurs could make significant profits with an ice cream franchise. They could also find a great deal of satisfaction in running their own small business with their family.
Interesting Ice-cream Facts!
- July is the national month for ice-cream. National ice-cream day is celebrated on the 15th of June every year. (The International Ice-cream Association);
- The US ice-cream industry generates $21 billion dollars in ice-cream sales every year;
- 1.55 billion gallons of ice-cream was produced in 2006: "an increase of 0.7% over 2005". (Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture)
- Top five individual flavors by consumers in the US are: "vanilla (30%), chocolate (10%), butter pecan (4%), strawberry (3.7%) and chocolate chip mint (3.2%)". (Source: The NPD Group's National Eating Trends Services);
- Total sales of ice cream and frozen desserts reached nearly $23 billion in 2006. (Source: 2007 Dairy Facts/International Ice Cream Association)
Why invest in an ince-cream franchise?
As long as you have a good head for business, a customer-focused attitude and a wilingness to work hard, virtually anyone can set up their own ice cream van business. Among the main advantages of investing in a franchise is benefiting from an established brand name and strong marketing support, making it easier to get the business up and running and making profits fast.
One of the great benefits of investing in an ice cream van franchise in particular, as opposed to an ice cream parlor for example, is that the costs are significantly lower. While the product is essentially the same, franchisees are not burdened with the cost of a venue and additional equipment. The only cost will be the van, the stock, and any extra staff that may be needed. The van will, of course, need to be serviced regularly, but this will come at less of a price than running a restaurant.
And the other great thing about owning a mobile franchise is that franchisees can move the business to the customers rather than the customers having come to them. So at peak summer times van owners can park at the beach or the local park, while in the cooler months they can drive from street to street after families have eaten lunch and are ready for dessert.
Flexibility is a great enticement for many aspiring entrepreneurs who look to invest in an ice cream franchise. Franchisees who work doubly hard during the summer may find they can afford a few months off during the winter. Indeed, there is no set schedule, and franchisees can work where they want, when they want, so long as they are making satisfactory profits.
While location choice isn't such a major consideration with an ice cream van franchise as it would be with a shop-based business, choosing what kind of products to sell is very important.
Consumers are no longer satisfied with a typical vanilla cone and are demanding new flavors, tasty toppings and innovative ways of serving up the ice cream. Therefore franchisees must consider carefully whether they wish to sell kiddies' ice-lollies, sophisticated sundaes or wacky ice cream bowls full of smashed up sweets and flavored syrups, finding a franchiser who specializes in their particular favorite.
Running an ice cream van business demands lots of self-motivation and hard work, often during weekends and holidays when demand is highest. But for those who have the will to succeed it can be both a lucrative career option and a satisfying lifestyle choice, particularly for families where everyone gets involved.