Where should I open?
Ice cream shops do well near schools, movie theaters, in busy plazas. The key to a successful location is the ease of access and foot traffic. You want to make sure the location you are going into has visibility and accessibility to be a convenient stop for your customers. The reason this is so important is that the average ticket sale at an ice cream shop will be around $5 -6 dollars. This is much lower than the average restaurant. With a lower expected average, the number of customers must be larger to produce enough total revenue. The upside is while the average ticket is lower, the profit margin is much higher.
Most ice cream shops when adding up the machines, freezers, display cabinets, etc use a lot of power. Usually, a 400amp breaker box is adequate, unless you are planning to have more than a couple of machines. In that case, make sure you have availability to run the full amount of equipment you envision. When selecting a location you must know if you have 1 phase or 3 phase power. 1 phase is available everywhere however if you have 3 phase available use it. The machines come in both options but 3 phase is more power efficient along with more reliable. This is due to fewer starting components susceptible to failure.
Depending on what your store will specialize in, you may be required to run water lines to your ice cream machine, Water for cooling is much more efficient and will keep your store cooler in summer months. Larger machines with high capacity put out a lot of heat, especially when you have several of them running together. We recommend using water-cooled machines with a glycol chiller system to recycle the water in those situations. In cases where water is not an option, we do have air-cooled variants available.
Many locations are hidden gems and do well, while this does happen. We do not recommend it. The building has a limit by the city on how big and where signage can go, however, there are other ways to improve this. Having a trailer in the parking lot seen by the main road with graphics on the side or small real estate yard signs can help get your visibility up while you are building your initial clientele. We also suggest depending on the location having young folks hand out samples of your product to people walking by, increasing exposure by putting your product in their mouth. No advertising material can match or describe a taste. Samples are essential.