For most ice cream shop owners across the country operating a store is a seasonal business. Therefore every spring owners are tasked with re-opening there store for another season. Which means owners have a whole slew of issues and concerns they need to address before actually opening the store. So, before you even begin to get things ready from an operational standpoint, use this ice cream shop checklist for spring openings to review the seasonal success drivers of your shop.
One of the most important factors in the success of your ice cream shop is pricing. If you haven’t raised your prices from previous years or aren’t considering a price increase from last year, then this is the year to do it. Increase prices. No one knows your customers better than you and there is no doubt you pride yourself on a quality product and great customer service. Your product and service is what separates you from your competition, therefore your prices should not be based on what your competitor is doing. Quality products demand a better price and customers who understand that do not hesitate paying a little extra for it. There’s a concern by many shop owners that increasing prices will decrease the amount of customers. Truth be told, if you increase your prices by only a little bit each season the customer may not even notice or remember what they paid last year. A couple of cent increase per product could have a tremendous impact on your bottom line. Think about it, if you increase a milkshake price by just a quarter then that 25 cent increase will add up to an even bigger number by the end of the season. The longer you’ve been in business the more reference points you should have on determining the right price points. Use the previous years data to gain insight. People will complain about price no matter what (even if you don’t increase the price). If you feel that you’re losing customers because of price then it’s time to look at another area of your operation because the price is not the factor that is driving them away.
Another important factor before you open for the season is to have a plan in place for ongoing marketing during the season. Hopefully you have a marketing plan or calendar implemented for your business that you refer to and execute every month. If you don’t, then contact us and we can help you do that. This marketing plan or calendar will help you get a jump on things and keep you from scrambling when it comes to drumming up new business. This means your constantly posting videos and promotions to all of your social media accounts, your getting involved with and attending community events and you’re taking advantage of holidays to run specials in your store. If you have a plan, your chances for success greatly increase. Though this just skims the surface when it comes to marketing your ice cream shop, the good news is that we can help you with other channels of success when it comes to getting your name out there.
The equipment is the lifeline of your shop and without quality equipment, your product and store will suffer. There’s a reason the most successful ice cream shops across the globe use Electro Freeze machines – because they produce a great product and they run forever with the proper maintenance. We’ve discussed this before in earlier blogs on why having the right equipment makes all the difference and how you should never compromise when it comes to buying equipment. This is common sense but all your equipment should be thoroughly cleaned and serviced before the season begins. If one of your machines goes down, even for just an hour, it can have a profound effect on your business. Make sure the machines are running efficiently and at the proper temperatures so as to eliminate wasteful spending. Do a quick audit and make sure you have important replacement parts in stock in case a machine does go down and you have your service company’s number available to employees at all times. We cannot stress enough about how much of an impact the right machines and properly maintained machines have on the bottom line of your business.
Lastly, make sure your store is visually appealing to the customer. Your store should always be clean and inviting to customers. The overall layout and appearance of a store will have a tremendous impact on the customers mind. The store should be properly branded and instantly recognizable. The branding should be carried through all channels of the store including the color scheme and logos printed on your takeout products, cups and napkins. The colors, logos and fonts should always be the same and be carried out through all marketing aspects discussed above as well.
By using this ice cream shop checklist for spring openings you’ll avoid any pitfalls that occur during the early months of the season and set yourself up for success for the summer months. If you need any help, please don’t hesitate to contact us.