Getting ready to close up your business for the winter months?
Let's face the facts...Are you still paying for rent and utilities over the winter? Would you like to have some kind of income to help offset these fixed costs? Do you still have leftover toppings, cones, and mix? Are you interested in improving your business next season?
Don't let the winter doldrums deprive your customers of your products...or you from a money-making opportunity. Here are a few suggestions to stay OPEN year-round and get ahead of your competition come the Spring.
1. Partner with other businesses
Form business partnerships with year-round venues. Supply local restaurants with specialty batch-made flavors for their dessert-loving customers. You get the sale, and they get the bragging rights for unique offerings to their menu. Winter-operating ski resorts and ice skating rinks would be prime candidates to provide your product to active & hungry customers.
2. Use social media
Post mouth-watering images of your delicious frozen concoctions. Give customers a reason to leave their houses. People crave tasty treats and eat ALL YEAR LONG…not just in the summer. Keep your business name and products “top-of-mind”, so when the weather heats up, your business will be the first place they think of for dessert.
3. Serve good ice cream
The demand for premium ice cream has increased over the past few years. Don’t skimp on the milkfat percentage of your ice cream mix, and use only quality toppings and bases. One bad mouthful can spoil a whole batch of repeat customers.
4. Focus on hot beverages
Hot beverages will be one of your best sellers in the winter. (Check out our recipe blog for hot cocoa made from ice cream mix.) When its cold outside, people want something that warms up their bodies and their spirits. Serve hot chocolate, freshly brewed coffee, and maybe even soup. Afterward, your customers will be ready for the main course: ice cream.
5. People eat with their eyes
Set up fresh, creative and colorful displays, sculptures, or paintings dedicated to all things frozen dessert. (Think… life-sized cow, or giant ice cream cone, or Santa eating a sundae.) Nothing says publicity like shared social media posts or selfies in front of your cool display.
6. Sell other desserts
Offer year-round favorites like cookies, cakes and pies. You can use your damaged bake-goods as inclusions or toppings in your ice cream, while keeping your customers coming to you year-round for the non-frozen desserts that survive your handling. (Ala Mode is a wonderful thing!) Most recipes require similar ingredients regardless of the temperature of the final product.
7. Decorate the exterior of your store
Embrace the holiday season by putting up signs and banners with festive colors. Complement the decorations with music that reflects the holiday season. All of this will attract people walking by and entice them to sample a bit of the Holiday spirit inside your store with a delicious dish of a seasonal flavored dessert. (See next tip below…)
8. Offer unique holiday flavors
People look forward to limited edition winter holiday flavors. Feature eggnog, peppermint candy cane, frozen hot cocoa, & “vanilla fruit-cake”. Test market a new flavor for the warm weather with a “Summer vacation in a dish”, especially after REALLY cold or snowy weather. Develop fun advertising or social-media worthy visuals to create awareness and demand.
9. Have good Wi-Fi
Create the same kind of atmosphere with your ice cream shop as you see in coffee shops. Fast internet access is a must, especially for students and those who need to work remotely from home. While they are sitting there, they will just have to eat a dish or two! If you also offer hot beverages, soup and other non-frozen desserts, you will max out your multiple sales.
10. Cater to customers on the go
Not everyone wants to eat ice cream in their cars or on your outdoor picnic benches in the winter. Some customers would rather eat ice cream within the comfort of their own homes. Make it easy for them by selling ice cream by the pint, as a 3 or 6 pack ice cream sandwich kit, ice cream cakes, or popsicles. Be sure you have the right “To Go” packaging to facilitate the process.
Gil's Wholesale Distributors
322 W Oak Lane Glenolden PA 19073
Gil’s Wholesale Distributors/ Gil's Ice Cream Supplies is a family owned Pennsylvania based full service distributor with over 40 years of providing personalized service & product expertise for wholesale tobacco, cigars, cigarettes & tobacco related products, ice cream, Italian Ice, Gelato & frozen dessert manufacturing supplies, convenience store products, paper & plastic items, candy, concession, automotive and janitorial products.
Located 10 minutes from the Philadelphia International Airport, our delivery area is PA, NJ, and DE and we ship throughout the U.S. and abroad by common carrier, as well as offer convenient Pick Up services at our customer-friendly showroom. FREE Parking!
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