Every entrepreneur reaches a stage when his or her business idea starts having a life of its own. This is a great and a scary place to be.
This article is going to give you all the information you need to know to start your very own Gelateria or add Gelato as an add-on product to take your existing food business to the next level.
Why Should You Even Start a Gelato Business?
Did you know that the global gourmet ice cream is forecasted to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12 percent by 2021? And, with Gelato accounting for over 70 percent of the market share in 2016, the demand is only expected to go up!
Falling under the $14 Billion Ice Cream Industry, Gelato was seen first in the late 1990s but did not really take-off until the early 2000s. The significant increase in niche brands followed by the immediate success of food delivery businesses is a clear indication that the artisanal food market is booming. So much, that the supply is actually struggling to keep up.
Such trends have become a clear indication that there is definitely a distinct market of customers who are willing to pay more for premium quality ice cream treats, and what better product to offer than Gelato?
In order to set up your very own Gelateria, here are the 4 key aspects that you as the business owner need to get hold of.
1. Get the Fundamentals Right - Take-up a Vocational Course in Gelato Production
Gelato is made with a base of milk, cream, sugar and is flavored with fruit & nut purees (and other flavorings). It is usually lower in fat than regular ice cream, contains less air and more flavoring than most of the kinds of frozen desserts, giving it a density & richness that clearly differentiates it from regular ice cream.... Did you know all of that?
Well, as the business owner it goes without say that you need to have an ample amount of experience in Gelato Production, Service, Management and the industry as a whole. And, taking up a vocational course in Gelato from an internationally recognised and accredited institution goes a long way in paving success.
For example, The ICCA – Carpigiani Gelato University Dubai is an official international partner of Carpigiani Gelato University – Bologna, Italy and is recognized as the most prestigious Gelato School in the World for Artisan Gelato and is renowned to produce the most number of Gelato entrepreneurs, the world over.
The Gelato Base Program at The ICCA Dubai is designed for the aspiring Gelato Professional, having no knowledge or experience in Gelato.
Taking up a vocational course in Gelato will equip you with the industry focused approach and the right set of knowledge from production to serving a superior-tasting Gelato to your customers.
2. Flavoring & Samples
When starting a Gelateria, the smartest way to go about is usually to start with a variety of flavors. But, not too many of course. A diversity of 15-20 flavors can be just perfect. Over time, you can weed out the ones that are less popular with your customers.
Furthermore, offer samples of your products whenever and wherever possible as though the success of your Gelato business depends on it, because it does! They are a great way to hook people and reel them into becoming customers. They key is to focus on getting people hooked on a particular taste which only your business provides and is unparalleled to anyone else in the market.
3. Promoting The Business
Although ‘word-of-mouth’ is the best form of promotion of any business, try to make sure that you have a proper inauguration ceremony of your business, attract as much attention as possible and share free scoops in events and functions.
You can also look into creating a professional website for your business. This way you will even be able to take orders online, giving your customers the convenience of ordering from home and giving you the opportunity to charge a premium for it!
Customer retention is one of the most important aspects of any food business and the key to which is ‘consistency’. It is done by delivering the best possible product and service, at all times, be it in person, over the phone or even online.
Learning to retain your customers will go a long way in promoting your business with the most powerful marketing channel there is; word-of-mouth.
4. Understanding The Costs Involved & Pricing Strategy
The costs involved in a Gelato business are fairly simple and to-the-point. Mainly, there is the Location costs (rents), Licenses & Permits, Insurances, Equipment Costs, Salaries and the Ingredients costs. You will need to come up with optimum prices for each of your food business’ menu items and keep them in line to ensure you have a realistic profit margin in place.
Although the profits of a Gelato business really come down to the business owner and how well-versed he/she is in the food business, typically it also depends on the location and the pricing strategy formulated keeping in mind all the expenses incurred such as ingredients costs, salaries and equipment maintenance costs.
When it comes to deciding on the price of the products, the thumb-rule of Gelato business is for you to charge at least 3 times the cost price of the ingredients. For example, if a scoop costs you $1, the price at which you would be able to sell it would be no less than $3. Add-on some specialty products and fancy amenities and you should be able to charge even more.