Business ideas
15 min read

10+ Best & Profitable Ice Cream Shop Business Ideas in 2023

The ice cream industry is a popular sector of the foodservice industry, with frozen treats becoming increasingly sought after. As people’s lives become busier and more hectic, the demand for convenient, easily accessible treats is on the rise. With that in mind, ice cream shop businesses have become an extremely profitable venture, and many entrepreneurs are looking to cash in on the trend. If you’re looking to get into the ice cream business, read on for a list of our 10+ best and most profitable ice cream shop business ideas for 2023. From no-brainers like cones and sundaes to new innovations like vegan frozen desserts and bubble waffles, these ideas are sure to draw in customers and make your shop stand out against competitors. With creative planning, marketing strategies and careful execution of your chosen concept, you can ensure a successful launch of your business.

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Updated on:
April 2, 2023
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Table of Contents:

Our List of 10+ Best Ice Cream Shop Business Ideas:

1. Ice Cream Truck.

A Ice cream truck is an ice cream business on wheels, typically selling premade ice cream products like ice cream cones, sundaes, and milkshakes. It's a great business idea because it has the following advantages:

  • Flexible – Ice cream trucks can operate anywhere there is a demand.
  • Low Overhead Costs – Operating an Ice Cream truck typically has lower overhead costs than running a stationary store.
  • Low Start-up Costs – The cost of buying and operating an Ice Cream truck is lower than opening a fixed location.
  • Portable – An Ice Cream truck can easily move to different locations without having to invest in new equipment.

2. Soft Serve Store.

A soft serve store is a type of ice cream shop serving soft serve ice cream, frozen yogurt, and ice cream sundaes. Soft serve stores offer an affordable treat to bring smiles to customers' faces, no matter the weather or season. Here are some reasons why a soft serve store would make a good business idea:

  • Quick setup and lower cost compared to conventional ice cream shops
  • Tasty treats that customers can enjoy year-round
  • Potential for long-term growth through franchise opportunities
  • Option to offer various types of ice cream flavors and toppings
  • Opportunity to offer mobile services for special events such as birthday parties or school fundraisers

3. Gourmet Ice Cream Shop.

A gourmet ice cream shop is a business that specializes in high-end, artisanal varieties of frozen desserts. It appeals to customers who are looking for premium ice cream that has unique flavors and ingredients not available at traditional ice cream retailers. Gourmet Ice Cream Shops offer a range of flavors, both classic and innovative, providing customers with a unique experience and a fun way to indulge in their favorite treat. Here are some reasons why this could make a good business idea:

  • High-end ice cream has higher profit margins than traditional varieties.
  • It caters to a niche audience of customers who are willing to pay more for premium varieties.
  • There is potential for expansion should the business become successful.
  • It provides an enjoyable experience that customers can't get elsewhere.

4. Farm-Based Ice Cream Stand.

A Farm-based ice cream stand is an ice cream stand that is located on a farm and is operated using ingredients produced on the farm. This type of business would make a great opportunity for entrepreneurs who are looking to combine their passion and commitment for farming with a unique and profitable business idea. Here are some of the benefits of opening a Farm-based ice cream stand:

  • Grow, harvest, and utilize high-quality ingredients
  • Support local farming initiatives
  • Provide customers with organic, locally produced products
  • Drive foot traffic to your farm, opening up new marketing opportunities
  • Provide an opportunity to diversify your agricultural operation

5. Artisanal Ice Cream Shop.

An artisanal ice cream shop is a business idea that involves making, packaging and selling freshly handcrafted ice cream. Artisanal ice cream shops are becoming increasingly popular due to the wide selection of high-quality flavors, natural ingredients, and creative presentation techniques they offer. These kinds of shops provide customers with something unique, compared to the large chain stores that sell mass-produced ice cream products. Here are some reasons why an artisanal ice cream shop can make a good business idea:

  • High-quality ingredients
  • Wide variety of flavors
  • Creative presentation techniques
  • Unique product offering
  • Potential for high margin returns

6. Home-Based Ice Cream Business.

A Home-based ice cream business is a business where customers can purchase ice cream products made from an individual or family in their home. It can be a great business idea for those looking to start a small business with limited overhead costs and the potential for large profits. Some benefits of starting a Home-based ice cream business include:

  • No need to rent a commercial space or invest in store fixtures.
  • Lower initial startup costs compared to an ice cream store.
  • You are the boss, so you control your own schedule and have more freedom than working for someone else.
  • You can sell directly to your customers and avoid costly fees associated with middlemen.
  • Opportunity to create unique flavors not found in any store.

7. Ice Cream Catering Service.

A ice cream catering service is a business that provides catering services that involve the serving of ice cream and other associated treats, such as ice cream bars, cones, and toppings. This type of business can be a great business idea because:

  • It is something unique and memorable, which will make sure that customers remember the event.
  • It is affordable - Ice cream catering can be done on a variety of budgets.
  • It is a fun treat for everyone - Ice cream catering can add a fun and exciting element to any event.
  • It’s an attractive, cost-effective way to provide refreshments at an event.

8. Ice Cream Bar Or Café.

An ice cream bar or cafe is a great business idea because it offers customers a wide variety of delicious, frozen treats in one convenient spot. Customers can choose from an array of frozen desserts including ice cream, gelato, sorbet, and frozen yogurt. Each product can be customized to meet the customer's preference, such as adding their favorite topping, syrup, or sprinkle. There are plenty of reasons why an ice cream bar or cafe would make a good business idea:

  • It brings together a variety of sweet treats in one location.
  • It allows customers to customize their desserts.
  • It is relatively easy to set up and manage.
  • It is a high margin product that can generate great profits.
  • It is a popular treat that appeals to all ages and genders.

9. Pop-Up Ice Cream Cart.

A Pop-up Ice cream cart is a convenient and fun way to provide customers with delicious ice cream. As a business idea, starting an ice cream cart can be profitable and rewarding. Here are some of the benefits of starting a pop-up ice cream cart business:

  • Low startup cost – You can start a pop-up ice cream cart for as little as $1,000.
  • High profit margin – The cost of producing each unit of ice cream is very low and the profits are high.
  • Flexibility – A pop-up ice cream cart can be set up anywhere and operate for a few hours at a time or on a regular schedule.
  • Customers love it – Ice cream is always a crowd pleaser and people will always come back for more.
  • High demand – Ice cream is an incredibly popular treat and there will always be potential customers looking for an ice cream fix.

10. Franchise-Based Ice Cream Shop.

A Franchise-based ice cream shop is a business model in which a business purchases the rights to use the franchisor’s name, business model, and product offerings to open and operate an ice cream shop. This type of business can be a great opportunity for entrepreneurs seeking a low-cost opportunity to launch an ice cream business. Here are some of the benefits of a Franchise-based ice cream shop:

  • Lower startup costs: A franchise offers access to a tried-and-true business model that minimizes the amount of capital required to start and operate an ice cream shop.
  • Increased exposure: The recognition of the franchisor’s brand name provides a much larger reach than what could be achieved by an independent shop.
  • Added support and guidance: The franchisor provides training and guidance on how to operate the business while also providing support with marketing, finance, and other areas.
  • Reliable product supply: Franchises typically have agreements in place with suppliers that provide access to quality ingredients at reasonable prices.
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Successful Examples of Ice Cream Shop Businesses:

Ice cream is a popular treat during the hot summer months, making the ice cream shop business an attractive and profitable industry. Below is a list of successful companies in this industry:

  • Ben & Jerry’s
  • Baskin-Robbins
  • Cold Stone Creamery
  • Dairy Queen/Orange Julius
  • Carvel Ice Cream Shop
  • Friendly’s Ice Cream Shop
  • Häagen-Dazs
  • Marble Slab Creamery
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