millieb
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Artisanal Gelato Shop

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I am considering opening an artisanal gelato shop in my neighborhood and want to know: is this the type of place where you would consider becoming a customer? Why or why not? Here is more information about myself, my idea, and my neighborhood:

  • Making artisanal gelato is in my blood. My grandparents owned a gelato shop in their town in Italy, and my grandmother taught me how to make gelato when I was a child. Our family specialty is Italian herb gelato: flavors like basil, rosemary, thyme, etc.
  • I have never opened a restaurant or gelato shop before, but I’m a hard worker, and I am excited to give my all into making this work
  • My shop would include Italian herb gelato flavors, as well as traditional flavors like vanilla and chocolate
  • I would plan to price my gelato a bit more expensive than neighboring ice cream shops, as my ingredients would be more premium and more expensive. In my neighborhood, one scoop of ice cream on a cone goes for about $4, and I would price mine around $4.50-5.50
  • I live in Brooklyn, NYC in a heavily-populated, family-friendly neighborhood. The area has been rapidly gentrifying, and the population tends towards millennials/Gen-X and their families

What do you think? Should I open this gelato shop?

8 Comments

  1. I’m a restaurant owner, and I’m happy to share some advice. Kudos to you for thinking about all of this upfront before opening the shop. Here’s the basic advice I’d tell any aspiring restaurant/dessert place owner to follow for success.

    1. Your story and your branding is everything. “Family owned, Italian gelato shop” has a great ring to it. Share your grandparents’ story with customers and even lean into it when naming your gelato. Customers will connect with your story and return.

    2. Build on your branding by partnering with local publications and bloggers to see if they can write a piece on your shop. I suggest offering to sit down with them, telling them your story, and having them try a sampling of your gelato. Once they write the piece, publicize it within your friends, family, and neighborhood.

    3. Think critically about the hours you’re open. No need to stay open at all times, but optimize for peak times, like the after-school rush, after-dinner rush, etc. Think about something like 2:30 – 10:30pm, and then you’re done. Prep the ice cream earlier in the day, and keep your crew as small as you can.

    4. Plan your ice cream flavors around common ingredients– nothing wrong with starting with a small menu and building from there. Start with 10, 20 ingredients and see what you can make from there. Inventory management matters, and you don’t want leftovers that you only used to make one flavor.

    5. Don’t think so much about cost. Your success will be because of the spin and story around your shop and not the 50 cents extra a scoop. Dessert tends to be something folks will pay a bit more for, and you can use that to get better margins.

    Best of luck with this, and feel free to email me if you have specific questions.

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  2. I live in an area just like the one you mention, and I think an ice cream shop like the one you describe would fit in perfectly. I’ve also noticed people in my neighborhood aren’t too price-sensitive. They care more about the experience than about the price tag, and I think the story you shared would lead to a lot of interest in that kind of a neighborhood.

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  3. SO cute. I love this idea. I also wonder if you’re doing more herbal flavors if you could spin this as more of a healthy ice cream experience? Not sure if you want to go that angle. Like low sugar, less dairy, etc.

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  4. Hi Millieb,

    I applaud you for starting a business! I received some very helpful advice on my Sourdough Crackers business which was to start slow and grow. Maybe you can consider a similar approach? Find ways to increase batch sizes, perfect recipes, and start selling in smaller contexts to see what works and what doesn’t. I heard NYC has a rich food truck culture, which I wish we had more of in Maine! That could be an exciting way to test out your product in small batches to a defined group of folks in a good place.

    Sincerely,

    Weston

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