Maximize Profits of Your Ice Cream Shop Through Your Profit Centers

When we work with individuals who wish to open a retail ice cream shop, we begin with the menu. Many times the initial menu consists of ice cream, gelato, sundaes, milk shakes, etc. As the project progresses, we usually begin to define retail profit centers that include coffee, baked goods, sandwiches, crepes, and other items that make sense for the particular operation. These additional profit centers are an excellent way to balance out income opportunities throughout the day and within the various seasons of the year. The upfront definition and brainstorming that takes place during the planning start up phase is often underdeveloped as the project unfolds and after the store is open. It is easy to overlook the creative potential within the various sectors of our stores.

Our organization has helped many frozen dessert stores begin and been there to assist the owners as their businesses unfold. In December of last year, we opened Summerfield Creamery, our first ice cream retail store. As we have stepped into the management and operations of this venture, our eyes have really opened to both the challenges that our clients face as well as often overlooked opportunities. Whenever we have clients who come to our headquarters, we always visit our retail store. This has enabled us to keep a sharp eye on what we do as our new clients explore their dreams with our ice cream store being used as a model.

During the winter months, we sold a good amount of gelato and ice cream as well as specialty coffee, muffins, cake and pies. The reason we did so well with cold items in the cold months is that we are naturally in tune with frozen desserts since we have all lived most of our lives in this industry. We offered pumpkin flavor during Thanksgiving and candy cane flavors during Christmas. When warm weather arrived a month or so ago, the frozen desserts increased, the baked goods remained stable and the coffee side died. Why? We were not paying attention to the opportunities that were available in the unfolding season. Sure, people are not drawn to hot coffee as much as they are in cold weather. But they are interested in cold drinks such as frappes. It is important to remind your clients that these items are available. We have made signage and reminded our staff to make the suggestion.

Profit potential does not always have to be associated to the defined centers. Profit potential can lay with-in popular fads. For example, we offer fresh gelato style ice cream, sorbet and sherbets. The yogurt craze has swept the western states over the last few years has now made it to the eastern side of the country. There are a few yogurt shops springing up in our area that are doing well.

Another hot topic is local grown and the emphasis on reducing our carbon footprint. In response to these two evolving concepts, we developed a recipe for local grown strawberry, blueberry, peach and apple yogurt. What a hit! We visit the local farmers market, buy the fruit and take pictures of the farmers who grow the crop. Then we post these pictures and their stories alongside the yogurt. Our customers love the outcome and they buy.

If your concept includes a baked goods profit center, your menu should be visited as the seasons change. Heavier cakes and pies can be replaced with lighter feeling ones for spring and summer. For example, we have replaced our pecan pie with key lime and blueberry. Our hummingbird cake has now been replaced with coconut cream for the warmer seasons. Emphasizing fruit flavored cheese cake and other lighter feeling desserts are more appealing during hot periods of the year. Offer pairings as well that include specialty drinks and frozen treats alongside pies and cakes. As apple pie remains in demand, always offer to warm the pie and add a scoop of the customers favorite ice cream on top.

After many years in the frozen dessert business, I find it is easy to overlook opportunities and focus on routine. However, businesses that constantly monitor their operations, their menus and their clients’ desires are more successful. Listen to what is important in your community and explore ways of blending those important concepts inside your business. We all have regular customers and in addition to having that favorite place they can go and have a pleasant experience, they also enjoy new things that they may find in their familiar special place.

At The Sharp End Of Shopping For Knives – Some Blunt Advice

If you are a keen cook and enjoy preparing your food then you will certainly have a set of knives which you use regularly, and you may well have your favourites. You might also watch in admiration as the chefs on television seem to slice away at ingredients as though it was some kind of magic trick, and it seems impossible to believe that we could ever manage to prepare our ingredients as quickly, or as neatly.

If, when you try to cut a tomato you simply end up with a puddle of juice and two ragged skins, or when you slice bread you end up with the loaf either half the height it start or a slice of bread that might just as well have been ripped off than cut, then it may well be your knives which are to blame.

Effective knives are an absolute must, and make a huge difference to the ease and effectiveness of your cooking. Indeed, it is very often the fact that people are put off cooking for themselves as a direct result of their assumptions or experiences with the fiddly preparation of the ingredients, and yet all that would be necessary to make the process so much easier would be a set of good knives.

Of course, as with anything, you get what you pay for, and paying good money for quality knives will make a terrific difference. If you struggle with your knives at home, then buying one or two really good quality ones will open your eyes to the ease that they glide through food and the speed with which you are able to slice, dice and chop.

There are plenty of knife sets on the market, and you could easily go and buy a full set. However, if money is an issue, and paying two or three hundred pounds for a set of knives seems like a lot, then perhaps instead you might contemplate buying just one or two knives at a time. Not only is that easy, but you can choose which ones to have, since often the full sets of knives include ones you’re less likely to use. In fact, just two or three knives are all most people need to carry out the general tasks.

The most important knife to get is usually called a chef’s knife, and is the most widely used and most versatile knife, used for slicing, dicing, chopping and mincing. The blade on a chef’s knife is usually about six to twelve inches in length, and will be used for preparing vegetables mostly. The important thing to look for is a comfortable handle because this will be used more than any other knife, and if you cook everyday, then it will be used every day.

The next most important knife will be small paring knife. The blades on these are only usually about two to four inches, and they are used mainly for preparing fruits and vegetables, particularly the more fiddly tasks such as peeling and coring.

The third and final knife which you should consider essential is a serrated one, with a blade about seven to ten inches, this will be ideal for cutting and slicing anything which has a hard outside and a soft inside, such as bread, tomatoes and peaches.

Although there are many other types, these three should be considered essential, and if you only ever buy three knives, make sure it’s these. Your cooking will never be the same again!

Get More Value From Your Grocery Shopping With Manufacturer Grocery Coupons!

Most of us receive more than our fair share of junk mail, right? Don’t include those packets of manufacturer grocery coupons in the discard pile! Aside from your mailbox, there are a few other places you’ll find these manufacturer coupons for food savings. If you subscribe to your local daily newspaper, watch for the grocery sale fliers, usually inserted in the Tuesday or Wednesday editions. If you don’t subscribe to a newspaper, it’s worth buying that edition that contains the sales fliers. Another resource for grocery coupons is your supermarket. Food companies are all vying with their competition for their fair share of the market, so they put their coupons right where their product is found in the grocery aisle, dispensed from brightly-colored plastic cases that stick out from the shelf adjacent to the product. You can take as many as you like. Yet another resource for these money-saving goodies may be found in groceries that have coupon exchange bins. It works like this: you buy a lot of soups, while another shopper prefers to make her own soups, but enjoys a variety of jams and jellies. She puts in her canned soup coupons, which you’re free to take. You seldom buy jams and jellies, contributing those manufacturer grocery coupons to the coupon exchange bin. It’s a win-win for everyone! Now, let’s take a look at how to make the best use of these budget helpers.

When the economy was a bit more robust, we tended to regard coupons as more trouble than they were worth. Today, manufacturer grocery coupons are well worth taking a few minutes to sort through. It’s just like getting cash in your mailbox. Now that’s an incentive! Let’s go through the process of quickly and effectively putting a little more cash in your wallet and realizing a significantly lower bill at the checkout. The trick to the biggest savings involves just a few simple ‘rules’.

1. Don’t be tempted to buy a product you seldom use just because you’ve got a coupon. For example, you may spot a coupon for breakfast cereal which may be redeemed for $1 at the check stand. If you don’t normally eat breakfast cereal (although you may think you should), chances are good it will go stale before you consume it. No savings there.

2. You’ve got a few manufacturer grocery coupons for a national brand can of peaches. You love peaches. The catch here? The price of these peaches, after using the coupon, is more than the regular price of the store brand you always buy. Here, you’re actually spending more!

3. Here’s another trick frequently used by some supermarket chains: they’ll print manufacturer grocery coupons and include them in their weekly sales page, with a minor addition which goes something like this: ‘this coupon only redeemable at XYZ (their) store’. Don’t fall for this one. It simply isn’t true. A manufacturer grocery coupon is issued by the manufacturer and may be redeemed at any store which sells their product. This bit of trickery is usually used because the particular store’s regular retail price is substantially more than their competitor’s price, which effectively devalues your savings.

4. Most manufacturer grocery coupons have an expiration date that’s a few months down the road. Let’s say you use butter only when you can afford it. You may find one of those dispensers with a coupon for 75 cents off each pound. You can freeze butter, so get several coupons you can use over time. Butter is one of those items that always seems to go up during the winter months, so this strategy can really help you trim that budget. Coffee is another such product.

5. Keep your manufacturer grocery coupons organized in a section of your wallet or coupon saver wallet, using a ‘tickler’ strategy. This way, you’ll have those coupons set to expire soon at the front, so you won’t miss those valuable savings.

Armed with these tips and your manufacturer grocery coupons, you’ll find that you’ll save a lot of money on every shopping trip! Now that’s welcome news!