Gelato makers cannot just improvise. The artisan gelato market is extremely competitive, and to be successful you need to choose the right products for your gelato, as well as offering something new, impressing your customers and predicting the trends for the season ahead.
Obviously all this has to go hand in hand with a tasty, high quality product. One of the first choices that a potential gelato shop owner has to make regards the type of premises to open: an artisan gelato workshop or a café/gelato shop? Both types of premises have advantages and disadvantages. An artisan gelato workshop requires less initial investment: less spacious premises, fewer staff costs, the purchase of specific machines just for gelato, slushies and frozen yogurt etc. In addition, the cost of ingredients for artisan gelato is about 12% of the final price (about 20% if you also consider milk, cream and eggs), thus guaranteeing a good profit margin on each cone or tub sold. On the other hand, an artisan gelato workshop is far more affected by the seasons – it’s unlikely to open for more than 7 or 8 months a year.
In contrast, what are the advantages of a café/gelato shop? First of all, there is the variety of products. A business like this, in addition to gelato and slushies, will sell other products which are consumed extensively all year round, from coffees to cocktails, to hot and cold dishes, and it can stay open from early morning until late at night and generate business in every month of the year. However you need to consider the costs of premises that are large enough, kitchen staff, bar staff and waiting staff.
There is one more aspect to consider that affects both types of premises, namely “geo-marketing”, or the choice of area for the location of the new business, based on the analysis of other businesses already active in the area concerned. What types of business can the new gelato shop be compared with? What are their strengths? How can you compete with them? In addition, within a city, it is important to evaluate whether to choose a central location, with rental or purchase prices that are higher on average, but where it may be possible to charge a slightly higher than average price for products, or a traditionally cheaper suburban area.
Pedestrian areas are particularly suitable locations for artisan gelato shops, given the large numbers of potential customers that pass by.
In conclusion, what is better? An artisan gelato shop or a café/gelato shop? There is no right answer, and you have to make your own decision, based on your expectations, abilities and possibilities. The important thing is to think carefully before reaching any decision. You should ask for advice from other people who work in the sector, choose the best companies as partners and suppliers and take part in training courses for gelato makers. Good luck!