How to start an ice cream business in South Africa

How to start an ice cream business in South Africa

This is a guide on how to start an ice cream business in South Africa.

An ice cream business can be a very lucrative and fulfilling venture. Who doesn’t love ice cream? We all love ice cream; this is a guide on how to start a successful Ice cream business.

1. Theme of the shop

The first thing you have to get right is the theme. Don’t just create an ice cream shop but create an environment whereby people can come and chill, it’s very important. A lot of people are attracted to places because of the experience they usually get from those places.

This means you will have to create a walk-in shop as opposed to creating a walk-up shop. Put in a few tables and chairs so that it looks more like a restaurant. Don’t worry about the additional costs, you are going to recover them as time goes by because you will attract way more people. Some people use your ice cream shop as a waiting or even a meeting spot. They will definitely buy some ice cream while waiting. It’s very important that you get the them right. The equipment doesn’t have to be expensive, just set it up in such a way that is comfortable.

2. Location

Location is very important when starting an ice cream business in South Africa. Your shop has to be in a prime location, anything else will not work. An ice cream is something that most people buy spontaneously without planning, very few people travel kilometres just to buy ice cream. Try to make sure that your ice cream shop is in an area that has a lot of people and is easily accessible.

Getting the right location and doing step 1 above is a winning combination; you won’t have to worry about getting customers as most people will just find your place convenient. Your rental costs should not amount to more than 15% of your revenue.

3. Niche down

There are so many frozen desserts, there are hundreds of ice cream types and flavours. Choose which ones you are going to serve for starters, it’s important to keep a few flavours so that your customers don’t get overwhelmed. You can expand your offering as time goes on.

You have to make this decision prior to buying equipment and finding a location. Knowing what you will serve will guide you into how much space you will need and what equipment to buy.

4. Labour

You will need to hire a few people, fortunately you don’t have to hire that many people. You can get started with 3 people including yourself. They will have to have a uniform. You will need someone that is going to keep the place clean and someone that will handle customers and sales.

5. Marketing

Being in a good location and providing a good environment for your customers will naturally attract a lot of people to your ice cream shop. You should do a little bit of digital advertising.

With digital advertising you will be looking to build a website for your business. You can get a website for only R1 200 from Promta Web Services. Build a Facebook page and get your business on online business directories. You don’t have to run any paid ads unless you are at a stage whereby you are a franchiser.

Give your customers free T-shirts with your logo and free caps and even mugs or cups. Anything that will make them remember your shop and fall in love with it. Getting new customers is great but retaining existing customers is very important.

6. Franchising

You may look to expand your business by franchising, your franchisees will have to buy the rights to use your business name and operation techniques in another location. They will pay royalties to you, being a franchisor is a very good way to make money.


This was a guide on how to start an ice cream business in South Africa. Do you have any thoughts or questions? Comment below.

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  1. How do I creat a business plan regardin an ice-cream business

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