Ice cream shop businesses deal in delighting your customers. You’re there when friends and families want to celebrate birthdays, congratulate a student on a great report card, or indulge with a treat. Your shop is also the perfect stop on the way home from a summer holiday parade, a day at the beach, or a Little League game. There’s simply no alternative when you’re in the mood for ice cream.
But devising effective ways for your ice cream shop business to deliver can be anything but simple. If you’re just opening a new ice cream shop or if you’re looking for ways to improve efficiency and productivity, the first step is planning.
Plan Customer Experiences
Great customer experiences don’t just happen. You need to think through what will happen from the moment customers walk up to the counter until the moment they scrape their dishes and lick their spoons. Will your customers place their orders from digital menus over the counter or printed menus at a table? Will the employee taking the order also be the one who makes the treats and serves them?
When ice cream shop businesses have low customer traffic, one person to take an order, ring up a sale, and make cones or sundaes may work. But when traffic increases on warm days when people flock to your shop to cool off, directing counter employees to handle orders, payment, prep, and serving, could lead to mayhem, long lines, and longer-than-necessary wait times.
A better strategy for your ice cream shop business may be to have one employee take orders and payment, then transmit orders to a prep area via kitchen printer. Your employees most skilled in creating delicious and visually appealing ice cream treats can fill orders and then deliver them to a pickup area or to servers who take them to your guests’ tables.
Each business is unique, so creating a workflow chart showing where each activity will take place in your shop can help you plan for the most efficient process.
Once you devise a plan, test it with your staff to ensure your process operates like a well-oiled machine. If it doesn’t, revise it and train your staff to provide top-quality service.
Plan Back-Office Processes
Efficiency in the front of the house is only part of the battle. You also need to ensure your business is well-stocked, labor is optimized, and menu items are profitable. You can use your point of sale system (POS system) to collect data that shows best selling flavors and treats, calculate profitability of items on your menu, and managing inventory that you can’t allow to run low — or melt.
Ice cream shop businesses, especially those near our office outside of St. Louis, Missouri, tend to see higher traffic volume in the summer months. Your POS system can help you use sales history to determine when you need more staff on hand and when to decrease the number of employees on a shift so you aren’t spending more than needed on labor.
You can also use data from your POS system to learn more about your customers, which flavors and specialties they can’t seem to get enough of, and how to most effectively market and manage your loyalty program to keep customers coming back for more.
Do you need to learn more about how your POS system, kitchen printer, and inventory management system can help your ice cream shop business operate more efficiently and profitably? Contact PlazSales.