How Does Seasonality Impact the Ice Cream Business?

Have you ever wondered what happens to the ice cream
shops and parlors during the colder winter months? If you guessed that business falls off, you’d be right… well partially right anyway.

During one of my interviews with Paul, a 10-year veteran of the ice cream franchise business, I asked him how seasonality impacted his business. Here’s what he had to say…

Geography Matters
“In Virginia we had less of a seasonal component in our ice cream business. But we still saw seasonality.” Said Paul.

“For us January was usually our weakest month. But there were other businesses in colder regions of the U.S. that would see their sales dip strongly until spring.”

People’s ice cream habits change during the winter months. They are more likely to consume it at home or in the form of ice cream cakes.

Your business will likely feel some seasonality, but it’s important to have an idea of how your region experiences winter. Harsher winters usually mean a longer slow period for those who own ice cream businesses especially if you rely on foot-traffic.

Limit Your Seasonality Through Expansion
…Things would rebound quickly in February with all the cakes and novelties we’d create for valentines day. Shortly after that we had St. Patrick’s day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day… the holidays were always very good to us because of our ice cream cakes and novelties. During these times we made tons of ice cream cakes.”

It’s important to have something you can rely on during the slower season. Try and find a franchise that has items you can market year round. This is key!

Our Father’s Day cake had a whale on it and in big frosting writing it would say, “To a Whale of a Dad.” Since all the cakes were really just a half gallon of ice cream we’d make a nice profit.

Prepare and Strategize
Regardless of the actions taken there is a seasonal component to this business that you need to address. Even in warmer markets the shorter days during the winter months do tend to slow business. Work on ways to prepare for this and minimize the impact. If you sell coffee or pair your business with a dough nut shop you can help to stabilize this.

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