Looking back at the Grand Opening celebration, it is difficult to know who was having the most fun.
Your husband was busy taking pictures of the festivities, including artsy close ups of the shop supplies. He focused on everything from the turquoise ice cream cups to the tiny tasting shovels.
Your two daughters were bust giving tours of the store to visiting family and friends.
The local business owners were loving the opportunity to vote for their favorite flavors and a chance to win a ice cream celebration for their employees.
It was indeed a grand event.
Fast forward five years and it is difficult to comprehend how successful your family owned ice cream parlor has been. You have been a favorite stop for the volleyball players after their weekend tournaments. You have reservations for two to three ice cream cakes every day for birthday, graduation, and anniversary celebrations. You are proud to employ workers ranging in age from high school students to retired grandmothers. Turns out, your choice of location and the timing of your opening have worked well. As you unpack yet another stack of those turquoise ice cream cups you realize that you truly love owning your own business.
Today’s Ice Cream Shops Are a Feast for the Eyes as Well as the Tastebuds
Did you know that the average American will eat ice cream nearly 29 times this year? Not quite once a week, but at least two or three times a month. And while some ice cream fans simply eat their favorite treat at home, many venture out to visit the number of ice cream and yogurt stores that are available in their area. the secret for ice cream shop owners, of course, is to appeal to the general public that makes an evening ice cream treat a habit. Sometimes that is easy to do when a store first opens, but more difficult to accomplish as the months pass by.
Although color coordinated ice cream cups, tasting spoons, and interior decorations can attract visitors the firs time, it is often the quality of the product and the quality of the service that keeps those customers coming back again and again. As any small business owner knows, every investment counts, especially the investment in training employees in the best customer satisfaction. The cutest and best designed ice cream cups, for example, will get you no where if you do not train your employees to take care of the customer, including these basic principles:
- Initiate customer conversation. No customer, not matter the age, should walk into your store without being acknowledged.
- Can I help you? Train your employees to ask this question the the second they realize that a customer may have a question.
- Excellent attitude. Customers enjoy spending time in positive places. Excellent attitudes create spaces that are worth visiting again and again.
- Call out the best in your employees. Workers who are appreciated spend their time on the job making a difference.
- Remember you are serving. When you are working you need to remember that the job is about the service and the product.
- Enjoy the work day. As a manager, if you do not enjoy your day at work, your attitude will project throughout the staff.
- Always smile. The decision to smile at work is the decision to make every day at work count. The length of a work shift may vary, but the hours go by more quickly when positive attitudes prevail.
- Manage through example. It is easier to manage employees if your workers see you working at the highest level of excellence.
Making the decision to open an ice cream parlor can sound like a lot of fun, but it is also a lot of work. To get an idea of how difficult it is to compete in this field, consider this fact: by the end of 2013, there were an estimated 2,582 frozen yogurt stores in America. That is a lot of competition, and the best way to remain competitive goes beyond the great decorations. A competitive store focuses on delivery a quality product from employees who value customer service. All things that can be easily controlled by a strong owner and manager.