In the summer time when the weather is hot, there’s nothing Americans love to do more than grab their favorite frozen treat, sit on a picnic bench and enjoy the nice weather.
It’s hard to blame them. Americans love ice cream so much that the average American eats more than 48 pints of ice cream each year and 90% of U.S. households regularly indulge in a sweet, frozen treat.
For ice cream shops everywhere, creating a solid menu is paramount. It’s true that you want to create a warm and inviting atmosphere for customers, but you also want to make sure they can find something on your menu that they like. Having a good business plan is crucial to the long-term success of your business, but so it having menu items that keep customers coming back.
So how to you go about creating the perfect menu for your ice cream shop? Here are some things to think about that can help you pull it off:
- Menu = culture: As you design a menu for your ice cream shop, keep in mind that it should reflect the culture of your store. If your store is known for being quirky and fun, the menu should be quirky and fun. There’s nothing wrong with offering old favorites on your menu (like chocolate or vanilla ice cream in a paper ice cream cup), but it should also have items that are unique and match the uniqueness of your shop.
- Use visual aids: If your ice cream shop makes mouthwatering confections customers can’t get anywhere else, don’t be afraid to show them off. That means your menu should have pictures! Pictures are going to help drive your sales because they show customers exactly what they’re ordering. It doesn’t matter if you’ve got confections in a waffle cone or in a paper ice cream cup, if a customer can see a confection and read a description, they’re more likely to want to try it.
- Get creative: There’s absolutely nothing wrong with having old favorites like the root beer float or the banana split on your menu. If you’re going to put them on your menu though, try to think of some new, creative twist you can put on it. This will intrigue customers because it’s an item they’re familiar with that has just enough of a twist to entice them to order it. The same goes for supplies. Don’t be afraid to order paper ice cream cups with your shop’s name and logo on them or to offer different types of dipped cones. By giving people options, you increase sales potential.
- Choose words carefully: As you plan your menu, using plenty of pictures is important, but so are the words that go along with the pictures. Don’t be so direct. Offer a creative description of what a confection tastes like, what it looks like and what a customer might feel as they eat it. This is where a thesaurus can be your best friend as you look for colorful adjectives to describe your products.
- Menu = marketing: The menu should be more than just prices, paper ice cream cups, ice cream and waffle cones. Your menu is essentially your brand. It’s something that tells customers who you are and what you’re about. This is where you can create a company logo to print out both on your in-store menus and in take-home menus customers can stick on the fridge at home.
- Be careful with pricing: Ultimately, your menu should be about your delicious creations and not the cost. With that in mind, one thing you can do with your menu is to eliminate prices or dollar signs all together. You may not know it, but dollar signs can have a psychological impact on customers and make them avoid higher-priced menu items. By eliminating that, customers may feel more freedom to order what they really want. As far as prices go, look at your competitors and set your prices within a similar range.
By planning a well-thought out and visually pleasing menu with lots of creative items, you can make your business stand out and keep a steady flow of customers coming into your shop.