What supplies are needed for an ice cream shop? In this post, I am going to be talking about all the items you need to run a successful ice cream shop. In it, I will provide a breakdown of all the equipment, utensils, dry supplies, ice cream, and toppings. Think of this post as a go-to checklist of everything an ice cream shop will need as a minimum to operate successfully. All of this information is based on what I actually use on a day-to-day basis in my ice cream shop. If you want to have a detailed breakdown of the main pieces of equipment, such as batch freezers. I dedicated a whole post to this which you can read here: What Equipment Do You Need For An Ice Cream Shop. So, what exactly are the supplies you need for an ice cream shop?
What Supplies Do You Need For An Ice Cream Shop?
As a general rule, the main supplies required for an ice cream shop are ice cream cups, ice cream lids, spoons, sample cups, bags, pint containers, marker pens, labels, and till roll. As well as supplies, an ice cream shop will also need to have equipment, utensils, ice cream, and toppings. The below table summarizes everything you need:
|Ice cream machine Batch freezerSoft serve machinesCold plates||Ice cream buckets||Ice cream cups||Vanilla||Fresh fruit|
|Storage freezers||Ice cream scoopers||Ice cream lids||Chocolate||Chocolate chips|
|Display freezer||Sauce bottles||Spoons||Strawberry||Granolas|
|Refrigerator||Toppings bowls/jars||Sample cups||Mint Choc Chip||Oreo pieces|
|Blender||Spoons for toppings||Bags||Cookie & Cream||Mini pretzels|
|Scales||Spatulas||Pint containers||Peanut Butter||Sprinkles (rainbow and/or chocolate)|
|Toppings counter||Chopping board and knife||Marker pens||Butter pecan||Graham crackers|
|Point of sale||Storage buckets and lids||Labels||Some unusual & unique flavors||Chopped nuts|
|Scissors||Till roll||Sliced almonds|
|Peanut butter cups|
What Do You Need To Start Selling Ice Cream?
As a general rule, to start selling ice cream from a built-out and permitted ice cream location, the following types of supplies are needed:
- Dry Supplies;
- Ice Cream; and
I plan on covering in a separate post everything that is required to open an ice cream shop from scratch (including counters and sinks). The purpose of this post is to look at everything that is required to sell ice cream from an already build out ice cream shop lease.
For example, if you paid key money to take over an ice cream shop lease most, if not all, of the fixtures, and fittings (sinks, plumbing, countertops) are already there. This post will cover the supplies which you will need to be ordering and re-ordering on a periodic basis to keep your ice cream shop running.
How Often Should I Be Order Supplies For My Ice Cream Business?
One of the most important questions when it comes to operating your ice cream business day-to-day is how often you should be ordering supplies. The key when it comes to supplies is two things:
- Scheduled Supply Checks, and
- Par Amounts
Scheduled Supply Checks
You will want to have a set schedule for when supply checks happen. In my business, I carry out supply checks two times a week. The first on a Monday and the second on a Thursday. This gives me the ability to re-stock the store before and after a busy weekend.
I find the best way is to use stock checklists that team members can complete and then send to you for checking.
A par amount is the lowest threshold amount of something in the shop you will have before you reorder. For example, wooden spoons – my par amount is two boxes. When I get down to two boxes, I know I need to order wooden spoons again. Likewise, you will want to have a similar maximum par amount. So, for wooden spoons, my maximum is six boxes. You will want to set minimum and maximum par amounts for every item so that you know when to order and exactly how much.
When setting par amounts never leave it to just the last box or item of something. For example, with my wooden spoons, I don’t want to leave my par amount as one box because if I struggle to find wooden spoons because of supplier issues then I will not be caught out.
You will want to use this par amount system for everything, including your ice cream. Having a par system for your ice cream will let you know when something has to be made and how much.
Okay, now I have covered how to monitor your supplies let’s go through each of the main categories of supplies.
A. What Equipment Is Needed For An Ice Cream Shop?
What Machines Do Ice Cream Shops Use?
As a general rule, most ice cream shops use either batch freezers or soft serve machines to make their ice cream.
You can read more about batch freezers here (What Equipment Do You Need For An Ice Cream Shop) and more about soft serve machines here (Everything You Need To Know About Soft Serve).
Although most ice cream shops will use batch freezers or soft serve machines to make their ice cream, there are some concepts such as rolled ice cream shops that will use cold plates to make their ice cream. You can learn about these in my post here – Everything You Need To Know About Rolled Ice Cream.
What Other Equipment Is Needed For An Ice Cream Shop?
On average, as well as at least one ice cream machine, the following equipment is required for an ice cream shop:
- Storage freezers
- Display freezer
- Toppings counter
- Point of sale
You can read more about all these different pieces of equipment in the post I dedicated to it – What Equipment Do You Need For An Ice Cream Shop.
B. What Utensils Does An Ice Cream Shop Need?
As well as the main pieces of equipment, the following small utensils will also be required to run an ice cream shop:
- Ice cream serving buckets
- Ice cream scoopers
- Squeezy bottles for sauces and syrups
- Topping bowls and jars
- Serving spoons for toppings
- Chopping board and knives
- Storage buckets and lids
I have put links to example utensils on Amazon – some of these utensils are NSF certified but some are not. Depending on where you are opening an ice cream shop you may be required to use NSF-only utensils. The below links are just designed to give you an idea of what is required.
Ice Cream Serving Buckets
Ice cream serving buckets are only required if you are starting a scooping ice cream shop and are not required if you are starting a soft-serve ice cream shop.
The types of buckets you will require depends on the display freezer you are using in your shop. If you are using a gelato display freezer where customers can see into the freezer, you will most likely require gelato pans (also known as Napoli Pans) like these NSF ones on Amazon. The size you will require will depend on the display freezer you choose.
If your customers can’t see into the freezer (for example the freezer is behind the serving counter) then ice cream buckets like these on Amazon will do the job. Some people prefer square containers and others prefer round. At the end of the day, it just depends on your scooping freezer layout and what works best for storage and scooping.
The most important thing when picking an ice cream serving bucket is to make sure they are freezer safe. If not, the container can shatter or snap and leave unsafe shards in your ice cream.
Ice Cream Scoopers
Ice cream scoopers will be required for a scooped ice cream shop. There are a couple of different options for scoopers. Traditional metal scoopers or metal scoopers with a scraper. My personal preference is metal scoopers with a scraper. They help provide more consistency and are easier to use. NSF ones like these on Amazon work great
You will have to work out what size ice cream scoop you want to offer in your shop. Bear in mind that the scooper sizes are for a level scoop. So, if you want to offer a 4-ounce scoop, a 2-ounce scooper will often provide this (so long as team members are scooping correctly).
Also just accept that you will be replacing scoopers a lot.
Squeezy Bottles For Sauces
If you are planning on offering any kind of liquid topping (chocolate sauce, peanut butter, caramel, fudge, etc.) you will require some way of storing and serving them. A cheap and convenient way is just using squeezing sauce bottles like these on Amazon.
You could also consider some kind of sauce pump station like this one on Amazon. Both work just as well depending on your space and needs.
Toppings Bowls And / Or Jars
Any ice cream shop that offers toppings will need a way of storing the toppings in the front of the house. One thing to consider before buying serving containers is whether any individual topping will need to be in an air-tight container or not.
For example, glutenous toppings often require being in an air-tight container, or else they go stale (e.g., marshmallows, graham crackers, Oreos, granola).
When I first opened my ice cream shop, I put the granola in a bowl without a lid (just like the nuts, sprinkles, etc.). I quickly realized this was a mistake as it went stale very quickly. I now keep all toppings that could go stale in jars with lids a bit like this one on Amazon.
It is usually toppings like granola, Oreos, cookie pieces, mochi, waffle cones, marshmallows, and pretzels that need to be served from a container with a lid. Toppings such as nuts, sprinkles, chocolate chips, fresh fruit, and dried fruit can usually be kept in bowls without lids in the front of the house.
Spoons For Toppings
Any ice cream shop that offers toppings will require spoons for the toppings to be scooped onto ice cream. These NSF spoons on Amazon work well. These are the spoons I have been using to serve toppings for the past 6 years.
As a general rule, if you are starting a scooping ice cream shop you will require spatulas. These spatulas are mainly required to extract ice cream from the ice cream machine. Spatulas like these ones on Amazon work great.
In my experience, always go for the spatulas made for high-temp cooking – the plastic handles are so much stronger and have never snapped on me. Any other kind simply snap.
Chopping Board and Knife
Any ice cream shop that offers fresh fruit such as chopped strawberries will need a chopping board and knife to chop the strawberries. A chopping board and knife may be required for other toppings and ice cream ingredients too. A chopping board like this one on Amazon works well. You may also want to consider separate chopping boards for allergy-related reasons or for different food types.
Just small knives like these on Amazon are all that will be required.
Storage Buckets and Lids
You will need some storage buckets and lids to store toppings and other ingredients. Most ice cream shops tend to use Cambro food storage containers like these 4-quart ones on Amazon, as well as these 6-quart ones.
We have three types of buckets at our ice cream shops. First, 22-quart buckets for mixing and making ice cream batches and then 6- and 12-quart buckets for storage of topping, etc.
As a general rule, most ice cream shops will require at least one pair of scissors in the shop – mainly to cut open food packaging and deliveries. A pair of scissors like this pair on Amazon will usually suffice. Have at least two pairs – one will always get lost.
C. What Supplies Are Needed For An Ice Cream Shop?
Okay, so we have dealt with the main big pieces of equipment required to open an ice cream shop, as well as all the smaller utensils. But how about the supplies required to open an ice cream shop. You know- dry supplies that you will be repurchasing on a regular basis in your ice cream shop as you run out.
All ice cream shops will require disposable ice cream cups to serve ice cream in. You may want to get branded cups made with your logo on them (just note – these will require quite high minimum orders and the lead time can be a few months). If you are happy offering unbranded cups, then paper cups like these colorful fun ones on Amazon work well. They are also eco-friendly versions available depending on what you want to offer.
You will also want to order cups in several different sizes to account for the ice cream sizes on your menu.
For example, in our ice cream shop, we have 8-ounce cups for the single servings, 12-ounce for the double scoops, and 20-ounce for the large take-home containers (4 scoops).
Your cup size will have to be bigger than the actual scoop size to make room for additional toppings (trust me if you choose cups that are too small customers will complain that their toppings are falling out of the cup).
If you offer, sit-down seating and or table service you may want to have non-disposable ice cream cups that need to be collected and washed up after every use. To be honest, this is pretty rare today – most ice cream shops will just use disposable ice cream cups, even for sit-down customers too. I also wouldn’t recommend it. It creates more items you must buy and then wash up as well.
All ice cream shops will require clear domed lids to fit one scooped size of an ice cream cup. This is for a take-out order. Just make sure to get the lids with no holes like these ones on Amazon. Always make sure to check the lids fit the different sizes of lids you have.
You will have to have disposable spoons in your ice cream shop for customers to eat their ice cream with. Today, most customers and cities will expect and require an eco-friendly spoon offered. Wooden spoons like these on Amazon tend to work well and are what we use.
Don’t make the mistake of going to small with ice cream spoons – I know they are cheaper, but customers will complain about them being difficult to eat their ice cream with. You want a spoon that is at least 5 inches.
All ice cream, shops will have to offer samples of their ice creams. The easiest way of doing this in my experience is via paper souffle cups – I have found these ½-ounce ones tend to work the best. Here is the link on Amazon. Any bigger size than this and your start giving too much free ice cream away.
You will require bags in your ice cream shop. This is both for customers who order a lot and want to take their order home with them to put in their freezer, and for delivery drivers from delivery platforms such as Doordash and Ubereats.
Again, customers will expect eco-friendly bag options than just plastic bags (plus depending on where you are opening your ice cream shop you may not even be allowed plastic due to local rules).
I was worried that paper bags (like these grocery bags on Amazon) would break due to the frozen element of ice cream but we haven’t received any customer complaints about this happening.
If you plan on selling pints of your ice cream in your ice cream shop, then you will require disposable 16-ounce pint cups with lids. You can easily get plain white ones like these on Amazon, but I have found that brightly colored fun ones like these pink polka dot ones on Amazon sell better.
The brighter the pints the more likely they are to catch customers’ eyes. Also, make sure to place your pint freezer as close to the point of sale as possible – to try to encourage impulse purchases during payment.
It may seem obvious, but you will require a pack of pens in your ice cream shop. These will mainly be used to label ice cream buckets, toppings, and batches in the back of the ice cream shop, as well as to write down batch checks. Just regular sharpie markers like these on Amazon will do.
If you are opening an ice cream shop, you need to think about a labeling system. You will need staff to be able to easily label buckets, batches, and toppings in the back of the house. I have found that plain old masking tape tends to work the best. Yes, masking type – just stuff like this you can find on Amazon. They stick to everything, even in freezers, and can be easily removed without leaving any marks that are hard to remove.
However, if you want more detailed labels that are dissolvable then these on Amazon work very well.
You will always need napkins on hand for your customers. Just simple napkins like these on Amazon will do.
If the point of sale at your ice cream shop has a receipt printer, then you will require a supply of till roll in your shop. The exact till roll depends on your machine but here is a link to the till roll options on Amazon.
D. What Cleaning Supplies Do I Need For An Ice Cream Shop
In terms of cleaning supplies an ice cream shop will need:
- A mop and bucket
- A broom and dustpan
- Wiping cloths
- Washing up-liquid
- Brown Paper Towels
- Cleaning bleach
- Window Cleaner
- Anti-bacterial handwash
- First-Aid Kit
- A red sanitizer bucket
- A green soap bucket
- Trash cans
- Trash bags
- Sanitizer wipes
E. Frequently Asked Questions
What Things Should An Ice Cream Shop Sell?
As a general rule, the three most important things that an ice cream shop should sell are ice cream, cones, and toppings. Drinks, ice cream sandwiches, cookies, pints, and waffle bowels are also things that an ice cream shop can sell which can increase profits – but they are optional depending on the ice cream shop set up.
What Are the Best Ice Cream Flavors To Offer?
As a general rule, all ice cream shops should offer the four basic ice cream flavors: vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, and mint. It is a good idea to also offer a few of the more “indulgent” American classic flavors such as cookies & cream, butter pecan, and peanut butter. Finally, offer a few unusual flavors which you rotate every week or so to add some variety to your ice cream shop menu.
What Toppings Are Required For Ice Cream?
There are a whole variety of toppings that can be offered in an ice cream shop such as
- Fresh fruit
- Chocolate chips
- Oreo pieces
- Mini pretzels
- Sprinkles (rainbow and/or chocolate)
- Graham crackers
- Chopped nuts
- Sliced almonds
- Caramel sauce
- Fudge sauce
- Peanut butter
- Almond butter
- Peanut butter cups
What Are The Most Popular Toppings For Ice Cream?
On average, the most popular toppings for ice cream are Oreo, nuts, chocolate chips, fudge sauce, caramel sauce, peanut butter cups, and rainbow sprinkles. Chocolate chips are by far the biggest selling topping at our ice cream shop.
What Supplies Are Needed For An Ice Cream Shop – The Final Lick
What supplies are needed for an ice cream shop? In this post, I have aimed to cover all those supplies which you will require to run your ice cream shop day-to-day. These are the items that you will need to re-order on a weekly or monthly basis. The most important thing when it comes to supplies is making sure you have a set schedule and par amount system in place. Any one of your team should be able to pick up and complete a supply check. It needs to be automated and simple. Take all the effort and work out of it. Finally, make sure there is a set location for everything in the store. This will make it quick and easy to see exactly what you do and don’t have.
Time To Learn Some More
Want to learn more on your path to ice cream entrepreneur success. Then check out some of my other articles.
- What Are the Challenges In An Ice Cream Business
- How Do I Start My Own Ice Cream Business
- Ice Cream Shop Profits – How To Run A Profitable Ice Cream Shop
- How Much Does It Cost To Start An Ice Cream Truck
- How Much Does It Cost To Start An Ice Cream Shop
- Ice Cream Shop Accounting – Everything You Need To Know
- Can I Make Ice Cream At Home And Sell It
- What Are the Different Types of Frozen Desserts?
- Is Vegan Ice Cream Profitable
- What Equipment Do I Need For My Ice Cream Truck
- How To Pick A Generator For Your Ice Cream Truck
- How Profitable Is An Ice Cream Truck?
- Everything You Need To Know About Working In An Ice Cream Shop
- Everything You Need to Know About Writing an Ice Cream Business Plan
- Everything You Need To Know About Rolled Ice Cream
- Everything You Need To Know About Soft Serve Ice Cream
- Vegan “Ice Cream”
- Everything You Need To Know About Batch Freezers
- What Equipment Do You Need For An Ice Cream Shop
- What Is The Best Location For An Ice Cream Shop
- How To Open An Ice Cream Shop
- How To Start An Ice Cream Truck
- Do Ice Cream Shops Make Money in the Winter
- How To Make An Ice Cream Shop Stand Out
- How Do You Become An Ice Cream Distributor
- Everything You Need To Know About Ice Cream Delivery Apps
- Everything You Need To Know About Gluten-Free Ice Cream and Toppings
- What is the Mark-Up on Ice Cream?
- What Scoopers Do Ice Cream Shops Use?
- What Are the Best Toppings and Sauces for Ice Cream?