What equipment and supplies do you need for an ice cream shop?

There are as many different types of ice cream shops as there are flavors of ice cream.

Self-serve frozen yogurt shops, gelato carts, ice cream trucks, and full-service parlors that purchase their ice cream from a manufacturer or make it themselves all require similar equipment and supplies. Even if you just plan to make small batches of ice cream to serve your restaurant customers, having some dedicated ice cream equipment will be helpful.

The specific type of equipment you'll need for your ice cream shop will depend on the size and scale of your business and what frozen treats you plan to offer your customers. Some common types of equipment include:

  • Freezers:  The one thing you'll absolutely need to operate an ice cream shop is freezers. You'll need freezers to store ice cream ingredients and the finished product. Look for freezers with adjustable temperature controls, good insulation, and a durable exterior and interior.
Close-up of a man scooping ice cream from tub in an ice cream parlor.Close-up of a man scooping ice cream from tub in an ice cream parlor.
  • Ice cream makers: If you plan to make your own ice cream, even in small batches, an ice cream maker is a must-have. Look for models with the right capacity for you, adjustable speed controls, and the ability to mix in ingredients like fruit, nuts, and candy pieces.
  • Scoops and supplies: A quality ice cream scoop will make serving your customers faster and more efficient. You'll also need other supplies like knives and cutting boards to prep toppings, dipper wells to clean and warm scoops, ice cream dishes, and napkin dispensers to serve.
  • Topping dispensers: Toppings dispensers are a convenient way to offer a variety of toppings for your customers. Look for dispensers with multiple compartments, adjustable flow controls, and easy-to-clean designs.
  • Blenders: A blender or spindle mixer will help make smoothies, milkshakes, and other specialty drinks. Look for models with high-powered motors, adjustable speeds, and large blending containers.
  • Display cases: Display cases can showcase your ice cream products, keeping them visible and easily accessible to customers and employees. Display cases can be self-serve reach-in freezers, glass-top display freezers, or ice cream dipping cabinets.

By considering the uses, features, and benefits of the equipment you buy, you can ensure that you have the right equipment for your new ice cream shop or refurbish an existing parlor and offer high-quality products and services to your customers.

What type of freezers do ice cream shops need?

The freezer may be the most important piece of equipment in your ice cream shop. Without it, all your ice cream will melt back into its constituent parts. When you're selecting freezers for your ice cream shop, there are several key features you should consider:

A beautiful girl in a plaid shirt ordered chocolate ice cream. A man in a mobile diner gives her ice cream. They both smile at each other. The man adds to the creamy whipped creamA beautiful girl in a plaid shirt ordered chocolate ice cream. A man in a mobile diner gives her ice cream. They both smile at each other. The man adds to the creamy whipped cream
  • Capacity: Consider the amount of ice cream you'll need to store at once and select a freezer that can accommodate it. Remember that you may also need to store additional items, like toppings, in the freezer. A busy ice cream shop will probably need a walk-in freezer to store the large amount of icy treats it will sell. Reach-in freezers can be used in smaller ice cream businesses or to keep some popular flavors close to the dipping cabinets. For ingredients and toppings you don't want to freeze, you'll need reach-in refrigerators to keep them at food-safe temperatures.
  • Temperature control: A good freezer should maintain a consistent temperature; ice cream should be stored between -20 and -5 degrees Fahrenheit to keep it frozen and prevent it from melting or becoming too hard. Look for a freezer with an adjustable thermostat and an accurate temperature display.
  • Organization: You'll need to access and organize your ice cream easily, so consider a freezer with adjustable or removable shelves. Adjustable shelving kits are perfect for a walk-in freezer. Food storage bins and containers can also help organize toppings and other ingredients.
  • Energy Efficiency: Look for a freezer that is Energy Star certified, as this will help you save on your energy bills and be more environmentally friendly.
  • Durability: An ice cream shop freezer will have heavy use, so look for a freezer that is durable and built to last. Stainless steel construction and high-quality insulation can help ensure your freezer can meet your business's demands.

How do you buy the right ice cream maker?

If you plan to make some or all of your own ice cream, having a reliable commercial ice cream maker is important. When shopping for an ice cream maker for your shop, there are several important factors to consider:

  • Capacity: Consider how much ice cream you will need to make at once and choose an ice cream maker that can accommodate that volume. If you sell soft serve ice cream, make sure you have a machine that can handle the number of flavors and volume you want.
  • Ease of Use: Unless you're making ice cream at an industrial scale, look for an ice cream maker that is easy to operate and has simple controls. This is especially true if you're buying an ice cream maker for a restaurant that doesn't specialize in ice cream. An ice cream machine with an automatic shut-off feature is a good choice, as it will prevent over-churning and help ensure your ice cream is the right consistency.
  • Speed: The time it takes to make ice cream can vary between models. Consider how much time you are willing to invest in making each batch and choose an ice cream maker that meets your needs.
  • Quality of results: The quality of the ice cream produced by an ice cream maker can vary greatly between models. Read reviews and research different brands to find an ice cream maker that consistently produces high-quality, creamy ice cream.
  • Cost: Ice cream makers can range in price from several hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. Consider your budget and choose an ice cream maker that fits within your financial means while still meeting your needs.
  • Maintenance: Some ice cream makers require more maintenance than others. Consider how much time and effort you are willing to invest in cleaning and maintaining your ice cream maker, and choose one that meets your needs.
  • Brand Reputation: Finally, consider the brand's reputation and read reviews from other customers to ensure the ice cream maker you choose will meet your needs. A well-known and respected brand can give you peace of mind and ensure you make a sound investment in your business.

What types of scoops and supplies do you need to start an ice cream shop?

When setting up a new ice cream shop, or any type of restaurant, it's easy to lose focus on smaller pieces of equipment, supplies, and utensils. But those tools are just as necessary to serve your customers. We'll run through some commonly overlooked equipment you'll need to start your ice cream shop.

  • Ice Cream Scoops and Spades: While we've all probably just used a spoon to eat ice cream straight from the container, that won't work at your ice cream shop. An ice cream scoop is designed to deliver uniform portions of ice cream. They come in three styles. The standard ice cream scoop is a flat-edged metal scoop that can easily reach into container corners. A swipe ice cream scoop uses a curved metal band, activated by a thumb trigger or squeezing the handle, to release the ice cream from the scoop. A lever scoop uses a pop-up lever to release ice cream. An ice cream spade has a wide metal head perfect for cutting into harder ice cream, portioning large servings, or packing into smaller containers.
Empty waffle cones with vintage waffle-iron on table.Empty waffle cones with vintage waffle-iron on table.

What's the toppings dispenser system for ice cream shops?

Several important factors must be considered when buying a toppings dispenser system for your new ice cream business.

  • Capacity: Consider the number of toppings you need to store and dispense. Determine the size of the dispensers based on the volume of toppings you plan to use each day and how many different toppings you plan to have.
  • Type of dispenser: There are various options for dispensers available, including hot-topping dispensers, rail systems, tabletop refrigerated prep stations, and refrigerated prep tables. Rail systems are good if you only have a few toppings or lots of room for multiple stations. Refrigerated prep stations and tables are better for stores with many toppings or toppings that need to be kept cool. With either system, you'll need extra fountain jars and metal or polycarbonate food pans to have extra toppings ready.
  • Ease of use: Choose dispensers that are easy to use, refill, and exchange mid-service. Make sure they are also to clean to minimize downtime and ensure food safety.
  • Style: Consider the style of your ice cream shop when selecting dispensers. Choose dispensers that match the decor and overall aesthetic of your shop.

What's the best blender for an ice cream shop?

When it comes to blending ingredients for ice cream, you want a blender that's powerful and durable enough to handle frozen ingredients and create a smooth, creamy consistency. Here are some of the best blenders for an ice cream shop:

  • The Vitamix 5205XL is a high-performance blender that is known for its ability to handle tough ingredients and create smooth blends and create smooth blends. Its extra-large-1.5-gallon capacity container is perfect for hot or cold ingredients.
  • If you don't expect to make a lot of milkshakes or smoothies, the Blendtec Stealth 895 NBS 2.0 is a great investment. This blender can mix drinks directly in the customer's cup and can also fit a standard jar.
  • All commercial blenders are loud, but choosing a blender with a sound-dampening enclosure, like the Blendtec Stealth series, Waring Commercial MXE2000 Ellipse Blending System, and Hamilton Beach HBH750 Eclipse, will make them significantly quieter, giving your customers a better in-store experience.
  • Spindle-style drink mixers are great solutions for making milkshakes at your ice cream shop.

Choosing the right ice cream display case and dipping cabinet

There are a few types of ice cream display cases to consider when selecting equipment for your new ice cream shop, and you'll probably want more than one type. An ice cream dipping cabinet lets you put large containers of ice cream so your employees can scoop out servings for your customers. The glass front allows customers to see the different flavors you have available. A glass-top display freezer is a great place to store frozen novelties like ice cream sandwiches or pints and gallons of ice cream for sale individually. A glass-door merchandiser freezer lets customers see items like ice cream cakes, gallon containers, and ice cream novelties. When choosing a display case for your ice cream shop, there are several important factors to consider:

  • Capacity: Choose a case that is the right size for your shop, and consider the space you have available and the volume of products you'll be displaying. Consider purchasing multiple cases if you have a large number of flavors.
  • Temperature control: Ice cream needs to be kept at a consistent temperature to maintain its quality and texture. Look for a display case with a refrigeration system that can regulate the temperature effectively and maintain it within the optimal range.
Portrait of cute adorable white Caucasian funny blond child boy looking at ice cream in shop window, trying to choose one, looking surprised puzzled, emotional face expressionPortrait of cute adorable white Caucasian funny blond child boy looking at ice cream in shop window, trying to choose one, looking surprised puzzled, emotional face expression
  • Lighting: Good lighting is essential for showcasing your ice cream. Look for a display case with bright, even lighting that illuminates the entire display area and makes your products stand out. LED lighting is energy-efficient, provides bright, consistent lighting, and doesn't give off as much heat as other types of lights.
  • Visibility: Your customers should be able to see your ice cream clearly, so choose a display case with large, clear windows. A case with a curved front is ideal, as it allows for maximum visibility from all angles. Consider having a step in front of your dipping cabinet to allow children to see inside more easily.
  • Material and durability: An ice cream display case should be made of durable materials that can withstand daily use and regular cleaning. Stainless steel and tempered glass are good for durability and easy maintenance.
  • Style and design: Your display cases should complement the style and decor of your ice cream shop. Choose designs that fit the look and feel of your establishment and complement your branding.
  • Energy efficiency: Display cases are always on and always at freezing temperatures. That means they consume a lot of electricity. You can reduce energy usage by choosing energy-efficient features such as low-energy lighting and good insulation.
  • Maintenance and cleaning: Regular cleaning is necessary to keep your display case and other refrigeration equipment in good condition and maintain the quality of your products. Look for a case that is easy to clean and maintain, with removable shelves or trays and a design allowing easy interior access.
  • Scoop accessibility: Make sure the dipperwell on your dipping cabinet is in a convenient place for your employees

By considering these factors, you can choose a display case that meets the needs of your ice cream shop and helps you showcase your delicious frozen treats in the best possible way.

Family Having Ice Creams At Table In ParlorFamily Having Ice Creams At Table In Parlor

What furniture should an ice cream shop have?

Furniture for your new ice cream shop falls into a few different categories.

  • Booths: Booths provide privacy to customers inside your restaurant. They come in a variety of styles and colors to fit the decor of your shop.
  • Tables: One of the most significant decisions when choosing restaurant tables is purchasing high-top or dining-height tables. In some cases, a mix is the best option.
  • Chairs and bar stools: Once you've decided how many tables you'll have and what height they'll be, you're ready to shop for restaurant seating. Bar stools work for counter-side dining and bar-height tables.
  • Patio dining: Eating ice cream outside on a warm summer day might be the perfect way to enjoy the frozen treat. Find attractive and inviting outdoor furniture to give your customers a great experience at your ice cream shop. Select from wrought iron tables and chairs, distressed metal tables and chairs, and aluminum slat tables and chairs. Resin table tops can often be used inside or outside. Our line of dining sets is another choice when selecting outdoor metal furniture.

When selecting furniture for your ice cream shop, comfort should be a key feature you consider. You should also make sure the furniture is well-built, durable, and easy to clean.