Warm greetings to you all. It has been a tough and unpredictable time over the last few months for most businesses, especially those associated with leisure, travel, tourism and the restaurant industry. Hopefully the Government money has helped you keep your staff and your business afloat. Whilst I am writing this we are still in lockdown with no definitive date for relaxing of the regulations. Under the current policy the furlough payments will stop in June which is when you will be reading this, so whether you will be looking to reopen anytime soon or not is anyones guess. Here at Antonelli we thought the best way we could potentially help our customers was by giving you some top tips for keeping cost effective and efficient for that time when you do once again open your doors to the Great British Public, hopefully in time to catch some of the summer season before it is over!
When we run our ice cream training course ‘So You Want To Make Gelato’ for start up businesses or those people learning to make gelato and ice cream for the first time, we include some of these top tips. However it never hurts to have a recap. Once rules are relaxed again and we start having more freedom of movement, it will be like opening up again after a long off season – longer for those who were closed and never opened since the end of last season, so it will almost be like starting up again. Even with the Government funding, finances will inevitably be tight for everyone, not just in the ice cream industry, so it is important that we look at all aspects of cost saving wherever possible. Three out of the five tips below relate to ways of reducing waste and/or saving time.
You might be thinking that the isolation has got to me and I am now hallucinating! Don’t worry there is method in my madness. So what do I mean by White to Bright and Bright to Brown? I am of course talking about the order of making different flavours of ice cream or gelato in a batch freezer. Following this system will mean less cleaning of your machine and less wastage, making it cost effective. It really is as simple as it sounds you start by making your vanilla, cheesecake, white chocolate or any other ‘White’ or creamy flavours.
Next you make your ‘beige’ flavours such as caramel, banana, biscotti and so on, moving onto ‘Bright’ – strawberry, cherry, raspberry and finishing with flavours such as mint or bubblegum. At that point you will need to rinse through your batch freezer. After that, yes you guessed it we move onto making the ‘Brown’ – for example chocolate and malty etc and finish on nut flavours due to the allergens. Then you have a thorough clean down and wash through so your batch freezer is ready to start again with White the next time you are making. No doubt many of you already use this system but it is always good to have a quick reminder before you rush into making your favourite bright or brown flavour first!
Yes I am being literal here – I am not encouraging you to cause trouble with your friends or family! I am referring to your tins of pastes, ripples and any other ingredients. To prevent separation of the product and sediment occurring it is important you regularly stir your tins. This can be after every use or if you are making that flavour regularly. If you use it infrequently aim to stir the tin monthly, ensuring the product is suitable for use even after a prolonged period on the shelf. A simple but cost effective way of reducing unnecessary wastage. However, there is a particular technique for this (without wishing to teach my granny to suck eggs..) – using a soft spatula, as well as stirring it in the conventional way, push any product stuck to the inside of the tin back into the mixture and ensure that you mix in any sediment forming at the bottom of the tin so it is ready mixed when you want to make that flavour again. NB without wishing to state the obvious make sure you seal the tin properly afterwards so no air can get in. There is no need to do this with tins you haven’t already opened.
Where possible use local suppliers to add the extras to your display or flavours, by purchasing locally grown fruit and locally made biscuits. For example, you might be using a strawberry paste to make your strawberry ice cream but you could use locally grown strawberries to ripple through and decorate. If you help to support local businesses they in turn may help to support you or recommend your ice cream to other local enterprises, helping to build up a local network, often resulting in reciprocal purchasing and extended business opportunities.
Now this may go against some of the suggestions I have given out in the past where gelaterias are looking to differentiate from competitors or find their niche in the market, but these are different times. Nobody can really predict how the market is going to react when we all reopen our doors again. So start by making the flavours you know will sell – standard cabinet classics or if you have a particular flavour your customers expect you to serve then include that as well. Basically we are talking vanilla, strawberry, chocolate, caramel, mint. If for some reason you do make a product which isn’t selling then remove it from your cabinet, transfer it to a freezer tub and deep freeze it. You can still advertise that you have it but deep freezing it will help extend its life so reducing the possibility of wastage.
This is now a new norm for us all, but let your customers know what you are doing to ensure both their safety and your employees well being too. Customers may need that extra reassurance to make them feel safe to leave the safety of their homes. Use your local press, social media, as well as window posters to let your customers know you have thought about their safety and you are not just reopening as you were before. As part of this you might want to think about a queuing system, maybe a one way route if you have two doors, spacing between tables and chairs, tape on the floor marking 2 metres and hand gel or sanitisers, plus you may consider how you serve your cones using sleeves or napkins and so forth.
We will come through this, although normal will probably take on a new meaning, but one thing is for sure – people will be in need of an affordable treat more than ever. So be there for your community but at a safe distance.
See you next time for the latest scoop.
In the meantime please stay safe and
keep washing your hands for 20 seconds.
http://thmiii.com/?author=1 Antonelli’s National Technical Manager Jonny Ireland is a regular contributor to the ICA’s Ice Cream Magazine…
See how this article looked in the June 2020 edition of the ICA’s Ice Cream Magazine…