Over the last few months we have focused on the issues surrounding minority and specialist ingredients and diets as well as the aesthetics and serving aspects of ice cream and gelato. Something I would like to share with you this month are my observations on the diversity of our nation and the importance of recognising the impact of this on your customer’s ice cream experience.
As you probably know I spend part of my time travelling around the UK visiting ice cream parlours and gelaterias (I know it is a tough job but someone has to do it!!). I meet with those who manufacture or have a desire to manufacture their own ice cream. A lot of the discussions I have are relating to the processes used and which ingredients to select. For example, is it important to use a traditional family recipe, or incorporate only local ingredients or do you need to follow cultural restraints?
To answer, we need to know who are these customers and what they favour. Consider the following factors – what is their age, gender, religion, culture, are they transient or loyal locals, trendy or traditional? Also, why are they passing your door – do they live nearby, are they shopping, walking their dog or in the location on business? In some areas, the answer to these will be quite clear cut, in others, you may have a mix in which case you have to be clever to cater for a broad range of tastes. Knowing if your customer base is keen to promote your products on social media may also influence the way you serve and present your artisan ice cream.
The good news is that our sector seems to be relatively successful in comparison to the food industry in launching new products according to an article I found via Google from the Guardian in July;
“Some of the most successful launches across the entire food and drink sector are in ice-cream … a lot of success comes from trend-led products that appeal to younger customers, especially if it’s brightly coloured or has a fun design that might look good on Instagram.”
I can almost hear you shouting back at me – ‘oh yes it is!” However this is no pantomime and although I am a technical manager for making ice cream and gelato, I have realised that achieving success is not just about the product itself. Making ice cream that tastes good is obviously fundamental, but there are many other factors for each individual ice cream maker to take into account for the full offering to be a success.
For customers to really enjoy the full benefits of buying an ice cream or gelato from your shop, they need to be pleased with the full ‘experience’. Traditionally this starts with looking at the list of flavours on your window or board, however it may even begin before they can even see your parlour or gelateria if they follow you on social media. Once they arrive they experience the waiting time/queue (sometimes a queue is not a bad thing as it suggests you are popular – just as long at they don’t have to wait too long). When they enter the shop they will subconsciously be taking in the decor, cleanliness and styles, if there is a seating area is it comfortable, is the toilet clean etc. Then there is the buying experience – are the staff friendly and helpful – what is their attitude? All this before they have even consumed any ice cream!
Every aspect of your product and service is important, from whether your floor is slippery to the smile on your staff’s faces, to the display in the cabinet, to the taste of the gelato or ice cream itself. If you get one of these elements wrong then that is what the customer is going to remember not the 4 you got right, so don’t undermine all your efforts by slipping up (maybe literally) on a dirty floor! Equally customers will remember little extras or service where staff go that extra mile such as providing hand gel or wet wipes for kids, doggy ice cream or a water bowl or an opportunity to taste before you buy. The last thing you want to overhear from your customers is ‘the ice cream is delicious, but …..’
Ensure your staff all understand and take responsibility for all aspects of that experience and I am sure you will have a winning formula.
See you next time for the latest scoop.
https://www.premiumwebdesign.com/1242-dtpl77780-serwis-randkowy-na-telefon.html 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 October ’19 edition of the ICA’s Ice Cream Magazine…