I’m sure you must have heard the jingles of ice cream trucks patrolling around the neighborhood; offering their icy sweet treat. In the summer these ice cream trucks are heaven on Earth, but have you ever wondered what they do during winter?
Ice cream truck drivers try different strategies in winters to keep losses at a minimum. They either close down their business entirely or lower the prices to bring a small chunk of sales than nothing at all. Some of them even try to sell other items that are more winter-friendly.
I’m sure you must be curious to know how they keep the business afloat and what goes behind the scenes.
Stay put, as I shed light on different aspects of ice cream sales in winter and what ice cream truck drivers do during the off-season.
How Does Weather Affect Ice Cream Sales?
Unarguably, weather can massively impact ice cream sales but it doesn’t necessarily mean to close your ice cream truck business.
Ice cream consumption is highest in July. The month of July was designated as National Ice Cream Month by President Ronald Reagan in 1984.
Here’s a table of the different weathers and their impacts on ice cream sales:
|Snow is definitely the worst time for ice cream truck drivers. Roads are blocked and no one likes to eat frozen treats when everything else is freezing, too.
|Now you might think this will increase sales but during heat waves, sales decrease significantly than usual hot days. This is mainly because people avoid leaving their homes. The weather is so hot that no one wants to go out to get ice cream.
|This one’s pretty obvious: rain noticeably slows down the sales.
|Cold and sunny
|This has better sales than cold and rainy days but it’s still somewhat slow.
|Pretty slow sales, but still not as much as during rainy days.
|This is the peak time for sales. You’ll have customers coming in left, right, and center. Your truck sales will be flourishing. Overall, ice cream shops and trucks thrive in this season.
What Do Ice Cream Trucks Sell In the Winter?
Generally, the ice cream truck business slows down in winter. They may either stop operating or if they must; they’ll lower their timings. The main aim of this season is to survive and not make huge losses.
Owners look for ways to lower their costs so they can manage the cold months and then pop back in the summers ready for all the sales.
Sometimes trucks may even look for things to sell other than ice cream such as cookies, cupcakes, etc. This somehow keeps the sales going and also gives a faint recognition as the truck owners diversify their options.
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4 Ways to Adjust Ice Cream Trucks For Winter
There are multiple options for ice cream trucks to make sure their business still thrives in winter. Here are a few discussed below:
#1 Reduce Hours or Close Temporarily
The obvious and most sought-after solution would be to simply close your truck temporarily. At most until the season gets bearable enough to have people consume icy treats.
For a less extreme measure, you can simply lessen your operating hours so you can save up. This way you’d make some amount of profit as well as save for the extra costs.
Waiting out the winter can save your profits from declining. Shorter times save up on your employee’s pay and other factors which will only burden you.
#2 Offer Seasonal Desserts
Another way to keep your truck running whilst also ensuring profit is to offer seasonal desserts. You can tweak your options and add something more weather-friendly to your menu along with your usual ice creams.
For example, you can sell an assortment of pies: pecan, apple, pumpkin and more. Not only do these go well with ice cream but even alone they can keep your truck going.
Since pies are most likely eaten with ice cream, customers can opt for your truck for something warm and cold at the same time. This way, they can have their sweet cravings satisfied.
#3 Offer Seasonal or Warm Beverages Instead
Now, this may sound contradictory but since it is the winter season, ice cream truck owners can also opt for selling warm beverages.
This is pretty helpful because it helps you expand your sales beyond just ice cream and sweets. With warm drinks, you can have a larger customer base and more recognition.
Drinks like hot chocolate, caramel macchiato and coffee are among some of the drinks you can offer in the winter. You do not have to lose your ice cream entirely, just add these seasonal drinks to boost your reputation.
On the other hand, you can also choose to completely finish off the ice cream menu with these hot alternatives. This saves your cost in supplying ice cream and you can stay minimal by just offering season-specific items instead.
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However, there always will be people who want to have ice cream, even with warm drinks. So it’s always best to keep a few standard flavors. Putting winter alternatives will make sure your business doesn’t go into a slump.
#4 Create Seasonal Flavors
Lastly, the best way to keep your ice cream truck up and running would be to add seasonal flavors to the list.
Since winters have Christmas, New Year and other holidays during it, this can be a good time to add corresponding ice cream flavors to your menu.
For example, you can add Halloween-inspired flavors like candy corn, pumpkin spice flavored ice cream or Christmas-inspired ones like peppermint.
These can get you in the spirit of winter and convince others to try out the new flavors. This will consequently bring you sales and give customers a chance to have ice cream during the cold, harsh winter.
3 Reasons For Serving Ice Cream In the Winter
Even though we’ve established that serving ice cream in winter is pretty useless, some still opt for it, if they’ve no other choice.
There are several reasons why truck owners may choose to sell ice cream in winter. Majorly, this is meant to benefit the establishment.
They can pay up rent and if they’re lucky, have a year-round season for ice cream. Here are a few other reasons why ice cream truck owners may only opt for selling ice cream in winter.
Rent is the major reason why ice cream parlors sell only ice cream and don’t usually close down. Some shops find it in their best interest to keep their trucks up and working in winter.
98% of all the US household purchase ice-creams. Even if some people drop eating ice-cream in the winter, some loyal customers will be on your side throughout the year.
Paying rent is a year-long thing, so you can only make sure to pay off the rent if they have it open year-round.
That way by keeping the parlor open, you can make some sort of profit and have enough to pay off your expenses. In these circumstances, ice cream owners also have a few options other than ice cream for customers to buy.
In the end, they remain open and try their best to keep as many sales as they can.
» Read my blog post: The Cost of Renting
Next, the geographic location of your ice cream truck also determines whether or not you can keep your truck open year-round.
For instance, if you’re situated in areas like Florida, California or other warm states, then you might not even need to close your truck at all.
In this case, you can simply keep them open year-round as it is not as chilly there and cold treats are enjoyed often.
These states usually have zero snow or at most not even chilly winds and so, it’s best to keep your truck open at all times.
Especially if you have tourists fleeing from cold-stricken areas, they’ll want to make sure your parlor is open to attract all those tourists and woo them with your soft serve.
#3 Satisfying Sweet Tooth
Lastly, many customers crave ice cream in times of celebratory events, and other times they simply want ice cream. It is a common sweet that’s eaten on every occasion, even in winter.
Since most customers use ice cream to satisfy a sweet tooth, keeping your truck open in winter means prospective customers will have a source for ice cream.
In winters, people can enjoy ice cream without worrying about having to lick it quickly before it starts to melt.
Plus keeping your business open in the winter can keep you at the top of your game. This way you’ll most likely have more regular customers and ensure more frequent sales.
Summing Up What Ice Cream Truck Drivers do During Winters
That’s all you need to know about ice cream trucks and the weather. As you’ve probably known by now, owning ice cream trucks isn’t easy, especially when it’s winter.
Making sure you can keep a stable income enough to meet your expenses is not an easy task in winter. With so many warm alternatives, people do go for ice cream but not as regularly as in summer.
Nonetheless, this doesn’t mean no one eats ice cream at all. In today’s world, ice cream is eaten year-round so you don’t need to worry as much.
Plus, with all the tips in this article, you’ll be sure to keep your truck bustling!