11 Ice Cream Franchises – Small Business Trends

A delicious ice cream franchise could be the right option if you are looking for new franchise opportunities. Ice cream franchises are always popular with customers year-round and don’t require as much specific expertise as other restaurant chains. We’ll look at some of the best ice cream franchise opportunities available that are worth exploring.



What is an Ice Cream Franchise?

An ice cream franchise is a business that sells products such as ice cream, frozen yogurt, ice cream, shaved ice, and other frozen treats and frozen desserts through its ice cream shops.

The ice cream industry in 2022

Ice cream products such as frozen drinks, frozen desserts and other tasty frozen treats have been in constant demand over the past few years. Ice cream shops attract a wide range of customers from all demographics and have a proven business model that makes a dessert franchise a great option for entrepreneurs to consider.

Why You Should Consider an Ice Cream Franchise

Fresh ice cream is always in demand, and there are plenty of ways to get creative with this type of franchise. One of the best things about a franchise model is that you don’t have to invest heavily in branding to market a new brand. Instead, you take something that already exists and is popular and make it available in a new location, so the overall initial investment is comparatively lower.

  • Market need: For families and customers looking for new restaurants and experiences, an ice cream franchise might be a good option.
  • Low initial investment: Compared to building a brand from scratch, you can take an existing business model and make it work for you
  • Support: With franchise ownership comes additional resources to help your business succeed, as well as team support and a sense of community.

Best Ice Cream Franchise Options

There are many different types of ice cream franchises you can consider depending on what interests your market. For example, pure ice cream franchises offer homemade ice cream products. Others offer ice cream and options like frozen yogurt, yogurt smoothies, dairy-free ice cream, and more. Additionally, there are franchises that serve both food and desserts that you can consider.

1. Rita’s Italian gelato

Rita’s Italian Ice is an established brand and franchise of Italian ice cream that has always been a local community favorite. The franchise is known for its unique flavors and frozen desserts, including shaved ice. Rita’s is one of the top frozen dessert franchises in the United States and can be operated seasonally or year-round. Rita’s Italian Ice’s initial franchise fee is $35,000, with liquid capital ranging from $100,000 to $300,000.

2. Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt

Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt is a self-serve topping bar that offers custom frozen treat options. Customers can add whatever toppings they like at an Orange Leaf frozen yogurt store, and it’s a fun outing for families. Each franchise store is a partner, and Orange Leaf works with owners for marketing support and building a sense of community. Franchise fees start at $25,000, with additional costs to get stores to expand.

3. Cold Stone Creamery

Cold Stone Creamery is one of the most ubiquitous ice cream franchises. The Cold Stone store makes its signature soft serve ice cream in waffle cones on a marble slab, customizing the options according to customers’ wishes. Cold Stone also offers other products including banana splits, juice smoothies, and more. Cold Stone Creamery continues to be a popular franchise option after more than a decade due to its unique positioning as a marble slab creamery.

5. Dairy Queen

Dairy Queen is one of the most famous American ice cream brands. Considered as American as apple pie, Dairy Queen is a franchise with strong notoriety and many loyal followers thanks to its unique products. The Dairy Queen ice cream shop franchise serves branded ice cream and merchandise, including Blizzard specialties such as pumpkin pie and snickerdoodles. Franchising begins with an introductory call, with team members offering support every step of the way to help you get your sweet business off the ground.

6. Baskin Robin

Another classic American brand, Baskin Robbins, has been a popular franchise choice in many areas due to its ice cream and other products. Baskin Robbins sells ice cream, cakes and other products, so customers have plenty of choice. Additionally, Baskin Robbins offers a wide range of incentives to make the franchise more attractive, including reduced royalties, payment plans and contributions.

7. Dippin Dots

Dippin Dots is one of the best options if you’re looking for an ice cream franchise that’s not limited to soft serve ice cream. Dippin Dots are frozen pearl ice cream using liquid nitrogen and are available in stores and convenience stores. The novelty of the ice cream, as well as the different flavors available, make it very popular with customers. The Dippin Dots franchising process begins with an exploratory call with the development team to ensure suitability of location and market options.

8. Jérémie’s Italian ice cream

For entrepreneurs looking for a cool and interesting brand of Italian ice cream, Jeremiah’s Italian Ice is one to check out. This is a frozen dessert franchise focused on innovation and bringing something new to the regions, so there are plenty of opportunities. The brand has a dedicated set of followers and also provides a lot of support to franchise owners. Jeremiah’s currently has areas listed where franchise opportunities are available and can be contacted for more information on franchise fees and initial investment.

9. Promotes freezing

Fosters Freeze is a soft dessert establishment with great growth potential. The franchise is an iconic California brand that serves fresh ice cream, hot dogs, hamburgers, soft drinks and other foods daily. It’s a great example of an ice cream brand that offers something for everyone, making it an attractive franchise opportunity. To get started, you’ll need to complete an application and a representative will contact you to walk you through the process and discuss franchise fees.

More Ice Cream and Frozen Yogurt Franchise Opportunities

If you’re looking for more franchises to consider, there are several more that should be on your radar.

9. Menchies

If you’re looking to attract a wider audience, a Menchies franchise might be the right fit. They offer frozen yogurt with no added sugar. Options include dairy-free, fat-free, gluten-free, and kosher options. It is also suitable for vegans. Plus, it’s a self-service model, making it easy to manage and growing incredibly quickly as a brand. Menchies is a top franchise with a lot of promise, so it’s definitely worth exploring.

10. Its ice cream

For something a little more unique, why not consider a truck-based franchise like Kona Ice? With a franchise like Kona Ice, you can reach a lot more customers through a truck-based business model, which allows you to have more mobility. Kona Ice includes chewy and delicious shaved ice products that are immensely popular, and the franchise has grown exponentially. The initial investment includes franchise fees, inventory pack and truck fees.

11. Ben & Jerry’s

Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream is one of the best ice cream brands in the world for its homemade ice cream feel and brand recognition. Ben & Jerry’s began franchising in the 1980s and has gradually grown to over 500 locations worldwide. With iconic flavors like Phish Food and Cherry Garcia, Ben & Jerry’s has a huge lineup of ice cream that makes it a suitable franchise option. Their first ice cream shop started small, and the company is looking to expand its footprint in specific markets, so check their needs carefully.

How to Choose the Best Franchise to Set Up Your Ice Cream Parlor

Choosing the best ice cream franchise will include reviewing documents such as The Franchise Business Review and evaluating several different things, such as:

  1. Market potential: How many clients do you expect to see in a day, week, month or year? Predicting market potential by area will help you compare the initial investment against the potential return:
  2. Competition: Who are the other competitors in the market? Is there a particular area where there is a need for more dining options and desserts, but nothing is opening up?
  3. Franchise cost: You’ll need to weigh the cost of the franchise, including fees, as well as location, rent, and other financial numbers to make sure you can run the business steadily as it grows.
  4. Brand value: What are the best-known brands in your area and are they currently there? Are there franchises that customers hope to see but aren’t? Before selecting a franchise, you can research the types of brands customers want to see.

Which ice cream franchises sell ice cream cakes?

Baskin Robbins franchises sell ice cream cakes alongside their ice cream products.

How much does it cost to start an ice cream shop?

The cost of starting an ice cream shop will vary depending on franchise fees, locations, and other variables. Typically, an investment of over $100,000 is needed as a starting point to run an ice cream franchise.

Are ice cream franchises profitable?

Ice cream franchises can be profitable for business owners depending on the market, customer demographics, and competition present in the area.

Image: Envato Elements


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