The Popularity of the Ice Cream Truck

The Popularity of the Ice Cream Truck

When folks head to the pool in summer, the sights and sounds of the ice cream truck are a familiar scene.  If you have kids, you’ve likely had to quickly grab some cash so your child could buy a treat from the ‘ice cream man’.  In fact, you probably remember those days yourself! 

The Birth of the Ice Cream Truck

 Ice cream trucks go way back to the late 1920’s.  Here’s how it all began.

Harry Burt Sr., a confectioner in Youngstown, Ohio, created a brick of vanilla ice cream encased in chocolate.  Since it was messy to eat, his son suggested he put it on a wooden stick and freeze the treat.  The idea took off and the Good Humor bar was born.

Burt was the first ice cream vendor to move from pushcarts to motorized trucks, equipped with mobile freezers. His salesmen were free to roam the streets with the trucks and bring Good Humor ice cream to the people.

In 1932, some 14 million Good Humor bars were sold in New York and Chicago alone.  Burt’s idea to equip the trucks with bells attracted the attention of nearby children. New friends were made, and picnics and parties were held near the wheels of the ice cream truck.  

By the 1950’s, Good Humor had some 2,000 trucks operating across the country.  The majority of their customers were under age 12.  The company sold its fleet of trucks in the 1970’s to focus on grocery store sales.  Some of the trucks were sold to independent distributors who have since carried on the neighborhood tradition.

How to Make Your Ice Cream Truck Profitable

If you are ready to get your ice cream truck business started, here are some steps you should follow.

Catch the Entrepreneurial Spirit

To be successful, you must have the grit to follow through on research and develop an effective business plan. You must be willing to get out there and sell your ice cream, even when you’re tired or it’s super hot outside.  Grit is defined as the “perseverance and passion for long-term goals.”

Gather Necessary Supplies

Make sure you have the basic necessities to operate your business.  Get a truck that you are comfortable spending a lot of time in.  Make sure you have the proper insurance coverage.  Your truck will need a refrigeration system to keep the ice cream cold.  You will need a Point of Sale system that is meant for the mobile food industry.  Don’t forget to stock up on food service supplies needed to run your business.  Buy them in bulk to save some money. 

Ice Cream Offerings

You will want a variety of ice cream flavors and treats to sell.  Decide if you will offer mostly frozen treats, scooped ice cream or soft serve.  Some products sell better with adults and others with kids.  Consider having a few healthier options on hand too, such as vegan and lactose-free products. 

Return on Investment

Understand the costs it will take to run your business and the revenue potential.  If you have the right equipment, offer a variety of products, and market your business consistently, you can make some good money. 

Have a Marketing Plan

Marketing is essential for any business.  Since you are working with the public, high-quality, exceptional customer service is key.  Remember to offer your patrons a spoon or napkin, be polite and smile.  This will keep people coming back for more!  Take advantage of social media too.

Craving an Ice Cream Treat?

If you want an ice cream treat or are celebrating a special occasion, Norwood Ice Cream is here to serve you!  We are a small ice cream shop, located in Eldersburg, Maryland.  Each unique ice cream flavor is handcrafted in small batches right in our store.  We cater weddings, parties, special celebrations, corporate events and more.  Drop by for a visit or call us at 410-875-7238 for more information.