As the evening rush comes to an end each night, you take inventory of the leftover pans of gelato, the blinking lights on the soft serve machines indicating which flavors are low and the dipping cabinet’s nearly empty ice cream buckets. You determine what needs to be produced and hesitate as you make the move to throw away the excess – understanding that an almost empty display is unappetizing and it’s time to clean and prepare fresh-made products for the next day. The hesitation stems from the fact that you are throwing away profits, which no business feels good about. The question is why are you feeding leftovers to the trash, when you could be making cash?
The solution is simply, novelties. Leftover frozen yogurt, ice cream and gelato all have an amazing ability to be transformed into unique and on-trend treats that can reap additional profits and diversify your menu – saving your business from tossing hard-earned money in the garbage. Here are some relatively easy ideas and the tools required to get started:
A resurfaced favorite, frozen pops have continued to gain traction over the last few years. New molds and coatings have emerged, creating unique shapes and flavor profiles that visually attract customers.
What you need to create and sell these: Frozen pop molds and sticks, piping bags, an offset spatula, a freezer, a tall glass for dipping, optional coatings and garnishes for dipping and decorating, and a frozen display case to showcase them. (Note: If you have a gelato display case, there are frozen pop displays that fit inside
Frozen Cakes & Monoportions
A staple in most frozen dessert shops from independents to the large QSRs, frozen cakes are one of the easiest ways to utilize excess product. More recently, individual servings (monoportions) have become popular for your single clientele looking for a sweet treat at home.
What you need to create and sell these: Frozen cake or monoportion mold, an offset spatula, a freezer, a semifreddo to coat the frozen dessert which then holds the glaze or icing best, glazing rack, garnishes, cake boxes and a frozen display. For advanced cakes, layers of sponge and fillings can be incorporated too.
Similar to the monoportions mentioned above, individual bites of desserts have created a demand for those watching their waistlines. The frozen bonbon offers up a single serving that is filling and full of flavor.
What you need to create and sell these: Bonbon mold, piping bags, an offset spatula, a freezer, flavor coatings or tempered chocolate to coat them, glazing rack or glass to dip them, garnishes and a frozen display case.
Ice Cream Sandwiches/Profiteroles/Cannoli
Frozen dessert sandwiches and pastries bring the best of both worlds. Cookies, baked cannoli shells and profiteroles are filled with delicious ice cream, gelato or frozen yogurt to create a 2-in-1 treat.
What you need to create and sell these: Premade cookies, cannoli and profiterole shells, piping bag, garnishes and coatings if needed and a frozen display case.
Milkshakes and Smoothies
Milkshakes and smoothies are unique novelties that require preparation at the time of order – which can sometimes disrupt the flow of traffic in soft serve lines, and as patrons peruse your display case. Having extra frozen desserts in pans or pints in a nearby freezer is a great way to use leftover product and improve flow.
What you need to create and sell these: Blender, freezer to store leftover frozen desserts, ingredients for the shakes and smoothies (milk, ice, fruit, and yogurt), spatula, cups, lids, straws and garnishes
The next wave of reinvention for the cupcake is the frozen cupcake! The cupcake is filled with a frozen dessert in the middle and topped with a semifreddo topping and garnished. Consumers can have their ice cream and cake in one.
What you need to create and sell these: Premade cupcakes, cupcake wrappers, piping bag, small round dough cutter, semifreddo, coatings and garnishes, and a frozen display case.
Pints for Home Use
The easiest upsell is the take-home pint or container. The excess frozen product is scooped into the container, a label is placed on it and it’s ready for patrons to grab out of a frozen display case.
What you need to create and sell these: Pint or similar containers for carry-out, labels and a frozen display case.
Each of these novelty ideas is relatively easy to implement, but yes, they do come with some additional expenses. The most costly can be a frozen display case, as these items need to be visually displayed to encourage the upsell. They are best when displayed somewhere in the natural flow of the store, and before the register. Freezer space in the back of the house is required as many of the items involve a step where the products need to be hard frozen before garnished and finessed for a sale.
Time is another factor as novelties require preparation, therefore, demanding extra hours from employees. However, if it is worked into the nightly checklist of how to handle leftover product, the time can be managed. There is also an opportunity to utilize employees during slow times during the day to create these as well.
The last item required to successfully implement novelties is promotions. New and novel products should be visible on menus, promoted via posters and point-of-sale signage, labeled in the display cases and overall a general part of your business’s marketing plan. Novelties are very popular and exciting right now, therefore, they should play an important role in your offerings.
The good news is that not only do novelties save you from throwing away money, but because they are unique upsells they can be sold at higher premiums than standard ice cream, frozen yogurt and gelato. To ensure this, they should be executed well and the presentation should evoke a “wow” factor so the costs are justified. The higher price points on these items help balance the initial equipment investments and additional time required of staff.
As you evaluate the evening’s frozen leftovers and what to do, just remember there’s always the option to turn today’s trash into tomorrow’s cash!