Ice Cream is Business?

By Team 2017 Member

When thinking of travel, I always wonder what type of food am I going to be able to try. When it came to San Francisco, I did some initial research and found that they have some of the best ice cream places, that are good business models. So I grabbed some group mates, and we headed on an ice cream crawl {the best kind of crawl there is}. We hit three different places, and here’s how they ranked:

1.Swensen’s Ice Cream

Walking into Swensen’s, we did not expect it to be some of the best ice cream we have ever had, but it was. It is a tiny, hole in the wall ice cream shop, that can fit maybe 8 customers inside at once. They have their flavors up on the wall and are ready for you to choose your flavor. Cannot pick? No problem; they give you samples of any kind you would like before you make your final choice. Upon choosing, they serve up your ice cream and give it to you with a smile. The key aspect of this business is their slogan “Good as father used to make.” This slogan makes customers see that this is a lifelong, family-owned business that relies on quality. Quality is what they produce; their ice cream was smooth, creamy, and decadent to the last drop. Every single person on the crawl had zero complaints about the ice cream and the business!

2. Ghirardelli

This popular, well-known chocolate company, not only has chocolate, but they have ice cream as well. Let me tell you, it is some of the best ice cream I have ever had. It wasn’t just the ice cream that made it great, it was the atmosphere and the employees that made the ice cream worth it. When we walked in, we were greeted with smiling faces and people who looked happy to be at work. Once we ordered, we were given a number, took a seat, and waited. The aspect of Ghirardelli that was better than the rest, was the attention to customer service. They did not make you stand and wait for your ice cream; they brought your ice cream to you, once it was made perfectly to order. The ice cream was smooth and rich, without being overly sweet. This business clearly followed one of the cardinal rules of business; the customer always comes first!

3. Normans

Third on the list, but not the worst ice cream I have had, is Norman’s ice cream. We picked this place as they had won a certificate of excellence from TripAdvisor in 2015. We walked in and it was another mom and pop place with enough room to order, get served, and eat ice cream outside. With the shop being so small, they only had one employee working, and she was not the most friendly. Through our entrepreneurship classes, we have been taught to focus on the customer, but the lady behind the counter seemed more worried about the sale and pushing us out the door. When I look at a business I want to spend money at, I look for a place that is going to treat me with the same respect that I give to you. As for the ice cream, it was nothing special. It was slightly crystallized, meaning the ice cream was not fresh, and the sugar content was through the roof. I had a hard time finishing my one scoop of cookie dough due to the sweetness factor. If Norman’s could take some of the sugar out of their ice cream and put it into their customer service, they would have a thriving business.


While this journey was about fun and ice cream, I learned about specific business models that I would like to follow in my own business one day. Good traditions are key to a long lasting business, and the customer is always right. Without customers, you do not have a business. While this trip to San Francisco was about startups and education, you do not need to be in a classroom to learn about entrepreneurship; you can learn about it in the most unconventional ways.

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