Start Your Own
Ice Cream Business in Australia

how to start an ice cream business

Start your own Ice Cream Business with our complete step by step guide by

Table of Contents

Welcome to the world of sweet indulgence! If you’re passionate about frozen treats and dream of owning your own business, then opening an ice cream shop could be the perfect venture for you. Australia is a nation that loves ice cream, and there’s always room for more players in the market. With the right marketing strategies, you can easily carve out a place for yourself and attract a loyal customer base.

But where do you begin?

First and foremost, you’ll need to create a solid business plan that outlines your goals, target market, and budget. Then, you’ll need to consider your branding and marketing strategy. Ask yourself these questions;

  • How will you differentiate yourself from the competition?
  • What kind of experience do you want to offer your customers?
  • Do you want to focus on classic flavors or innovative twists?

These are all important questions to consider.

Creating a memorable customer experience.

One of the keys to success in the ice cream industry is creating a memorable customer experience. From the moment a customer walks into your shop, they should feel welcomed and excited to try your products. Consider investing in attractive and eye-catching packaging, creating a cozy and inviting atmosphere, and offering a range of flavors and toppings that cater to different tastes and dietary requirements.

Marketing your ice cream business is also crucial for success. Social media is a powerful tool for reaching a wide audience, so make sure to create a strong presence on platforms like Instagram and Facebook. You can also consider partnering with local businesses, hosting events, and offering promotions and discounts to entice new customers.

Overall, starting an ice cream business in Australia can be a fun and rewarding experience. With the right approach, you can create a beloved brand that becomes a go-to destination for anyone with a sweet tooth.

Main reasons to start an Ice cream business

If you’re considering starting an ice cream business, you may be wondering what the benefits are. Here are some of the main reasons to consider taking the plunge:

Passion for frozen treats

If you’re someone who loves ice cream and has a passion for creating delicious flavors, then starting an ice cream business can be a dream come true.

Potential for high profits

The ice cream industry can be quite lucrative, with the potential for high profit margins if you manage your costs effectively.

Strong demand

Australians love ice cream, and there’s always a high demand for quality frozen treats. As long as you offer a great product and market it effectively, you should be able to attract plenty of customers.

Creative freedom

Running an ice cream business allows you to experiment with different flavors, toppings, and presentation styles, giving you plenty of creative freedom.


Depending on the type of business model you choose, an ice cream business can offer plenty of flexibility in terms of hours and location. You could operate a mobile cart, set up a pop-up shop, or open a permanent brick-and-mortar location.

Community involvement

Running an ice cream business can be a great way to become involved in your local community. You could partner with other businesses, sponsor events, or participate in charity fundraisers to build goodwill and attract customers.

How to start an Ice cream business

In this guide we will take a look at the core components required when starting an Ice Cream business. So get yourself a bowl of your favourite icecream and start reading.

Research and create a business plan

Identify your target market

Start by determining who your ideal customers are. Consider factors such as age, income, lifestyle, and geographic location. This information will help you determine the best location for your business, as well as what types of flavors and toppings to offer.

Analyse your competition

Research other ice cream businesses in your area to identify what they offer, what their pricing is like, and what their strengths and weaknesses are. This will help you identify gaps in the market that you can fill with your own offerings.

Determine your startup costs

Create a detailed budget that outlines all of the expenses associated with starting your ice cream business. This might include equipment, inventory, permits and licenses, marketing and advertising, and rent or lease payments. Be sure to account for unexpected expenses as well.

Outline your marketing strategy

Determine how you plan to promote your ice cream business to your target market. This might include social media marketing, local advertising, and community outreach. Consider what types of promotions and discounts you can offer to attract new customers.

Develop a timeline

Create a timeline that outlines all of the key milestones in the launch of your ice cream business. This might include obtaining permits and licenses, purchasing equipment, creating your menu, developing your branding and marketing materials, and hosting a grand opening event.

Set goals and metrics

Identify specific goals for your ice cream business, such as sales targets or customer acquisition goals. Determine how you will measure progress towards these goals, and what metrics you will use to determine the success of your business over time.

By conducting thorough research and creating a comprehensive business plan, you’ll be better equipped to make informed decisions and set your ice cream business up for success.

Decide on your business model

Brick-and-Mortar Store

This is a traditional storefront location where customers can come in and purchase ice cream. Brick-and-mortar stores offer a fixed location with a dedicated customer base, and allow you to offer a wider variety of flavors and toppings. However, they also require a larger upfront investment in rent, equipment, and utilities.

Food Truck

A food truck is a mobile ice cream shop that allows you to reach customers in different locations. Food trucks offer more flexibility in terms of location and can help you reach new customers. However, they require additional permits and licenses to operate, and may not be able to offer as many flavors and toppings as a brick-and-mortar store.

Pop-Up Shop

A pop-up shop is a temporary location where you can sell ice cream. This option allows you to test different locations and build a customer base without committing to a long-term lease. Pop-up shops are also less expensive to start up than brick-and-mortar stores, but they require careful planning to ensure a successful launch and may not offer as much variety in flavors and toppings.

When choosing your ice cream business model, consider your budget, goals, and the needs of your target market. If you have a limited budget, a pop-up shop or food truck may be the best option. If you want a fixed location and are willing to invest in equipment and rent, a brick-and-mortar store may be the way to go. Ultimately, the key is to choose the model that best aligns with your goals and will allow you to deliver high-quality ice cream to your customers.

Obtain necessary permits and licenses

Register your business

Before you can obtain any permits or licenses, you will need to register your business with the Australian Business Register (ABR) and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). This will involve choosing a business name and registering for an Australian Business Number (ABN) and a Tax File Number (TFN).

Obtain a food business license

In Australia, all businesses that serve food to the public must have a food business license. This license is issued by the local council or state government and requires an inspection of your premises to ensure that you are meeting food safety and hygiene standards.

Register with your local council

Depending on your location, you may need to register your business with your local council in addition to obtaining a food business license. This will ensure that you are compliant with local regulations and zoning requirements.

Obtain other necessary permits and licenses

Depending on your business model, you may need to obtain additional permits and licenses. For example, if you are operating a food truck, you will need to obtain a mobile food vendor permit. If you plan to serve alcohol alongside your ice cream, you will need to obtain a liquor license.

Complete any necessary training

In some cases, you may need to complete food safety training or obtain specific certifications in order to operate your ice cream business. Check with your local council or state government to determine if this is required in your area.

Starting an ice cream business in Australia requires careful planning and compliance with local regulations. Make sure to research the requirements in your area and complete all necessary steps to ensure that your business is compliant with local laws and regulations.

Choose suppliers and equipment

Research suppliers for ingredients and packaging

When it comes to ingredients for your ice cream, you’ll want to source high-quality products that will help set your business apart. Consider factors such as price, quality, and availability when choosing a supplier. In addition to ingredients, you’ll also need to purchase packaging for your ice cream products. Look for packaging that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing, as this can help to attract customers to your products.

Choose your ice cream equipment

Depending on your business model, you may need to purchase equipment such as ice cream machines, freezers, and serving utensils. When choosing your equipment, consider factors such as capacity, ease of use, and cost. You may also want to consider purchasing equipment that is energy-efficient, as this can help to reduce your ongoing expenses.

Consider leasing equipment

If you are on a tight budget, you may want to consider leasing some of your equipment instead of purchasing it outright. This can help to reduce your upfront costs and may also provide you with more flexibility if you need to upgrade or replace your equipment in the future.

Establish relationships with suppliers

Once you have chosen your suppliers and equipment, it’s important to establish good relationships with them. This can help to ensure that you have a reliable supply of ingredients and equipment and may also provide you with access to discounts and other benefits.

Choosing suppliers and equipment is an important part of starting an ice cream business in Australia. Take the time to research your options carefully and choose high-quality products that will help to set your business apart.

Develop your brand

Choose a memorable and meaningful name

Your business name should be easy to remember and communicate what your business is all about. Consider incorporating a playful or catchy element that will help your business stand out from competitors.

Develop a logo and visual identity

Your logo and visual identity should be cohesive and consistent across all of your marketing materials and packaging. This can help to establish a strong brand presence and make your business more memorable to customers. Consider working with a graphic designer to create a professional and eye-catching logo and branding materials.

Create a unique selling proposition

Your unique selling proposition (USP) is what sets your ice cream business apart from competitors. Consider what makes your ice cream special and communicate this clearly to customers through your branding and marketing materials.

Consider your target audience

Your branding should also be tailored to your target audience. Consider the age, gender, and interests of your ideal customer and design your branding and marketing materials accordingly.

Develop a consistent social media presence

Social media is an important tool for marketing your ice cream business in Australia. Develop a consistent presence on platforms such as Instagram and Facebook and use these channels to showcase your products and engage with customers.

Developing a strong brand is an important part of starting an ice cream business in Australia. Take the time to carefully consider your business name, logo, and visual identity, and develop a cohesive brand presence across all of your marketing materials and packaging. This will help to attract and retain customers and establish your business as a memorable and successful brand.

Create your menu

Experiment with flavors and toppings: Take the time to experiment with different flavors and toppings to create a menu that will appeal to your target market’s tastes. Consider offering a mix of classic and innovative flavors, and incorporate seasonal flavors and ingredients to keep your menu fresh and exciting.

Cater to dietary preferences

In addition to traditional dairy-based ice cream, consider offering options for vegans, lactose intolerant individuals, and those with other dietary restrictions. This can help to expand your customer base and make your business more inclusive.

Consider portion sizes and pricing

When creating your menu, consider offering a range of portion sizes and pricing options to appeal to different budgets and preferences. You may also want to consider offering specials and discounts to encourage customers to try new flavors and visit your business regularly.

Use descriptive language

When listing your menu items, use descriptive language that will help customers visualize the flavors and toppings. This can help to entice customers to try new flavors and make your menu more engaging and memorable.

Display your menu creatively

Consider how you will display your menu to customers. You may want to use a chalkboard or digital display that can be updated easily, or you may want to use creative signage and lighting to draw attention to your menu.

Creating a menu that caters to your target market’s tastes and dietary preferences is an important part of starting an ice cream business in Australia. Take the time to experiment with different flavors and toppings, and consider offering options for different dietary needs. Use descriptive language and creative displays to make your menu engaging and memorable, and consider offering specials and discounts to encourage customers to visit your business regularly.

Develop a marketing strategy

Use social media: Social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter are powerful tools for building brand awareness and attracting customers. Use these platforms to showcase your menu, post photos of your ice cream, and share updates about your business. Consider running targeted ads and promotions to reach potential customers in your area.

Local advertising

Consider placing ads in local newspapers, magazines, and online publications to reach potential customers in your area. You may also want to distribute flyers or postcards in your community to promote your business.

Community outreach

Participating in community events, festivals, and other local gatherings is a great way to build awareness and connect with potential customers. Consider setting up a booth at a local event, hosting a tasting or ice cream social, or sponsoring a local sports team or charity event.

Host events

Hosting events such as ice cream socials, tastings, and promotions can help to generate buzz and attract customers to your business. Consider partnering with other local businesses to co-host events and increase your reach.

Offer promotions

Offering promotions such as discounts, loyalty programs, and referral incentives can help to attract and retain customers. Consider offering special deals during slow periods or seasonal promotions to keep customers engaged and coming back for more.

Developing a comprehensive marketing strategy is essential for building awareness and attracting customers to your ice cream business in Australia. Use social media and local advertising to reach potential customers, participate in community events to build connections, and consider hosting events and offering promotions to drive foot traffic to your location. By taking a proactive approach to marketing, you can build a loyal customer base and establish your business as a go-to destination for delicious ice cream.

Launch your business

Host a grand opening event

A grand opening event is a great way to generate buzz and attract customers to your new business. Consider offering discounts, free samples, and other special deals to customers who attend your grand opening. You may also want to host a ribbon-cutting ceremony and invite local dignitaries, media outlets, and influencers to help spread the word.

Offer special deals to early customers

In addition to your grand opening event, consider offering special deals to customers who visit your store during the first few weeks of operation. This can help to generate excitement and encourage repeat business.

Make a big splash on social media

Use social media to promote your grand opening event, special deals, and other promotions leading up to your launch. Share photos and videos of your ice cream, post behind-the-scenes content of your business preparation, and use hashtags to reach a wider audience.

Consider partnering with local influencers

Influencers can help to generate buzz and attract customers to your new business. Consider reaching out to local food bloggers, Instagram influencers, and other social media personalities to help promote your business to their followers.

Launching your ice cream business can be an exciting and rewarding experience. By hosting a grand opening event, offering special deals to early customers, making a splash on social media, and partnering with local influencers, you can build a loyal customer base and establish your business as a go-to destination for delicious ice cream in Australia.

Continuously improve and innovate

Track your sales and customer feedback

Keep detailed records of your sales, including which flavors and toppings are most popular, and monitor customer feedback through surveys and reviews. Use this information to identify areas where you can make improvements and introduce new offerings.

Experiment with new flavors and offerings

Don’t be afraid to experiment with new flavors and toppings to keep your menu fresh and exciting. Consider creating seasonal flavors or collaborating with other local businesses to create unique offerings.

Attend industry events and trade shows

Attend industry events and trade shows to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and innovations in the ice cream industry. This can help you to identify new opportunities and stay ahead of the competition.

Continuously improve your marketing strategy

Keep your marketing strategy up-to-date by experimenting with new social media platforms, advertising techniques, and community outreach initiatives. Stay engaged with your customers on social media and respond promptly to any feedback or concerns they may have.

By continuously improving and innovating your ice cream business, you can keep your customers coming back for more and stay ahead of the competition. Whether you’re experimenting with new flavors and toppings, attending industry events, or refining your marketing strategy, there are always opportunities to improve and grow your business.

Costs when starting an ice cream business

Startup costs

You’ll need to invest in equipment, supplies, and inventory to get your business up and running. This can include ice cream machines, freezers, serving utensils, ingredients, packaging materials, and more. Depending on the size and scope of your business, startup costs can range from a few thousand to tens of thousands of dollars.

Location costs

Depending on your business model, you may need to factor in costs associated with leasing or purchasing a physical location. This can include rent, utilities, maintenance, and insurance. Keep in mind that prime locations in high-traffic areas can be more expensive, but can also bring in more customers.

Permits and licenses

As mentioned earlier, you’ll need to obtain permits and licenses from your local council or state government. These can include food service permits, health and safety inspections, and zoning approvals. The costs of these permits and licenses can vary depending on your location and business model.

Marketing and advertising

It’s important to have a strong marketing and advertising strategy to attract customers to your ice cream business. This can include social media advertising, local advertising, and community outreach initiatives. You may also need to hire a graphic designer to create branding materials such as a logo, website, and packaging design. These costs can add up quickly, but are essential for the success of your business.


Depending on the size of your business, you may need to hire staff to help with operations, such as serving customers, making ice cream, and managing inventory. You’ll need to factor in the costs of wages, taxes, and benefits when budgeting for staffing.

Ongoing expenses

Once your business is up and running, you’ll need to factor in ongoing expenses such as inventory replenishment, equipment maintenance and repair, and marketing and advertising costs. It’s important to have a solid financial plan in place to ensure that you can cover these expenses over the long term.

Overall, starting an ice cream business can be a significant investment, but can also be a rewarding and profitable venture. To ensure that your business is financially viable, it’s important to conduct thorough research, create a comprehensive budget and financial plan, and be prepared to invest in your business over the long term.

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