How to Start an Ice Cream Shop in South Africa

Updated on 8 July 2024

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ice cream shop south africa

Launching an ice cream shop may appeal to many entrepreneurs interested in exploring the dessert industry. Given South Africa’s mostly warm climate, ice cream remains a local favourite, making it a potentially profitable venture. With a wide range of style options available, including classic dairy, frozen yoghurt, sorbet, gelato, and frozen custard, ice cream is great for starting a new venture.

To help you get started, here’s a quick guide on what you need to know about starting an ice cream shop business.

South Africa’s Ice Cream Shop Market

The dessert market is seeing a rise in popularity in South Africa. This is evident with the entry of international dessert brands that have entered the country. Examples are US doughnut giant Krispy Kreme and its competitor Dunkin’ Donuts, and Häagen-Dazs ice cream. In the same market is emerging competitor YoCoco, an artisanal ice cream company based in Johannesburg, that uses locally sourced ingredients. The founder is Kwa-Zulu Natal-based entrepreneur, Sinenhlanhla Ndlela founded the company in 2016.

Read: 8 Useful Catering Business Ideas 

What So Sell

The ice cream industry is highly competitive and it’s not enough to only exist – to compete you must bring something different to the table and find innovative ways to stand out.

Some ideas for new store owners are using high-quality ingredients and incorporating local flavours and cultural influences such as alcohol, tea or spices. Ice cream businesses are also doing well by offering options catering for dietary restrictions such as vegan, gluten-free, etc. Some replacements for dairy bases include coconut milk, almond milk and oat milk.

It’s important to do your research and understand your target market. By identifying your target customer, you can tailor your offerings to suit their preferences.

Legal and Regulatory Considerations

In addition to registering with the CIPC, certain businesses are required to possess a business licence in terms of the Business Act. This includes businesses making or selling food that can go off.

Read: More on licensing and permits for the food and beverage service industry 

An ice cream shop will also need to have a Certificate of Acceptability, which confirms that your business is meeting the basic food safety and hygiene requirements according to the law. Businesses can apply for a Certificate of Acceptability from the local authority, which is typically the municipality.

Store Set-Up

The requirements for an ice cream shop are extensive. This is an important consideration when you are investing in this kind of venture. The Culinary Equipment Company provides the following list:

  • Freezers and refrigeration units
  • Ice cream dipping cabinet
  • Ice cream merchandising case
  • Drop-in ice cream bar freezer
  • Refrigerated display case
  • Ice cream dispenser
  • Soft serve ice cream dispenser
  • Beverage dispense
  • Syrup pumps
  • Ice cream cone dispenser
  • Toppings dispensers
  • Ice cream dishes
  • Sundae dishes
  • Ice cream scoops
  • Ice cream spades
  • Ice cream dipper
  • Toppings spoons
  • Disposable ice cream dishes
  • Tables and seating
  • Cash registers
  • Point of sales system
  • Menu board

Read: A Guide to Launching a Food Truck Business 

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