Hand-made gelato shop or gelato café?
Have you considered selling other pastry products alongside your gelato, or opening a café in your shop? In fact, remember that gelato shops generally work for just a few months of the year, while gelato cafés can afford to stay open all year round. Even though gelato is increasingly being consumed all year round, variety is a way of ensuring sales without worrying about seasonal issues. Having said that, no single solution is more correct than another; the important thing is to understand the differences.
The cost of gelato is very limited: the cost of raw materials makes up around 12% of the selling price (or if we include milk and cream, etc. among the raw materials, this might reach 20%). The same cannot be said for the drinks, sandwiches, and pastries usually sold in a café, which can even reach 50%. Do not forget, though, that whereas the cost of the ingredients in gelato provides bigger profit margins, it sells for a relatively low price, so good sales volume is vital.
Overheads would also seem to favor a hand-made gelato shop, which requires less space and therefore a lower rental or purchase price, as well fewer staff.
One of your most important decisions is where to open your point of sale. First of all, make sure there are no other gelato shops in the immediate vicinity; then, evaluate the area: pedestrian precincts or shopping streets mean plenty of customers passing your front door. If you want a gelato shop where clients can sit down to eat, and not just one where you sell ice cream to take away, it’s good to have a parking lot close by.
A gelato shop in the city center can charge more, while a point of sale on the outskirts has to adjust its prices to the income of the neighborhood's residents, which may well be lower.