How much does opening up a gelato parlour cost?


Economic downturns often serve as a stimulus to look for new business opportunities and, in recent years,  the italian gelato sector has been one of the few market “oases”, also because it has remained buoyant, continuing to grow and develop in Italy and in the rest of the world. 

Of course, opening up a gelato parlour doesn’t mean making money effortlessly: being an entrepreneur takes commitment, good strategy, as well as detailed assessment of investments, costs, revenues, risks and opportunities.
So just what is it going to cost you to open up a hand-made gelato parlour? To answer that, we need to start from your product range: hand-made gelato can be made in various ways, in the form of gelato on a stick, or with cakes, frozen desserts, coffee, chocolate or smoothies. You may decide to make just a few creamy express gelato flavours instead of a wide range of hand-made gelatos. 
These choices will affect the costs of machines, showcases and equipment (which can vary from €50,000 up to €80,000), as well as the need to purchase raw materials over the course of the year. At the same time, of course, a wider range on your menu allows you to make year-round sales as well as have customers throughout the day.
What machines will you need to make your hand-made gelato? A batch freezer and a pasteurizer, or else you could opt for a combined machine depending on the production system you have gone for. Then you’ll need a cabinet freezer to store the gelato, if you decide you want to use a display unit. You won’t need to make that purchase though, if you decide to use a tub unit for selling and a workbench (preferably refrigerated) to make your gelato. If you also want to sell single gelato portions such as ice lollies or frozen desserts, you will need a blast chiller for production and a display cabinet for sales, one for each product range you will be offering.
In addition, there are all of the costs relating to restructuring the premises, electrical systems, and plumbing; and finally you’ll need to work out how much to spend on interior design for the premises, on information at the point of sale plus the various permits you’ll be needing.
It goes without saying, especially if you aren’t gelato experts, that you’ll need to learn about production methods: there are several gelato-making schools, each with its own costs, duration and contents.
Moreover, in addition to staff costs, another crucial aspect is rent, which is often affected by the city and by the street where you choose to open.
It’s no easy task to decide in advance what the costs will be: however, we can estimate that a small- to medium-scale gelateria, with a range of 12 flavours, may well require an investment of €120,000-€180,000 depending on the choices you make.
That said, these costs can be verified by requesting a quote from a major manufacturer of ingredients for gelato.
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