Opening a gelato parlour in Russia

Opening a gelato parlour in Russia

Introducing deliciously genuine Italian gelato into the Russian Federation is an ambitious yet promising project, especially in regions where gourmet Italian gelato is not yet as widespread as industrial ice cream/gelato, such as in Blagoveshchensk, a city on the border with China. So how do you start up a gelato parlour on Russian soil? To find out, please read the mini guide below which contains everything you need to know about opening a gelato parlour in Russia, one of the most sought after, relatively cheap and uncharted areas to start up a business of this kind because hand-made gelato is almost non-existent there, even though Russians love it. In fact, every year, Russian consumers eat an average of 7 kg of gelato, with almost 60% of Russians eating it regularly despite the cold outside.

Successfully working in the sphere of Italian artisanal gelato means putting together a team made up of skilled artisans, producers of semi-finished products and equipment manufacturers so that you can prepare, store and distribute quality gelato to your end consumers. If you are a young person looking to open a gelato parlour in Russia, read the information below so that you are properly prepared for this new entrepreneurial adventure. So, in order to open up a hand-made gelato parlour in the Russian Federation you will need to do the following:

know or learn the Cyrillic alphabet and take the written and oral exams in Russian language and history – indeed, it is no longer enough to marry or have a child with a person with Russian citizenship to be allowed to live and work regularly in the Federation;
– contact the local health department to find out what laws govern the production and selling of hand-crafted gelato;
– contact the local courthouse to obtain a commercial licence to sell gelato;
– look for native Russian business partners for help with the paperwork while you are running the business;
– get in touch with a Chartered Accountants Office to help you set up the company, do the accounts and find out about taxation for a hand-made gelato parlour. You will also need guidance in drawing up a clear business plan that will outline the costs, debts, expenses, profits, investments and revenues that your business will be building up over the next few years. Make sure to build in scenarios covering both negative and positive events occurring;
– get a marketer to carry out an in-depth analysis of the local market, so as to weigh up all the pros and cons involved before embarking on such a business in the Russian Federation;
– carefully draw up the business model which you will be using to run your business, deal with competition and satisfy customers’ needs;
– work out whether it’s more advantageous to open a specialist hand-made gelato parlour or whether a gelato café, gelato pastry shop or soft-serve gelato parlour would be more popular;
– decide on the name for your gelato parlour, your marketing, advertising and communication strategies and your logo;
– choose the premises for your gelato parlour, which will need to measure at least 50 square metres, either inside a shopping mall or in a central, busy or well-known area, such as close to a gallery, square, school or park. The production workshop where you will be making the gelato must be close to or incorporated in the parlour. Of course, in addition to the room where you serve customers and display the products, your parlour will also need additional space for toilets, storage areas and a staff room;
– sign the lease for the gelato parlour, which must also have good natural or artificial ventilation and wastewater facilities.



Other key steps when opening a gelato parlour in Russia include:

– ensuring compliance of the gelato parlour with hygiene and fire prevention regulations. To do so, you will have to pass all the checks needed to get permits for a hand-crafted gelato parlour, such as hygiene and epidemiological checks as well as inspections of your work equipment, plus fire brigade and tax inspectorate checks, etc.;
– choose the Simplified Taxation System;
– think about also serving espresso coffee, pastries, biscuits and aperitifs and play Italian music to create a typical Italian atmosphere. Make the most of takeaways by also offering Italian-style dishes, such as hot sandwiches, especially at colder times of year;
– take on workers specialized in the food sector and train them to be extra-sociable and welcoming, so as to encourage Russian customers, who can be a little less open than most Italians, to come back to your parlour again and again;
– contact local suppliers for milk, cream, eggs, fruit and sugar, while for semi-finished products in a wide variety of flavours we recommend using specialist Italian firms;
– look for cheap but good-quality alternatives to Italian ingredients that are not worth importing into Russia due to the disadvantageous exchange rate between the euro and the ruble;
– differentiate the flavours you offer from season to season and according to who your customers are, for example families with children or especially adults, starting with at least 15 different types of gelato. It seems that Russian customers love chocolate in all its variations and combinations, as well as mango. However, make sure to surprise them with other flavours which they’re not used to, such as Aperol for adults or citrus-based gelatos for children;
– hold tasting sessions, where customers can come and try out new flavours of gelato and let you know what they think.



The cost of opening a gelato parlour in Russia will vary depending on the city and local area involved. The investment required in a small city will definitely be lower than in big cities such as Moscow or St. Petersburg. The minimum overall investment will only be around 16,500 euros, including the following fixed and variable costs:

– registration of documentation will be around 20,000 rubles. The Russian ruble is equal to 0.0134 euros while the euro is worth 74.76 rubles;
rent of the premises for both the gelato parlour and the production workshop will come to around 50,000 rubles a month, or 300,000 rubles every 6 months;
monthly utilities such as electricity, water and gas will amount to around 10,000 rubles;
staff salaries will set you back 28,000 rubles per person per month, including statutory contributions;
– the purchase and installation of gelato-making and other equipment, cash register, card payment terminal and fixtures and fittings. You will need refrigerated display cases, stainless steel gelato display trays, cones, cups and scoops for serving, kitchen utensils, take-away containers, a blast chiller, batch freezer, cream whipper, pasteurizing machine, planetary, mixer, chairs, tables, coffee machine, etc. The costs for quality equipment will amount to around 150,000 rubles, furniture will be around 100,000 rubles and the cash desk and terminal will cost approx. 50,000 rubles;
– renovations and adaptations of the premises will come to around 50,000 rubles;
– various permits issued by local authorities will amount to approximately 30,000 rubles;
– the purchase of raw materials for making and decorating your gelato. The initial cost of raw materials will be at least 250,000 rubles;
– training and development for everyone working in your gelato parlour;
– marketing, advertising and communication strategies should total about 30,000 rubles;
– professional consultancy fees when required.



The main advantages of opening up a gelato parlour in Russia are as follows:

– comparatively low capital investment compared to Italian norms;
– the popularity of Italian food products among Russian customers;
– the excellent growth prospects of the market and the popularity of hand-crafted businesses.


Text taken from the website of the Allievi Studio of Chartered Accountants and Statutory Auditor

Opening a gelato parlour in Russia
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