Keep your cool this summer – and your profits hot – by adding soft serve ice cream to your operation
The nation’s ongoing love affair with ice cream is proving a brilliant income generator for lots of different venues, ‘whipping’ up profits in the unlikeliest of places.
Soft serve ice cream and gelato are experiencing substantial growth in the UK in recent years, having enjoyed huge success in Europe as well as in the US, for many years.
Ice cream is synonymous with the summer and, with many consumers looking to enjoy a Great British stay-cation this year, operators need to ensure they have holidaymakers’ favourite edible treats on hand.
What exactly is soft serve?
It’s an evolution of Italian-style gelato but with a softer consistency and lighter flavour.
The big difference between soft serve and regular gelato is the batch freezing phase, with regular gelato coming out of the batch freezer between -8C and -9C, while soft serve is ready between -6C and -7C. This slight difference in temperature gives a ‘creamier’ texture.
Once in the soft serve machine, a pump incorporates more air into the gelato – between 40% and 60% of its final weight - making it lighter and softer, and giving it a ‘whipped’ consistency.
Isn’t this just for ice cream vendors?
In a word – NO! In addition to gelato parlours, corner shops, chocolatiers, coffee shops, bars and restaurants are all realising the financial gains of having a soft serve machine.
Who wouldn’t want an additional profit stream for their business?
Michelin-starred chefs are also getting in on the act, with soft serve offering a new and exciting way of presenting their dishes. Tom Booton, head chef at The Grill at the Dorchester, has recently installed a split soft serve machine in his kitchen and one of his flavour combinations is tarragon and cherry.
Top five favourite ice cream flavours in the UK
Recipe for success
You can create your own bespoke soft serve recipes using your choice of ingredients – or use a pre-made mix. The team at Henley Bridge can advise on both and we’ve created our own ready-to-use mixes to make creating delicious soft serve easier than ever.
Everyone knows that milk from Jersey cows is the cream of the crop, so it follows that Jersey ice cream is the ultimate, luxury treat.
With a much higher butterfat content than other milks, the resulting ice cream is smooth, rich and satisfying.
New to Henley Bridge this year is the award-winning Jersey Dairy, which produces two premium soft ice cream mixes, which are taking soft serve to the next level, and are a must-have for ice cream operators looking to tap into the luxury category.
• Luxury soft mix ice cream made with 100% Jersey milk and cream giving it a superior creamy taste with a rich velvety mouth feel
• Gold soft ice cream mix made with 100% Jersey milk and coconut oil giving it a premium creamy taste with a smooth velvety mouth feel
Throw some shapes
Soft serve machines allow you to serve ice cream in a variety of ways. As well as the regular ‘swirl’, you can also buy different attachments for your soft serve machine which allow you to make soft serve spaghetti and popcorn.
Soft serving suggestions
Premium soft serve can be used to create an array of stunning desserts, so don’t limit it to simply filling cones.
Today’s consumers are obsessed with photographing their food and Instagram is full of fantastic images of soft serve creations that you can emulate. Try serving yours in dipped toffee cones, brioche buns, cookie sandwiches, donuts, waffle baskets and in profiteroles.
Another great idea is to fill a cannoli with your choice of soft serve then dip each end in chocolate to seal it.
Syrups, sauces, décor and inclusions offer the perfect opportunity to ‘premiumise’ and ‘customise’ your soft serve offerings.
From brightly coloured sugar sprinkles to popping candy, chopped nuts to chocolate curls, we’ve got you covered! Check out our extensive range.