Are you interested in opening a business with an established brand? Do you love to serve desserts, or do you have a passion for making customers smile? Shaved ice businesses are popular and successful all around the world, and the industry offers plenty of opportunities for entrepreneurs to purchase a franchise.
What is a Shaved Ice Franchise?
Shaved ice is a popular treat for the whole family since both kids and adults enjoy the chilly desserts. It’s also fairly simple to make, so it doesn’t require any special skills or talents to produce.
In a shaved ice franchise business, owners pay a fee to participate in the brand, and they are usually charged a royalty on their sales to continue doing business with the parent company. Some shaved ice franchises operate out of a truck, creating icy desserts for each customer from the back. Other shaved ice businesses sell their creations from a stationary stand or even a typical storefront.
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The Mobile Dessert Industry in 2022
Shaved ice has been served since the days of Ancient Rome, and it is one of the favorite options in the food truck industry, among customers and business owners alike. Not only is shaved ice a classic and timeless dessert, but the business can be operated with relatively low capital compared to other mobile food companies.
Shaved ice trucks and stands not only serve gelato and shaved ice creations in a huge assortment of flavors, but many also specialize in other frozen desserts, including ice cream and smoothies.
Why You Should Consider a Shaved Ice Franchise
If you dream of owning your own business and having fun while you’re earning profits, then a shaved ice franchise might be the perfect fit. In fact, a shaved ice franchise business offers a variety of benefits and opportunities, including:
- Independence – When you start a shaved ice business, you finally get to live your dream of being your own boss.
- Low cost – Compared to other food franchises, shaved ice franchise businesses can be started for less cost, and operating the business requires less overhead.
- Seasonal option – While a shaved ice business has the potential to succeed year-round, especially in warmer markets, it’s also a business that can be operated during the spring and summer when the products are in the highest demand.
- Simple business model – Launching a new business couldn’t be easier thanks to the simple shaved ice business model.
- Rewarding work – If you enjoy satisfying customers and seeing the smiles on their faces when they enjoy your products, then operating a shaved ice business can be extremely rewarding work.
Top Shaved Ice Franchises
Plenty of franchise possibilities exist to start a shaved ice business, each with its own costs and business structure. Of course, just like in any other industry, some shaved ice franchises are more popular or successful than others. Some of the best shave ice franchise opportunities include:
1. Kona Ice
With more than 800 franchises, Kona Ice is one of the top shaved ice brands. Entrepreneurs can purchase a Kona Ice franchise for $110,750, which includes the franchise fee, an inventory pack and a truck.
2. Tropical Sno
Tropical Sno offers unique business opportunities under its popular brand. Franchisees have licensed the ability to use the Tropical Sno name and logo in exchange for agreeing to exclusively sell the company’s products, without fees or royalties.
3. Bahama Buck’s
Bahama Buck’s seeks franchisees who want to surround themselves with fresh ingredients and innovative shaved ice products. The initial investment to start a Bahama Buck’s franchise ranges from $230,000 to $770,000, and franchisees benefit from a support team dedicated to their success.
4. Mustache Mike’s Italian Ice
After manufacturing its Italian ice products in California, Mustache Mike’s distributes them throughout the United States. The company doesn’t charge franchise fees, and its franchise opportunities are described as simple and flexible with excellent profit margins.
5. Hokulia Shave Ice
Hokulia Shave Ice is one of the nation’s premier shaved ice and tropical dessert brands. The initial investment to start a Hokulia Shave Ice franchise ranges from about $81,000 to $133,000, which covers not only start-up costs but also equipment, inventory, payroll, and ongoing support.
Entrepreneurs interested in operating their own shaved ice trucks should consider investing in Tikiz franchises. After paying an initial investment between $132,000 and $144,000, franchisees can sell shaved ice and other frozen products from their own Tikiz trucks, which come with a top-of-the-line high-output ice shaver.
7. Wanna Chill?
While its shaved ice is plenty popular, Wanna Chill? features a broader menu including frozen yogurt, smoothies and even acai bowls. Franchisees can choose from operating a mobile dessert truck, a towable cart or even a store. The initial investment to start a Wanna Chill? franchise ranges from $51,000 to $186,000, depending on the chosen franchise option.
More Popular Shaved Ice Franchise Opportunities
The options to start a shaved ice franchise don’t end with the above popular brands. Whether you want to specialize in Hawaiian shaved ice or you prefer to offer a wider variety of frozen desserts, any of the following companies could offer the perfect opportunity.
8. Ohana Bros
A company inspired by the world travels of the Ohana Bros Surfer Dudes, the brand specializes in Hawaiian shaved ice and a variety of other products, including popcorn, potato chips and french fries. Entrepreneurs can start their own business franchises with Ohana Bros for an initial investment ranging from $192,670 to $368,070.
9. Rita’s Ice
Since its founding in 1984, Rita’s Ice has opened 600 franchise units, serving customers its tasty frozen treats. Franchisees need a net worth of $300,000, as well as $100,000 for their initial investments in a Rita’s Ice franchise. The company then offers assistance in selecting a premier location, as well as initial training.
Snowie offers a lucrative non-franchise business opportunity for entrepreneurs interested in selling shave ice under its popular brand. Snowie operators don’t pay franchise fees or royalties, so they get to keep everything they earn. The brand, however, does provide training, as well as all the gear Snowie owners need to get their shave ice brands off and running.
11. Ululani Hawaiian Shave Ice
Looking for an authentic Hawaiian shave ice brand to start your own business? Founded by Hawaiian natives who held an appreciation for finely shaved Hawaiian ice, Ululani Hawaiian Shave Ice wanted their products to stand apart from the “chunky” shaved ice and snow cones they found on the mainland. Currently offering franchise opportunities, Ululani Hawaiian Shave Ice invites interested parties to contact it for more information.
12. Ralph’s Famous Italian Ices & Ice Cream
Serving more than 100 flavors of shaved ice, ice cream and specialty treats, Ralph’s Famous Italian Ices & Ice Cream has been a successful business for more than 90 years. The company began offering franchise opportunities in 2001, and franchisees can get started with an initial investment of about $200,000.
13. Sno Shack
Entrepreneurs can own their own successful shaved ice businesses by franchising with Sno Shack. Business opportunities are available for a low investment, and Sno Shack doesn’t charge royalties or ongoing fees. Training is provided, and packages range from just $4,500 to $29,995.
14. Waikomo Shave Ice
By starting a Waikomo Shave Ice franchise, entrepreneurs are able to serve only natural ingredients with no artificial colors or flavors. The health-conscious brand follows a simple business model that is highly efficient and fun. The initial investment to start a Waikomo franchise ranges from $38,000 to $123,000.
- READ MORE: Spring Season Franchises
How to Choose the Best Franchise to Set Up Your Shaved Ice Business
If you’re ready to start your own shaved ice or snow cone business, you’ll want to carefully consider your franchise options. Each brand carries its own benefits and possible disadvantages, including:
The initial investment costs to open a shaved ice franchise can vary greatly between one business model and the next. In addition to the actual cost, it’s important to consider what that price includes. Some companies provide franchisees with equipment, tools and even training as part of the initial investment, while others might require the franchisee to pay for those costs in addition to their franchise purchase.
What sort of training does the parent company provide those who start a franchise business? An experienced business owner might need less training than an aspiring entrepreneur. Meanwhile, some companies might offer thorough hands-on training, while others might simply provide online learning opportunities.
Where do you hope to open your shave ice business, and how flexible are your location requirements? Even companies open to new franchises might only offer opportunities in certain areas.
The initial investment might only be part of the requirements to open a shaved ice franchise business. Many companies require franchisees to meet other criteria, such as specific net worth or experience in the industry.
How Much Does It Cost to Open a Shaved Ice Truck or Shaved Ice Stand Franchise?
The amount of money needed to open a shaved ice franchise varies greatly from one brand to the next, and the cost can range from as little as $10,000 to more than $100,000. That variance depends largely on whether the initial investment includes equipment such as a truck and ice machine, as well as whether the brand charges franchise fees.
Is a Shaved Ice or Italian Ice Franchise Profitable?
A shaved ice franchise business has the potential to be extremely profitable. Shaved ice, snow cones and even ice cream are made with low-cost ingredients and supplies, usually, a fraction of the amount customers pay for them. That low overhead helps generate greater profits, especially for franchises with a company that doesn’t charge additional royalties.
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