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6 BEST Ice Cream Supplies: Supplies Needed to Operate an Ice Cream Shop (2024)

Tyler MartinezAuthor

Ice cream is a luxurious treat that brings people moments of pure joy. Whether you're going for a hip ice cream truck or a more classic brick-and-mortar store, you'll need unique supplies to channel this experience for customers.

Let's explore the types of ice cream shop supplies you need to keep your business running smoothly.

What is the Difference Between Ice Cream Shop Supplies and Equipment?

To get straight to the point - the main difference between supplies and equipment is how often things need to be replaced. 

Ice cream shop supplies are small, temporary, and fragile items that need regular replacing. Some supplies only have to be ordered once a year (like food prep supplies.) Others are ordered monthly or weekly, like ingredients and service wear.

On the other hand, ice cream shop equipment refers to durable machines and fixtures, such as marble countertops, soft serve machines, reach-in freezers, and ice cream dripping cabinets. 

Things to Consider Before Buying Ice Cream Shop Supplies

Choose which supplies to buy carefully. The goal is to balance the quality, functionality, and cost of essentials. This approach will save your business time and money.

Supplies are an investment in your ice cream shop. So, make choices informed by your shop’s needs and budget. Shop for the best possible prices on high-quality supplies for those things integral to service. And, make informed decisions about where you can cut costs to increase revenue. For example, don’t cut costs on the quality of the raw ingredients that go into your sweet concoctions.

What supplies do you need for an ice cream shop?

Raw Materials

Ice cream shops produce an array of frozen confections, each requiring slightly different supplies. Ice cream, sundaes, milkshakes, frozen yogurt, sorbet, smoothies, Italian ice, and gelato – not to mention delights like waffle cones and hot fudge – all require certain ingredients.

Whether you’re making confections in-house or sourcing from a local creamery, the priority is always the ice cream. Build a good relationship with who supplies the dairy for your ice cream shop. This way, you won’t have to worry about running out of products to sell.

Next, decide on a supplier for ice cream toppings, add-ins, syrups, and flavorings. Your customers will be able to taste the difference quality ingredients made in their customized treats.

Kitchen Supplies

Your ice cream shop will likely have a small kitchen to produce anything from syrups and sauces to waffle cones and ice cream cakes. Think carefully about the size of toasters, ice cream machines, and other small appliances to help you purchase the appropriate cookware.

Remember that the material of supplies matters. Select cookware that will withstand the demands of commercial kitchens. Even these supplies can get worn over time, so budget for additional cookware as needed.

And, don’t forget to keep track of the small, disposable supplies – like saran wrap and plastic gloves – that are vital to operations and food safety standards.

Storage Supplies

Storing large quantities of dairy products requires a strategic and spacious solution. Large, walk-in refrigerators and deep, reach-in freezers should be outfitted with large containers to hold ice cream bases and frozen confections.

Clean large containers regularly, especially those that hold dairy products. And, when plastic storage containers get worn, it’s best to replace them. Don’t forget that all food storage must be clearly labeled and dated for food safety standards.

Packaging and Serving Supplies

Paper and plastic supplies like straws, cone holders, bowls, and napkins are expected in ice cream shops. You’ll also need topping dispensers and storage. These supplies can be purchased and stored in bulk, as long as you have enough dry storage space. That way, you can be sure to have these service necessities on hand at all times.

Cleaning Supplies

Cleaning supplies are a food safety requirement – stock your ice cream shop with all the cleaning supplies you need to ensure your space meets all federal, state, and local food safety standards.

You always want your ice cream shop in shape to pass food safety inspections. One way to guarantee this is by keeping supplies stocked and training staff on their proper use. Things like sanitizing solutions, red sani-buckets, and bar rags should be on hand to guarantee food safety.


Menu boards in ice cream shops are usually better than paper menus, which are likely to get torn and spilled on. But, if you do print paper menus, keep track of how many your ice cream shop has at all times and budget for seasonal reprintings.

How to Organize Ice Cream Shop Supplies

Keeping your business’s inventory and budget in line is crucial to its success. These ice cream shop organizational strategies will help streamline the process.

  • Keep a digital log of the supplies that enter and leave the shop. Your ice cream shop’s management software can simplify the inventory process.

  • Shelving helps to maximize the small spaces that ice cream shops can set aside for storage. 

  • Make a clearly labeled home for all essential supplies so that you and your staff know where to find things. 

  • With the help of your management staff, keep as accurate a count as possible of what is on hand.

Where to Buy Ice Cream Shop Supplies

The best places to get all your ice cream shop supplies are often the local restaurant supply stores and delivery services in your area. These businesses typically offer wholesale prices on everything needed to operate. Plus, locally owned and operated companies tend to be more personable and reliable. They’ll take the extra steps to get your shop stocked up and ready for operation.

There are lots of websites with low prices on ice cream shop supplies. Sometimes you can create great relationships with those companies. But, ordering supplies online can come with higher shipping costs than in local warehouses.

Ice Cream Shop Supply Essentials

Ice cream shop supplies are necessary for sales and food safety, making them a priority for your business’s operations and budget. This guide helps you make long-term plans to find and maintain a stock of essential ice cream shop supplies. Your shop’s ability to manage supply inventory is a key performance metric, so implement procedures that keep your ice cream shop stocked and ready to serve your ice cream-loving community!

Related Ice Cream Resources

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