Ice Cream Store: Help Please


I was thinking of opening up a small ice cream store with
several custard machines. Can the members please honestly
tell me if this is a good business or not and why. I would
really appreciate your input as I have started getting supplies.
Thankyou. rick

My 2 cents:

Good: People here like ice cream (as long as it’s cheap). Also, there are a lot of success stories about people who started with just one machine and went on to build an empire, so it must be worth trying.

Bad: You’re basically just buying yourself a job, unless you’ve got plans to multiply the idea (i.e. creating a brand and then selling franchises).

Good luck!

I think it could be great fun, great sales experience and excellent for your Chinese. However, what is unique about your icecream compared to someone elses? You need to differentiate yourself or drop your price to the same as the loser next to you. I would try and find a unique ice cream, preferably something that hasn’t been seen in Taiwan before, and set up a cart in XiMenDing.

I would do it as a part time night time adventure…think about expanding later if you are successful. You can only turn it into something bigger and more successful if you have or control something that the Taiwanese don’t.

A friend of mine owns the distribution rights to a certain Cigar brand in Taiwan, so there really is no competition from exactly the same product.

Just a few things for you to think about… good luck!

Congrats Rick.
I admire people who dream of setting up a small business and actually get around to doing it, unlike me, I seem to get stuck in the dreaming phase.

My question about selling ice cream has always been this: do Taiwanese eat ice cream in winter?
I know that to most foreigners, Taiwan’s winter is mild and a bit of a joke, but would Taiwanese still want ice cream when it’s 10-15 degrees outside? I noticed that many douhua places sell warm desserts during the winter months, so I’m wondering whether you should have an alternative ready just in case ice cream doesn’t work when it’s cold.

As in any retail business, location would also be very important. I remember about a year ago the English-language papers were talking about this foreigner who opened an ice cream place behind the Red Theater in Hsimenting. I went there recently, and most stores, including the ice cream place, have gone out of business. Even though the place is in Hsimenting, the shops are hidden behind the theater and I suppose most passersby just miss it altogether.

Anyway, good luck with the place, and let us forumosa readers know where it is.


Thankyou all for your encouragement, I will give this ice cream store my best shot. If I were to do the night market route, how would I get my Ice Cream Freezer machine out to the Night market, and would I have to rent someone’s electricity for the night. How would this work, I hope you don’t mind if I ask these questions. Also if there are any graphic artists or interior decorators please contact me here.
Thankyou very much in advance. Rick

What kidn of ice cream would you be selling?

If that’s the normal Taiwanese night market kind of vanilla or chocolate made of premix, then you are in a rather price-sensitive market. If you were to say try alternative flavours ec, then the game would be very different.

Perhaps, in the test phase, you might want to keep your gear mobile.

For the night market test idea to work out, you ought to invest in a generator, and make sure tha tyour equipment solution does not suck too much power, as not very many night markets have power outlets.

A couple of flavor ideas for you!

Banana Susana (chocolate and banana)!

Mint Chocolate Chip!

Rocky Road!

Chocolate Chocolate Chip!

A chocolate dip come would be a great hit - along with chocolate powdered cones, I guess.

I would like to see liquerice powdered cones, but think it would be a no go in Taiwan.

Concerning your question about electricity, I’ve got a friend who has a stand at a night market and they’ve told me the fee they pay includes use of electricity and cleaning up at the end of the night. I think just being a foreigner at a night market stirs up the curiousity of the Taiwanese in a night market, and they’d be more willing to try out your ice cream. Now, I think if you can offer substantially different flavors other than just vanilla and chocolate, like the other vendors, you can definitely make a lot of money at the night markets. Also, offering such options like hot chocolate sauce, caramel, whipped cream, cherries, etc…, can not only distinguish you from your competitors but also increase your profits. Good luck if you go with it!

One thing you might keep in mind is that a lot of Taiwanese aren’t really into the sweet stuff, and even if they are, not at the insulin-shock levels typically enjoyed in the West. Then there’s the cold food thing. Quite a few women avoid it at all times of the year – something to do with Chinese medicine.

A few years ago there were some guys selling Turkish ice-cream in the Tonghua Street night market at $NT50 a cone. They seemed to disappear within a few months. Not sure what the reasons were, but I remember there usually weren’t too many takers whenever I passed by.

The McDonalds ice cream store inside the Carrefour next to me does a bang up business all year round.
Winter isn’t quite as bad here in Taichung as it is in Taipei, but it can’t be that different.
Just use lots of bright colors to make it look fun to the kids.
Maybe a cartoon clown figure with big red hair?

“Nothing special. Too expensive.”

As heard many times from Taiwanese.

I believe there was an American gent who had an ice-cream shop in Tienmu.
I think it was around the same area as Jake’s Country kitchen and Subway, but on the same side of the road as Subway.
The ice-cream was great, but I don’t think he was doing all that well last I went by(may have been a slow day too). Not sure if he’s still there though. A friend of mine used to work for the Taiwan News and did a write-up on it.