Progressive Grocer

JUN 2016

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6 SOLUTIONS JUNE 2016 A gelato or ice cream case can add great value to a grocerant's oferings, encouraging customers to linger in the store longer and helping a retailer compete with external restaurants and shops for dessert-based dollars. But intro- ducing a gelato or hand-dipped ice cream bar isn't as simple as plug- ging in a refrigerated display case. Julie Dugas, principal partner at Studio H2G, ofered advice on how to efectively create a gelato or ice cream bar for instore single servings. 1. Consider the placement. Gelato and ice cream cases are smaller components, "so some- times they get stuck somewhere more hidden rather than in a much more visible part of the store," says Dugas. The ideal placement is in the customer's direct sight or path. At Cantoro's Italian Mar- ket & Trattoria, a multi-unit grocerant in suburban Detroit, Dugas positioned the gelato case so it straddles the instore restaurant, where they also serve the handmade treat, with the cofee bar and prepared food section on the other side. The produce section just beyond signals the fresh fruit used in some of the gelato favors. "Customers have to walk past the case to get to the restau- rant or prepared foods area, so it gets a lot of visibility," Dugas says. 2. Determine if you'll make your own, or not. Gelato and hand-dipped ice creams are premium products that can be made in-house for an even stronger branding experience, or sourced from artisan vendors to ensure high quality. For grocerants with ample space, gelato and ice cream equipment surprisingly takes up little extra room, Dugas says. One gelato maker can produce eight to 10 favors in batches, and then you'll also need extra freezer space and an extra worktable. But it's vital that staf be able to follow precise recipes and handling instructions. Ample signage and transparency are key in any case. "Customers want to know more about the product and how it was made or where it came from," Dugas says. "The other part of the equa- tion is really working to get the community to know you have this product. Demos and tastings when the market is busy can help attract more customers." 3. Staf the station appropriately. Positioning can impact stafng capability for a gelato or ice cream station. If the station is linked to a cofee bar or a deli area, staf members can be cross-trained to scoop ice cream as needed—but only during non-peak times, says Dugas. "You don't want a customer coming to the case and then having to look for someone for help," she says. It's also important that everyone who is responsible for scooping ice cream or gelato is able to talk about the diferent favors and answer questions about the product. 4. Choose equipment carefully. Gelato doesn't need the same deep-freeze as most ice creams. "Special equipment is required for [gelato] because it's held at a diferent temperature than hard, hand-dipped ice cream," Dugas says. Exposing some of the ice cream making equipment can add an artisan feel to the space, but most of the more traditional pieces are heavy stainless steel. Some of the newer European models, however, have more colorful, unique aesthetics that can add drama to a special creamery station. 5. Consider food safety. In light of recent listeria scares among some ice cream producers and shops, it's important for retailers to "be diligent about knowing what the health department requirements are and maintaining them," Dugas says. Also, consider placing the ice cream case near the prepared food section or another space where there is no raw product and staf members aren't handling raw items such as salads. 5 tips for designing an instore gelato or ice cream bar

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