FAQ

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Here’s the most common questions we get. For more information, please send a message or call us directly.

TOPPER’S CRAFT CREAMERY OPERATIONS

What kind of machine do we use?

We use a mid-volume high quality nationally branded machine. We use the same type of soft serve machine in all of our venues. It’s the Southwest Airlines model: keep it simple.

Where do I get the product?

We have one stop shopping for supply chain. You get our proprietary mix, paper and goodies from one supplier.

Who services the machine?

There are national service programs in place for quick and reliable service for the equipment – most of which are done same day.

How much space does it take up?

Our crafted soft serve operation can be done in under 4 linear feet.

Do I need somebody to clean the machine?

Yes, it is the host’s responsibility to clean the machine as required, typically once each week. The machine we use is the most simple machine on the market to clean. We train you how to do it, and also provide YouTube and on-line video tutorials for machine cleaning.

Can you teach all of our employees to do ice cream?

Yes. It is a very simple process, one that many of them already know. Most everyone has been to a buffet with soft serve. It is as simple as pulling down the handle of the desired flavor. We also offer freshly made, hand rolled waffle cones and waffle bowls. These are easily and simply taught to all of your staff.

Who pays for service?

It depends on who owns the equipment. If you buy the equipment, you will be responsible for payment for service. If you take advantage of our equipment leasing program, we pay for service of the equipment as part of that program.

How does it work when added to our current core offering?

If we determine that Topper’s crafted soft serve is the right complementary product, it works great, because everyone loves soft serve. We always look for synergy opportunities with your core offering. If you offer fresh chocolate chip cookies, we will consider adding a chocolate chip cookie sundae, and perhaps an ice cream sandwich. This minimizes waste by deploying products that might have been discarded. We have recipes for cross use of many different products with our soft serve.

How much can I make?

It depends on what your sales are in additional crafted soft serve. Our target is for you to make at least 50% of the ice cream sales as bottom line profit. This allows for a very short return on investment time frame.

BENEFITS OF CO-BRANDING

How can I increase my food sales?

Adding our crafted soft serve frozen custard to your current menu will increase your sales in 3 ways: it will increase your average ticket at meal periods with an added dessert; it will add customer visits in new day parts for ice cream only; and it will allow you to add unique products to your current offerings. For instance, if you offer fresh cookies, you can add a cookie sundae or cookie ice cream sandwich. If you are a coffee brand, you can add an affogato (hot espresso shot over ice cream), cold brew float, or an espresso shake.

How can I increase profits in my restaurant?

The increased sales should come with a very marginal extra cost. You should only have cost of goods for the new products. In complementary branding, the idea is to boost your slower day parts. The time it takes to prep and serve these new products should be measured in seconds per menu item, rather than minutes. It takes less than 10 seconds to fill a fresh waffle cone with ice cream. Your extra labor should be very low, or zero with the addition of the right complementary brand product.

How can I get more sales out of my space?

If you are 2,000 square feet, and doing $1 million in annual sales, your sales per square foot are $500 per foot per year. Adding the right complementary brand will greatly improve those sales. For Topper’s crafted soft serve, we only take up 4 linear feet of existing space (by 30 inches out from the wall). Most spaces can accommodate that without a burden; losing 10 square feet. If the sales are only $100 per day in ice cream, that adds $36,500 per year in annual sales, or $3,650 per square foot in sales; more than 7 times your current average. Those sales should be at a 50% plus profit, and would increase the sales inside the box by 3.65%. It is the new model for business success.

What are the trends to increase my sales?

Complementary branding. Though it is more than a trend. Ed Rensi, former CEO of McDonald’s said of complementary branding, “I’m not a fan of riding trends. Complementary branding is not a trend. It is an industry shift. Don’t spend your time and money developing something when there is already a product on the market. Go with their expertise. Save yourself 100 percent of the costs of new product development.” Ed is the current chairman of F.A.T. Brands and a successful restaurant consultant and advisor.

How can I get my current customers to spend more on each visit?

By providing them with a unique offering that makes their life easier. It is about solving their problems. Everyone loves ice cream. If they can get a premium quality crafted soft serve in the same place they are getting their lunch, coffee, or snacks; or in conjunction with their favorite treats from your venue – like a cold brew float or a chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwich, they will increase their visits to your venue.

How can I increase my average ticket per customer?

Adding a crafted soft serve frozen custard as a real time treat is one way. Offering it as part of your current offering, like with a cookie, brownie, or coffee is another way to increase your average ticket. And adding the grab n go option for the pre-packed ice cream sundaes is another great way to increase your average ticket. So whether they eat it now, eat it later, or take it with them – your benefit is a higher average ticket.

How can I add value to my restaurant?

We use a mid-volume high quality nationally branded machine. We use the same type of soft serve machine in all of our venues. It’s the Southwest Airlines model: keep it simple.

How can I get my current customers to come more often to my restaurant/fast food?

Give them something to come back for. Most people are creatures of habit. By adding a complementary brand, it gives your customers a new choice. They are already accustomed to coming to your place. By sampling the new crafted soft serve, you give them a reason to come back in other day parts for the new soft serve treat. When they come back, they often also buy other products on impulse.

COMPLEMENTARY BRANDING INFORMATION

How does complementary branding work?

Just as the name implies, a complementary product is offered as a complement to your core offering. It’s the snack or side with your main course; it is not a tradeoff of one for the other. Complementary products add incremental profits without cannibalizing your current products. The complementary brand might only add 3% – 10% in new top-line sales; but if those sales are a 50 percent EBITDA, it’s a no-brainer!

Why is co-branding better than developing our own new product?

Mostly the factors of speed to market and cost. To repeat Ed Rensi’s, former CEO of McDonald’s, words here: “Don’t spend your time and money developing something when there is already a product on the market. Go with their expertise. Save yourself 100 percent of the costs of new product development.”  Co-branding specialists in micro categories: like cinnamon buns, smoothies, cookies, ice cream, soft serve, coffee, pretzels, popcorn and more will all have a more detailed, specialized and better option than what you would come up with on your own. Developing new products yourself isn’t always the best option – just ask Coca-Cola about “new Coke”.

Who are the outsourcing experts in food?

In cinnamon buns, I think Cinnabon® are the experts. In coffee, Starbucks®.  If you are a university, hospitality, healthcare, or military venue – you can add a Starbucks® We Proudly Serve® to your venue. They provide the brand name, product supply chain, equipment, training, and support. They have been doing this for over 20 years. In today’s business climate, it is critical that brands stick to their core competencies, and outsource the rest. Mark Cuban said, “Know your core competencies and focus on being great at them. Pay up for people in your core competencies. Get the best.” If you need a premium soft serve to fit with your high quality brand, Topper’s Craft Creamery is the best in that category.

How do I combine brands?

Stick with your core competencies. Find the brand that pairs best with what your customers want in your location. Work out a mutually beneficial agreement with that brand that creates a win-win for both. Move forward in a partnership mindset that allows both brands to win. The best way to combine brands is in the selection of the competent partner that has that knowledge.  Previous brands that have combined have met with much different levels of success. If you are combining brands, go with the expert in how to make it work. Good information is your best ally.