In Portugal, two foreign companies dominate the market for ice cream and prevent small enterprises making any progress outside their local municipalities or outside city limits.
Although criticized by several government departments, the big companies obtained court injunctions so that that, individually, each artisan ice cream maker can operate in his own area, but will have problems trying outside.
In the interior of Portugal and on the islands many tasty fruits grow such as plum, papaya and mango, all with rich aromas and colours which are good for ice cream making and already are used by some small and medium-sized producers.
These are more nutritious than the thickeners, artificial aroma additives and other chemicals that the large ice cream companies use.
Increasingly, customers are happy to pay up to double to enjoy these authentic flavours rather than the chemicals.
Artisan ice cream is a good deal: look for the large wholesalers of these natural thickeners and ask for the old recipes to enjoy great fruits of the season. The equipment for mixing and then freezing is not expensive.
Wake up early, and you can do a batch of three or four flavours on the same day. Why not have your own outlet and sell ice cream directly to your customers?
For the weekends, maybe starting from Thursday, you can offer an ice cream fondue with various flavours dipped in hot chocolate. As the chocolate hardens, it becomes crispy and tasty, giving an unusual touch to your product.
Always offer a half-glass of water and make ice cream pizzas or crepes with monthly variations to attract regulars who want to try something new and slightly more expensive.
Use herbs such as mint or orégano instead of salt. This bitter-sweet taste will make your ice cream stand out from the bland competition.
Or try the family-size, for example 0.5 kg in up to three flavours, with discount, because children and young people will love and enjoy plenty or your product.
Have a good speaker system in your store and play soft music, maybe classical or jazz interspersed with bossa nova and fado. You should have tables and chairs for everyone to create a pleasant atmosphere, with paintings and objects from local craftsmen on the walls.
Invent a brand name that resembles the nature of the region where you are operating: Tejelado, Gelabeira, Gelagarve.
When presenting the bill, give away a sweet, something natural to sweeten the mouth on the way home, along with your business card and a list of flavours you produce.
Who knows – this satisfied customer may pass this to a friend and a new customer is born.