Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream Business Opportunities



Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream has been around for over a hundred years, but it wasn't until the media noticed it in 2013 that it became the hottest new food trend across America, and it is only a matter of time before it spreads across the world. The superior quality, combined with the spectacular creation and the ability to customize each serving, make it more than a flash-in-the-pan; Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream is here to stay.  We are still in the early stages of the liquid nitrogen ice cream business, and like all trends, those who have the vision and fortitude to get in early are the ones who have the most opportunity for success. If you've been smitten with the bug of working with sub zero temperatures of -321 degrees Fahrenheit, and are considering opening a liquid nitrogen ice cream shop, you first have to answer three questions:

What method do I want to use?

The first thing to understand is that there are two methods of making liquid nitrogen ice cream - handcrafted and mixers. The Mixer Method has become very popular because it is easier - the mixer does much of the work. The downsides are considerable, however. First of all is the cost. Using a mixer to create liquid nitrogen ice cream is a patented process, and requires the user to buy a unit from a licensed vendor, which will cost at from$5000 to $15,000. If you attempt to do it on your own, with an off-the-shelf Kitchen-aid mixer, you will find that the patent holder is very active, and they will eventually find you, and they will sue you. Count on it.

The cost of an individual unit becomes important when your shop gets busy. You've invested at least $5000 and you only have a single station, which won't be enough on a busy evening. You will need at least two, and possibly even three or more to cover those shifts when there is a line, and much of the rest of the time they'll be sitting idle. You will need a clean bowl and beater for each customer order, and they are very expensive. Some mixer shops try to get around this limitation by offering only a handful of flavors per day, but that defeats one of the main advantages of liquid nitrogen ice cream (its unlimited customization), and judging by the online reviews, it isn't a very popular factor. So if you want to do it right, and offer custom made ice cream, your start-up costs will include at least $15-20,000 just for the basic equipment.

In addition, and perhaps more importantly, mixer made ice cream just isn't very good quality, for a number of reasons. When we first started playing with liquid nitrogen ice cream, one of our first experiments was to use mixers and blenders (even before there was a patent on it), but we abandoned the idea immediately. The mixer whips a lot of air into the ice cream, and creates a whipped cream-like texture that many people don't like. The recipes tend to be very basic because you can't apply more advanced techniques. People often acknowledge that the concept is interesting, and that it is still fun to watch, but the ice cream is only mediocre. Read the online reviews on Yelp and Trip Advisor for examples:

"It was cool watching it be made and the guy helping us was cool.  But for the ice cream....meh?"

"good but not great"  

"The ice cream was just okay, nothing to write home about."


The Handcrafted style is far simpler to get into and has numerous advantages over the mixer method, including quality, cost, simplicity, customization, scalability, and more. There are multiple methods to create handcrafted liquid nitrogen ice cream, and one particular method has even been patented, so you have to be very careful to create your ice cream in a way that doesn't violate that patent. Private Island Ice Cream will train you in traditional, unpatented methods that have been in the public domain for over 100 years, since liquid nitrogen ice cream inventor Agnes Marshall's first description in 1901, through the famous Scientific American article in 1994 that kicked off the modern era of liquid nitrogen ice cream (crediting Peter Barnham of the University of Bristol), all the way up to Theodore Gray's method that he described in Popular Science in 2003. Our method is more of a chef-style that we have developed over 10 years of business, with the emphasis on the highest quality end product, rather than the novelty.

The Handcrafted Method requires marginally more labor, but it creates a dense creamy ice cream that people love, and it allows you to address the unique properties of each order. Mixers treat every ice cream the same, but in reality, every ice cream is different, depending on what ingredients are being combined. Advanced techniques can be applied to make interesting flavor combinations that can't be created any other way. The handcrafted method also allows a much richer customer experience. It  lets you stand face to face with your customer so they can see their ice cream being made and you can answer their questions, giving you the opportunity to get to know your customers on a personal basis and build your customer base. An important thing to keep in mind is that a successful business is built on repeat customers. The excitement of the customer's initial exposure to "The Show," the creation of liquid nitrogen ice cream, won't last more than two or three visits. It is the quality of the ice cream that will keep them coming back after the novelty wears off.

In addition, the Handcrafted Method is instantly scalable. On a busy night you can simply add as many workers as you require to meet the demand. There is no need to purchase another expensive mixer or two that will sit idle most of the time.

Start-up costs for the handcrafted method are far more inexpensive, the system is totally flexible and scalable, it offers a more satisfying customer experience, and most importantly it makes far better ice cream. There can be no doubt that the Handcrafted Method of making liquid nitrogen ice cream is far superior. Once again, Yelp and Trip Advisor reviews of handcrafted shops such as Private Island Ice Cream will prove the advantage of the handcrafted method:

"Best nitrogen ice cream I've ever had! "

"We're all in agreement that it was the best ice cream we had tasted"

"Excellent service and the ice cream is amazing." 


Should I buy a franchise?

The advantage of a franchise is that the company sells you an entire proven system, which should give you a greater likelihood for success, but there are also numerous disadvantages. The first disadvantage is that you now have a boss. You wanted to start your own business and be in charge of your own destiny, but you have to do everything the company tells you to do. You have to buy their equipment, fixtures, furnishings, use their recipes, buy their products, use their vendors, etc., and most of it comes with a higher price tag so the parent company can make money as well. You have to use their expensive cash registers so the company can monitor your sales, and they have the right to reach into your bank account and take their royalties any time they want. They can run any advertising/ marketing campaign they want to, and you have to go along with it, even if it means virtually no profit. They don't care if you make no profit, because they get a cut of the gross, and their cut doesn't change, even if the gross is unprofitable to you. It is not unusual for a company to have a very successful campaign, which moves a lot of inventory and earns them a lot of royalties, while the franchisee makes nothing, or even loses money. A friend of mine who used to own several franchises of a major household brand-name pizza chain finally sold his stores because he was lucky to keep 2 or 3 cents of every dollar he sold. It simply wasn't worth the trouble. He now owns a shop in a small town that serves liquid nitrogen ice cream and sandwiches and makes more money than he did with 6 national brand-name pizza franchises. People with franchises often say that they make their money at the exit, when they sell it, which seems to defeat the purpose of owning your own business.

Another disadvantage of a franchise is the initial purchase price, which can be extremely high, especially for a booming trend like liquid nitrogen ice cream. Then there is the renewal, several years later. Many people don't realize that in 5 - 10 years, the company is going to expect you to pay for your franchise AGAIN! The worst part is that after spending all this money, the franchisors tend to treat their franchisees badly. There always seems to be an adversarial relationship that obstructs the pride you should have in owning your own business. They're objective is to sell more franchises and pocket more of the money that YOU earned, while yours is to put more money in your own pocket.

One of the main advantages of a franchise is that is comes with instant brand recognition, but that only works if it is nationally known. When a new McDonalds or Subway opens, everybody knows what it is and comes in. If the franchise is new, however, then that brand recognition doesn't exist. To the potential customer it is just another ice cream shop with an unfamiliar name. It will be up to you to build brand recognition for the company. If you are going to have to carry that burden of locally building the brand name yourself, why not build your own brand instead? Why not have your efforts directly benefit yourself instead of the company that is charging you a fortune?

A franchise can make sense at the beginning, when you don't know what you're doing, and you need someone to hold your hand. It becomes a burden, however, when you are comfortable with your business, and you see ways to improve your systems, lower your costs, and increase your profits, but you are prohibited from acting because you will be out of compliance, and face fines for the company, or even a loss of your franchise. That moment of self-sufficiency comes within a couple of months, but you are stuck with your franchise deal forever. You want to be your own boss, but you will discover that you have purchased a new boss, and at a very high price.

What if you could start your own liquid nitrogen ice cream business with all the advantages of a franchise, but without the restrictions?

Where can I learn to make liquid nitrogen ice cream on my own?

You want to start your own business, and feel the pride in establishing it and making it grow successful, but you can't just wave a magic wand and say "abracadabra" and make it happen. How can you learn what you need to know in a newly emerging trend like liquid nitrogen ice cream, where the methods and techniques are generally closely-guarded secrets known only to a few, without buying a franchise or a mixer system?

That's where Private Island ice Cream steps in. The owners of Private Island Ice Cream introduced liquid nitrogen ice cream to the east coast back in 2007, and have made a full-time living at it ever since, making and serving hundreds of thousands of ice creams. Our retail shop was open from July of 2012 to December 2016, and had a five-star rating on, and was ranked in the top 10% of restaurants in the very competitive Orlando market. We had equally impressive ratings on Yelp and Google Places. Every day, people from all over the planet ate at Private Island Ice Cream, and every day we were told that we make the best ice cream in the world. The only reason we closed it was because the overhead was climbing (Orlando is a VERY expensive market for commercial rent), and we were in the unique position of having built a very large and profitable catering business. So we decided to put all of our eggs in the catering business.

We aren't interested in the business of franchises, but we are willing to train people who want to start their own liquid nitrogen shop, and there is nobody better qualified to teach you how to create truly great liquid nitrogen ice cream. After a few days attending a private seminar, where you will receive private one-on-one attention, you will be completely ready to set up your business. You will learn the Handcrafted Method of making liquid nitrogen ice cream as well as everything else required to open and operate a successful liquid nitrogen retail operation. You will learn  the proper methods, techniques, and recipes to make ice cream as well as how to effectively structure and market your business. You will learn proper safety and handling protocols for sub zero, cryogenic liquids so you can operate safely. You will know which pieces of equipment to buy, and where to buy them at the lowest possible price. You won't have to go through the expensive trial-and-error efforts that the initial pioneers of this business had to endure. After you go home, Private Island will remain available to you to answer any questions, and guide you through your initial stages until you are confident enough to operate by yourself. In other words, Private Island will be there to offer our expertise at the beginning, just like a franchise, but you will have the freedom to go off on your own as soon as you have the confidence, which will happen very quickly.

If you have decided that the Handcrafted Method is your choice, and you know you want to establish your own brand, then Private Island can help you become your own boss. Call 407-433-9545 or email for more details or to schedule your private seminar.