Friday, January 30, 2009

Snow Cone & Shaved Ice Machine Drip Tray

I don't like messes. I like things to be neat and clean. I'm all for purchasing tools and equipment that help me stay organized and keep things neat and in order. I'm especially fond of this when it comes to business practices. Tools that can help you maintain a professional image and aid you in doing a better job always get "two thumbs up" from me.

One such piece of equipment that gets my seal of approval is the Snow Cone and Shaved Ice Drip Tray featured at This heavy duty stainless steel tray works perfectly to catch any ice over-spray or dripping water for several of our shaved ice or snow cone machines. It is highly suggested for the HC-8E Hatsuyuki Cube Ice Shaver and most of our other cube ice shavers. Not suggested for the New Orleans Style Block Ice Shavers.

So, to cut down on clean up and messes, order one today for your stand. Get it while it's still on sale!

Ice Temperature

This is an excerpt from's COLD CASH business manual. If you would like to receive a copy of the complete manual, please visit the website and request your free copy. It's full of great insights and helpful information for anyone who owns a shaved ice/snow cone business or is considering the purchase of one!

Ice Temperature (for shaved ice businesses only)

For block shaved ice shavers the temperature of your bock ice can make or break your shaved ice business. Block ice that is too cold when shaved will not stick together. Ice that is too warm will create a clumpy mess. Either way, you will not get ideal results if your ice is not at the proper temperature.

To solve this problem you can “temper” or “warm up” your ice blocks in order to get the correct ice consistency. Tempering allows the ice to reach the ideal shaving temperature of 18 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit. To temper your ice, simply remove an ice block from the freezer about 25 to 30 minutes before you need it for shaving. You can place your block ice in 5 gallon buckets or restaurant bus trays during the tempering process. Once the ice block begins to melt on the outside surfaces, simply place the block into chest type ice coolers (48 or 60 quart coolers works best) in order to maintain the temperature. This sweating or melting of the ice blocks will be your signal that that ice has reached the tempered stage. If for some reason your block ice gets too warm either during the tempering process or while in the coolers, the ice will become clumpy and will not hold flavor well. If this happens, simply place the ice back into the freezer to refreeze.

One tip that will help with tempering is to adjust the temperature of your block ice storage freezer as close to 18 to 20 degrees as you can. Simply place a freezer thermometer inside your freezer to determine the temperature setting. Allow 24 hours to pass for each temperature adjustment before taking your readings.

Tempering ice will take some practice. Depending on how busy your business is, you will need to adjust how many ice blocks are tempered at one time. You will also need to get a feel for how often you need to replenish your tempered blocks. Remember, if you temper too many blocks at one time you can always refreeze them.

For shaved ice and snow cone machines that use cube ice, tempering is not necessary.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Get into the Slush Drink Business

Do high profit margins interest you? If so, you should look into offering slush drinks. As an add-on product line or as a stand alone business, slush drinks are a popular commodity enjoyed by people everywhere! With profit margins reaching an average of 80%, it's not surprising that this is an attractive product for many business owners.

If you are interested in adding slush drinks to your existing business or if you are thinking of starting a business that specializes in slush drinks (also called granitas and frozen margaritas), please contact us at We would enjoy discussing your plans. We carry a full line of slush machines and our award winning syrup flavors create the best tasting slush drinks on the market today! also has an 11 page Slush Drink manual available by request that details more information about these drinks, profit margins, information about various machine types and more! Give us a call or email us today!

Basic Business Principles

I came across this slideshow recently and thought it was worth sharing with you.

As business owners (or potential business owners), it's important to establish these principles from the very beginning. However, if you haven't established some basic operating principles for your's not too late! In light of today's fragile economy I would encourage you to seriously take the time to analyze your business, streamline your operations, and stay on top of everything.

In future posts, I hope to delve into some of these points a little more in-depth. Greg Fisher (creator of this presentation) is a fan of Guy Kawasaki, as I am too. I think Guy has a lot of great wisdom and experience on business operations and how to maximize the impact of your company. So, I plan on looking to him for well qualified information along with personal experiences in my business dealings over the past 20 years.

So...there's more coming. But, for now I encourage you to view the slideshow and also visit Greg Fisher's site too - he has quite a bit of good, helpful information on his site.


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Just for Fun

Is your cotton candy good enough to drive pets crazy?

Check out all of the great equipment and supplies at We feature only the best equipment and top quality supplies!

Celebrate Valentine's Day with a Summer Treat

Valentine's Day is only a couple of weeks away. Why not get a little creative this year guys and do something different! is running a Valentine's Day sale on all of their products. If you have a shaved ice or snow cone machine at home, why not order a couple of Valentine's Day related flavors, such as cherry or strawberry. If you don't have a snow cone or shaved ice machine, check out our excellent home packages. They are shipped quickly to your home and include everything you need to make delicious frozen treats!

Order flavors or a complete kit and celebrate Valentine's Day by bringing a taste of summer to your loved one! Of course if you're really bold and daring you could serve her a tasty snow cone or shaved ice along with an envelope that has tickets to Hawaii in it! :)

Happy Valentines Day from!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Shaved Ice Enjoyed by Our Nation's President

Well, it looks official to me. Shaved ice is getting the presidential treatment now.

Even though these photos were taken prior to Barack Obama becoming the President of the United States, I'm sure that we'll see him treating himself and his girls to another round of shaved ice in the near future. Because, as all of us know...shaved ice is ADDICTING and DELICIOUS!

Byrd House Enterprises, Arkansas

Byrd House Enterprises is a company owned by Patrick Byrd which is involved in many different areas of the business world (property management, furniture, online marketing, and shaved ice). I had the opportunity to talk to Brandy, who manages and operates the shaved ice portion of Byrd House Enterprises. Here’s what Brandy had to say about how they operate their shaved ice business in Arkansas.

What’s the name of your shaved ice business?

Brandy: We chose to just go with just calling it Hawaiian Shaved Ice.

How many years have you been in business?

Brandy: We are starting our 3rd season. We are opening our stand on April 1st. Our season will end on August 31st. We used to stay open until October. However, once school started back up, our sales dropped tremendously. So, we’ve decided to shorten our season.

Why did you choose to go into the shaved ice business?

Brandy: Simply put…money. When the location became available to us after another stand moved away, we decided to open our own stand in that same location. We knew that there was only one other shaved ice business and it was on the opposite side of town. We saw the potential and went for it.

Would you tell us a little about your equipment and where you operate?

Brandy: We purchased a 6’x14’ trailer from and love it. It’s sharp looking and attractive to our customers. We use a New Orleans Block Machine. It’s extremely dependable and makes great shaved ice. In my opinion, it’s the perfect machine for a high volume stand. We only sell shaved ice. We are a neighborhood stand and have an excellent location. It’s a prime spot. Of course, we produce an excellent product which brings people back time after time, but our location is a major factor to the success of our stand too.

One thing that’s interesting to me is the fact that most of our customers (around 60%) are adults. After school gets out, we see a lot of kids. During the summer break, we get a lot of kids too. But, most of the time we serve more adults than kids. We also have a couple of local businesses who will come over on a regular basis and order shaved ice for all of their employees. They’ll bring a list with everyone’s order, we’ll make them, box it up and they take them back to everybody.

What advice would you give to someone interested in starting their own shaved ice business?

Brandy: Three things come to mind. First, take the time to find a prime location where the market isn’t flooded with competitors. Securing a great location is incredibly important to the success of any business. Do some research and find the best location possible. Second, work the stand yourself. Be dedicated to the success of your business. The best way to grow your business is to be directly involved in the day to day operations. Finally, keep your stand clean. People notice. A clean stand serving great products adds up to quality. Quality matters to your customers. Quality creates repeat customers.

What has been your best day as far as gross sales?

Brandy: July 4th has been our best sales day. I don’t have an absolute figure that I can give you. However, we probably sold 350-400 servings that day at an average price of $2 per serving. Conservatively, I’d say our profit margin runs about 30%. We have never really put “pen to paper” to run the numbers and come up with those kind of figures. So, 30% is probably a very conservative number.

How has helped your business?

Brandy: Dealing with is great. I know that I can call Carly, tell her what I need and it’s on its way to me. Sometimes I have called her three times in one day…she’s great. Their support is fantastic and their products are unrivaled.

Have you had any funny moments with customers or employees?

Brandy: The only thing that comes to mind is that we had a customer who, for some reason, had her mouth wired shut for close to three months. She came to our stand everyday for lunch and dinner…everyday! She always ordered the same thing, Honolulu Hawaiian with cream. I think our stand was the only way she survived for those three months!

What’s your favorite shaved ice flavor?

Brandy: My all time favorite is definitely mango with cream.

I want to thank Byrd House Enterprises and especially thank Brandy for taking time out of her busy schedule to discuss their shaved ice business with me. I know that their insight into operating a neighborhood shaved ice stand will prove to be invaluable to other concessions owners and potential shaved ice owners. From everyone at, we wish you a “long hot summer” full of sales!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Our Most Popular Shaved Ice Package is Now on Sale

The most popular shaved ice package at is on sale now! Save over $500.00! This starter package includes all of the equipment and supplies you need to get your shaved ice business started.

- Hatsuyuki Cubed Ice Shaved Ice Shaver HC-8E (may be upgraded to any shaved ice machine for an additional charge)
- Foot Switch(Not available with Model #HC-8EDC)
- 20 Gallons of Flavor Concentrate - your choice
- 12 Quarts of Flavor Concentrate - your choice
- 6 Gallons of Sodium Benzoate
- 2 Gallon of Citric Acid
- 1 Case of 8 oz foam cups (plain)
- 2 Cases of 12 oz foam cups (printed)
- 2 Cases of 16 oz foam cups (printed)
- 1 Case of 20 oz foam cups (printed)
- 1 Case of Spoonstraws (10,000 total)
- 4 boxes of medium weight plastic spoons (4,000)
- 1 Case of Dispenser Napkins
- 1 Napkin Dispenser
- 1 Case of Take Out Trays
- 72 Plastic Long Neck Quart Serving Bottles with Caps
- 24 Gallons Jugs with Caps
- 72 Plastic Pourer - Pro Style
- 48 Nightcaps
- 64 Mylar Bottle Labels
- 36 Squeeze Bottles
- 1 20 Gallon Graduated Mixing Container
- 1 Bottle Washer
- 1 32 Ounce Rubbermaid Ice Scoop
- 1 Stirring Paddle
- 1 8 ounce Rubbermaid Measuring Cup
- 1 16 ounce Rubbermaid Measuring Cup
- 1 8 ounce heavy-duty funnel
- 2 16 ounce heavy-duty funnel
- 1 6 prong ice pick
- Substitute either block shaver for the cube ice shaver.

To learn more about some of the particulars about all of these supplies, please visit Remember, the benefit of ordering new equipment now, during the winter time, is that you have plenty of time to familiarize yourself with it. By practicing with new equipment during the off season, you'll ensure that you and your staff are ready when warmer weather comes and the customers start lining up at your location!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Spinning Cotton Candy is an Acquired Art!

Not just anyone can spin up a perfect looking serving of cotton candy. It takes practice (as many concessionaires can attest)! You don't believe me? :)

Check out this pitiful attempt at spinning cotton candy!

See what I mean??

Check out for all of the best cotton candy equipment and supplies!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Ninja Turtle Flavored Syrup Recipe

Kids love flavors that are associated with TV shows, comics, or adding a
Ninja Turtle flavor to your stand should be well received by kids everywhere!

Ninja Turtle

2 ounces of Lime Concentrate
2 ounces of Banana Concentrate

The recipe listed above is for making one gallon of ready-to-use syrup. Simply add the ingredients to a gallon jug. Top off with preserved simple syrup, cap, and shake well. If quarts are needed in any of the following specialty recipes, simply divide the measurements by 4.

This is a great time (during the winter months) to experiment with various flavor combinations and refine them in order to create new 'signature' flavors for your stand. Please feel free to visit for more recipe ideas. Using our award winning syrups at your business will ensure you are providing your customers with the best tasting flavors available!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Summer Snow in Minnesota!

Summer Snow is a mobile concessions business in Minnesota. In a phone interview, I had the opportunity to speak with Jamie about her business. Over the past two years, her business has experienced rapid growth. Their sales tripled between their first and second season. Now, her goal is to double sales in the third season. Here’s how she answered some of my questions.

How many years have you been operating your business?

Jamie: We will be entering our third season starting in May. Our first season, we were only open June, July, and August. Our second season went from May through September 1st. We are planning on running our stands on that schedule this year too.

Why did you decide to open a shaved ice business?

Jamie: While growing up in the Dallas, TX area, we had numerous shaved ice stands around us. It was a summer tradition. When we moved to Minnesota, we realized that there were pretty much nonexistent. Because we like and enjoy shaved ice and the market seemed to be wide open here, we decided to venture into the business.

Are you a dedicated neighborhood stand or do you sell at special events and festivals?

Jamie: Our first season, we tried setting up in one consistent location. We quickly found out that it wasn’t how we wanted to operate. We started concentrating on special events in our area and things started to take off for us then. Our first year was “hit and miss” as far as finding good events. However, after receiving customer referrals on other good events and being directly invited to participate in high attendance events, we have grown rapidly. We now set up our trailer at a local soccer complex during the week and then operate at events on the weekends.

What advice do you have for a potential shaved ice business owner?

Jamie: If they were up here in our area, I’d advise them to do special events. I would also recommend that they visit the website and download the free business manual there. It was very helpful in answering some of our questions. It also gave us the confidence we needed to push forward and open up our business. One thing that we did in the very beginning was use the recommended ‘Free Day.’ Our first day, we probably handed out over 1000 sample cups of shaved ice. Even though it was free day, we still sold around $400 worth of products!

Another thing to remember as a mobile concessionaire: a line attracts more people. During slow times, we will sometimes send out an employee who will give away sample cups of shaved ice. Pretty soon, you have a few people in line and the line starts growing again. At some concerts, we use printed coupons that give the customer 50 cents off. When it’s slow, we’ll have an employee or two go out and start giving those coupons out. Again, our line will start growing and sales start increasing again.

We have experienced great growth. We started out with a small, older trailer our first season. Our second year we sold the smaller trailer, ordered a custom 8x12 trailer and still ended up adding a tent, tables, and a second machine. With our newer trailer, we have been invited to work at events because of the professional appearance we maintain. Entering into our third season, we have replaced the tent and tables with a cart setup. At some events, we plan on operating in two different locations within the same event. We are also planning to do private party catering (setting a flat rate for a certain time limit) with the cart.

What has been your best day as far as gross sales?

Jamie: Our goal at any event is to average $200 per hour for an 8 hour day. If we do this, we are very successful.

What is your profit margin?

Jamie: This is hard to calculate since overall our company is still losing money. We have expanded quickly. We also have about 8 employees that work for us each season. It’s expensive to maintain employees in our state. However, if we hit the mark of $200 per hour at our events, we do pretty well.

How has 1-800-Shaved-Ice helped your company?

Jamie: When we initially found their website and used their Cold Cash Business Manual, we were very pleased. Now we order our products over the phone and it has been great. We have had several other companies try to get us to purchase their products, but we have stayed with 1-800-Shaved-Ice from the beginning. We like their flavors!

Do you sell other items in addition to shaved ice?

Jamie: We sell quite a few other items. Mini doughnuts, fruit smoothies, frozen coffee drinks, ice cream sundaes, soda, water, and candy are all items that are on our menu. It varies sometimes from one event to another as far as what we sell. Our goal is to get people to our stand however possible. Another thing we like about having multiple products is that if a family comes up, we can potentially serve all of them. One person might want a shaved ice, another a smoothie, another may want a bottle of water, etc.

What are your favorite shaved ice flavors?

Jamie: Wedding cake is my favorite flavor. My husband also likes the sour flavors.

Thanks for taking the time to discuss your business with me Jamie. I appreciate it. Everyone at 1-800-Shaved-Ice appreciates you too! We are thrilled about the growth of your business. We hope that your third season will be the best yet!