The success of a new soft-serve program depends on asking the right questions upfront.

Soft-serve is known to drive significant profits for quick-service restaurants—in fact, margins can reach 80 to 90 percent. Customers love the nostalgia of soft-serve, and with the right visually appealing add-ons, they’re inspired to share their dessert on social media and become brand advocates. When restaurants set up a soft-serve program, they can quickly establish themselves as a destination for a great family experience.

“Soft-serve brings a lot of people back to their childhoods,” says Randy Antila, senior director of global key accounts at Taylor Company. “On social media, you’re also seeing so many different flavors and crossover options. It’s nostalgic, it’s fun, and there are so many different things you can do with it now.”

“Ice cream is seen as a destination,” says Greg Pryal, senior sales director at Taylor Company. “If you have kids, you know there’s a difference between saying ‘Let’s go get a burger’ and ‘Let’s go get ice cream.’ They view ice cream as an experience.” 

Before operators invest in soft-serve equipment, however, there are several considerations to keep top of mind. Operators need to make sure the equipment can perform at the level they need without draining their existing resources.

A strong soft-serve program must deliver consistent product every time, and it needs to recover quickly—especially in high-volume situations. Reliability and repeatability are key, and Taylor Company prides itself on those qualities. “There’s nothing worse than having a line of people and you’re waiting for the machine to catch up,” Antila says. “That’s where Taylor comes in. We’ve got machines that are just absolute workhorses. You’re talking 15 gallons of product an hour or 40 consecutive servings—even more if you’re using the right pump system. You’re getting the same exact serving every single time—there’s no discrepancy from the first one to the fortieth. They all look and taste the same.”

When the machine does need to cycle, it must happen quickly so customers aren’t stuck waiting. Taylor equipment is designed to recover within minutes. “You’re not waiting 10–15 minutes for the unit to cycle,” Antila says. “You can get back to that line of people waiting. Taylor units have that quick recovery time, and it makes your operation that much more smooth.”

Taylor’s service offerings also set it apart from the competition, with strong support throughout the life of the equipment. From recommending the right equipment to operators based on volume and counter space to assisting with menu development, equipment training, and routine maintenance and repairs, the Taylor distributor network offers comprehensive assistance.

“We’re not just dropping off a piece of stainless steel and walking away,” Antila says. “We’re building a relationship. There’s no one in the industry that offers the support that we have.” On-the-ground local technicians are on hand via the Taylor distributor network as well as dedicated over-the-phone guidance.

Overall, Antila says, it’s important for operators to consider the long term when they decide to expand their brand with a soft-serve program. “We’re here for people who are serious about really improving their business based on an ice cream format,” Antila says. “There’s a big difference between simply buying a piece of equipment and entering a 20-year relationship with a company that’s going to be by your side the entire time.”

To learn more, visit the Taylor Company website.

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