Slush beverage businesses are in big demand! The global slush machine market size is expected to grow to $420.4 million by 2028, up from $338m in 2022. Consumers benefit from an ice cool drink on a hot day whilst businesses enjoy cool returns with gross profits of over 84%. Read on to learn more about how to start a slush business.
What is a slush business?
A slush or slushy is an iced beverage, typically made by mixing water, sugar and various flavors including strawberry, lemon, grape, strawberry, raspberry, lemon and lime, cola and orange. The slush freezes at thirty-two-degree Fahrenheit (32°F)/zero degrees celsius (0°C).
A slush machine business uses an appliance to mix the flavors into a slush texture.The following steps are taken to make slush puppies:
- Add sugar and boiling water to a cup or mug and stir continuously until the sugar is fully dissolved. Place it aside, so it cools down
- Add the fruit or other ingredients to the cold syrup and add the ice cubes in the blender
- Add the syrup over the ice and blend until it is even. If you still find some ice in the slushy, push them down with a spoon and continue blending.
Slush businesses are profitable ventures with 84% profit margins. For example, a regular slush drink can cost 25c to make, but can be sold for $1.63 – making you a profit of $1.38 per cup. Other add-ons can yield greater returns including cups, straws and accessories.
6 tips for opening a slush business
1 – Understand your target audience
It’s hard to find someone who doesn’t like these refreshing drinks! Once you start a slush business, you’ll get to attract a variety of target audiences, and especially:
- Families with kids: Some of them will just want to grab some slush drinks for their children, whereas some others will happily sit for a while if you have some tables
- Young people: They’re looking for something different: from couples to groups of friends, your slush drinks can be an exciting alternative to coffee dates or canned drinks. Consider selling some cocktail slush also
- Passers-by: Slush drinks are also the perfect treat to be enjoyed on the go, whether that’s walking into town or heading to work and university
2 – Find a supplier of slush machines and ingredients
TAYLOR, Ali, Bunn, Donper, Elmeco, Vollrath, MKK, CAB S.p.A, GQ Food, Wilbur Curtis, Nostalgia, Cofrimell, Chubu Corporation are the top slush business companies operating in the market.
You can reach out to one of these firms online and arrange a product introduction to review your budget, requirements and the various product features. Prospective slush business owners can budget between $1k – $6k per slush machine depending on the size and level of sophistication you’re looking for.
Beyond that, you’ll need to source the ingredients, primarily the flavors you intend to mix into your slush. Think about your target audience and what they would like to drink. Young kids may prefer Cherry, Fruit Punch, Grape, Green Apple, Lemon, Mango, Orange, & Pink Lemonade,
Adult flavors include Apple Cider, Blue Raspberry, Margarita, Strawberry Daquiri, Sweet Tea, & Pina Colada, Made with Natural and Artificial flavors.
3 – Choose a good location
As part of your business plan on how to open a slush business, you must select a good location. Choosing a smart location for your slush food truck or slush vending machine that is convenient for your customers.
If you’re operating from a food truck, setting up near a busy kids playground or residential areas may prove fruitful. If you’re planning to set up a slushy vending machine, think about shopping malls or office environments that would complement your offering.
These are just a few questions that you must consider when choosing a location. Make sure that you always consider what customers want and adapt your ingredients and flavors to the latest trends.
4 – Work on your finances
Your project is developing now but you’ll need to firm up on the figures. For this, you’ll need to develop a business plan for your slush business project and its financial plan. This is an essential step to ensure the success of your business, particularly if you’re looking for a business loan.
It lists all your expenses and allows you to estimate your revenues. The business plan will allow you to validate the profitability of your project. This is when you can decide if you need to use financing solutions and which particular options would work best: Bank loan, crowdfunding, investors or something different.
The business plan is generally required by the banks or other financial partners from which you apply for financing and therefore should be clear, precise and complete. You may need a business starter loan from your local bank, Credit Union or avail or start your business with loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration.
Good to know: The budget needed to open a slush business depends on the investments needed for the slush machines, rental of a food truck or space in a mall, the equipment, the cash requirement at launch and more. Prospective owners should budget an estimate of between $2,000 to $10,000 depending on the above items.
5 – Equip yourself with the right business tools
To ensure your business runs smoothly, it’s in your best interest to equip yourself with powerful and efficient tools. In particular, you’ll need to:
- Open a business bank account
- Obtain a credit card machine to allow customers to pay with card
- Use accounting software to record day-to-day financial transactions and/or use an online accountant
- Choose a cash register software adapted to your business
From an inventory point of view, you should consider:
- Equipment: Plastic bowl, lid, slush supply, mixing motor, drip tray, selection switch, cups, mugs, lids, straws and holders
- Marketing: Product stickers and signs
- Cleaning: Cleaning utensils and agents
6 – Market your business
As your slush business gets ready to open its doors, you will want to invest in marketing your slush business like crazy! This doesn’t have to be expensive, however it should be well-thought-through.
Take care of the basics like developing your branding, product logos and signs. Set up your slush business website, open your social media accounts, and reach out to local media including newspapers and gazettes.
Communicating about your activity and collecting the opinions of your customers is a good solution to engage your customers in your project and to improve yourself, always with the pursuit of customer satisfaction.
A Google Business page, a professional website, a presence on social networks are good ways to talk about your slush business, attract new customers, retain them and create a community around your activity.
Choose a couple of platforms and learn them in and out. For slush businesses, Instagram, and TikTok are excellent. If you spend time on social media, be sure to post content for when your followers are most active to maximize the engagement.
Ensure your images that you post on Instagram are eye-catching, photos that will make your audience stop scrolling and click onto your profile to see more.
Your slush business Grand Opening
Having a “grand opening” weekend or month will drive community awareness, buzz, and excitement. Your grand opening should be the start of your year-long master marketing plan to introduce yourself to your community and your customers. Hook them in with loyalty cards and stay focused on building relationships.
Regulations for opening a slush business?
To open a slush business, you’ll need to pay attention to certain business obligations and requirements.
A slush business may require obtaining permits necessary for food and beverage serving business. For example, a slush business in the U.S. requires permits like a business license, occupancy certificate, foodservice license, food handler’s permit, music license, seller’s permit, and others.
When choosing a location for your bookstore slush business, you should be aware of the zoning requirements. Depending on your location, the government will have zoning and development regulations in place, and these regulations are enforced to ensure public health and safety.
Understand what permits are required in your country/city and ensure you have them in place to avoid any complications.
You may also have display obligations including:
- Tax-inclusive prices of beverages and food displayed
- Menu ingredients and allergies
- Payment methods accepted
It may also be mandatory to take out professional insurance before opening your slush business.
Training needed to open a slush business?
A college degree or qualification is not required in order to open a slush business. Experience in the field or in business is encouraged but not needed either.
Local colleges like four-year private or public universities or two-year community colleges also have classes that you can take. Consider looking into one of those institutions to take a class on small business management or entrepreneurship to boost your confidence and knowledge base.
How long does it take for a slushy machine to freeze?
There are many factors that affect the formation of slushies including the ambient temperature, initial material temperature, sugar levels and more. Generally, when you use refrigerated material, it takes longer to produce the finished product.
If you fill the material in the canister when the material level drops to half in the canister, it will also reduce the slushie formation time. As long as you follow the instructions, the longest time taken to produce the slush varies from half-hour to one hour.
To make sure that the process of the slush machine isn’t affected, you need to make sure that some things are accounted for:
- To preserve the material inside the canister, use the soft drink mode
- Before switching off the product and leaving the material inside, be sure to freeze the content for at least one hour. It will prevent the formation of lumps of ice that might damage the spiral and motor
- When the slushie is in the canister, make sure never to turn off the slush supply switch as it might damage the motor and spiral
- Keep the frozen ice maker in a well-vented place to avoid overheating
- The quality of the slushy depends entirely on you. As long as you follow the exact guide, it will be easier for you to make the perfect slushy.
What business structure should I use to open a slush business?
When setting up a slush business, you’ll need to think about what business structure will work best.
Many prospective business owners find themselves lost in the complexity of understanding and indeed choosing between an LLC, a sole proprietorship, a partnership or another alternative.
In the case of slush business, we advise you to choose one of these legal forms:
- A Limited Liability Company (LLC) for one or multiple owners
- Sole proprietorship if you own an unincorporated business by yourself
LLC’s are often preferred as, unlike a sole proprietorship, their business structure in the U.S. protects its owners from personal responsibility for its debts or liabilities.
An attorney or accountant can also explain to you how to open a slush business or you can choose a company formation service. These services offer excellent legal advice and business formations at a fraction of the price of a traditional attorney.
Is a slush business profitable?
Slush businesses are very profitable and are known to command gross profits of over 84% with few startup overhead costs and high margins on the product sold.
What do you need for a slushy machine?
A slushy machine needs a plastic bowl, lid, slush supply, mixing motor, drip tray, selection switch and product sticker. The machine should be kept away from heat-generating sources, humidity, dust, water and combustible gasses as well as regularly cleaned.
How much does it cost to make slushies?
A slushie can be made for as little as $0.40 for a 20 oz. frozen drink. This can vary based on the slushie mix used but a good rule of thumb would be a cost of $0.02 per oz.
Tom is the founder of Gottagrow.io. He reads the offers, deciphers the details including features, pricing, included services and more to find you the best products and services.