Great debate may occur over what is better, a cone or a cup. Some prefer it in a sundae, others love it as a sandwich, while traditionalists are all about the scoops. But what is never disputed is that Canadians love ice cream.

We rank sixth in the world for ice cream consumption, with each person averaging 85 scoops per year; despite our notoriously cold winters, our demand for the cooling treat shoots up in the warmer months!

The sweet news is that the Canadian ice cream market is growing. The industry has been in flux for the past two decades due to the rise in health consciousness. However, in 2022, the market measured almost $1 billion in revenue and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.3% from 2021 to 2026, according to IBIS World.

An ice cream shop owner serving up a tasty treat.

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The growth will be where Canadians have shown a growing interest — speciality ice creams, artisan crafted, with international flavours and innovative toppings. Also, dietary restrictions or specific lifestyle choices mean consumers seek options made with natural flavours, plant-based ingredients, and less sugar.

Regardless of the type of ice cream shop you own, a customized business insurance policy is vital to your success.

What Risks Do Ice Cream Shop Owners Face?

An ice cream shop is rife with slippery floors and equipment malfunction. Top that with staff rushing to serve a line around the corner on a hot sunny day, and you have an accident waiting to happen. Risks can include the following:

  • Slips and falls: A simple slip can quickly become a sticky situation where a customer is concerned.
  • Equipment hazards: Like any machinery, ice cream machines and other equipment can malfunction or cause injuries if not properly maintained.
  • Food-related issues: With ingredients, food storage, and handling procedures comes contamination, spoilage, or allergic reactions. For example, you could be liable if a customer becomes ill after visiting your shop.
  • Property damage: Fire, theft, or vandalism can cause costly damage and may require temporary shop closure.
  • Employee lawsuits: Your staff could sue you for various reasons, including wrongful termination, discrimination, or harassment.

Your job is to pass pure joy over the counter to your customers, but it only takes a second for a mishap to occur that could turn those smiles upside down.

How Can Insurance Protect Ice Cream Shop Owners?

A comprehensive business insurance policy for ice cream shop owners typically includes the following coverages:

  • General liability insurance: General liability insurance is the most common flavour of coverage business owners purchase. It protects against third-party claims for bodily injury or property damage. For example, if a customer slips and falls on spilt ice cream and is injured, general liability can cover the injured person’s medical expenses and provide business owners with funds to cover their legal defence if sued.
  • Commercial property insurance: It’s critical to safeguard your shop against damage caused by fire, water damage, theft, vandalism, or extreme weather. That’s what commercial property insurance covers.

Both general liability and commercial property insurance can be purchased as part of a business owner’s policy (BOP). This package is a more robust option comprising multiple coverage types. 

Adding optional coverages, or endorsements, to customize a BOP gets you the protection you need with no gaps. Therefore, you might wish to consider adding these coverages to your policy:

  • Business interruption insurance: To keep your business on track, get business interruption insurance to cover fixed expenses and lost revenue if your ice cream shop has to close due to a covered loss.
  • Product liability insurance: Protect your sweet success with product liability insurance. It’s critical when making, supplying, or selling food products. If a customer claims harm or sickness from your ice-cold goods and sues for compensation, this insurance covers awarded damages and legal expenses.
  • Equipment breakdown insurance: Faster than ice cream melting on a hot day, an equipment failure can spoil your shop’s success. That’s where equipment breakdown insurance comes into focus. If your ice cream machines, refrigerators, or other essential machinery suddenly break down due to mechanical failures or an electrical surge, it pays for repairing or replacing your equipment.
  • Commercial auto insurance: If you use a vehicle to transport supplies or inventory for your ice cream shop, you need commercial auto insurance. It covers damages to business vehicles.
  • Cyber liability insurance: Cybercrime incidents like data breaches and cyber-attacks will only increase, which is why cyber liability insurance is a valuable safeguard. It covers software restoration expenses, credit monitoring, legal advice, and notification fees following a cyber-attack or data breach.
  • Commercial crime insurance: A preventive measure against possible loss due to internal theft, fraud, or other criminal acts jeopardizing the bottom line, commercial crime insurance helps preserve financial stability. 

There may be other coverages your policy requires. Speak to a Zensurance broker if you have questions about how insurance can help protect your ice cream shop.

Can Insurance Protect Ice Cream Truck Owners?

For those who love to spread happiness all over town, you can cue the music for every kid’s favourite sound. And have no fears — insurance coverage is also available for ice cream truck owners! 

Ice cream truck insurance has much in common with ice cream shop insurance but with a particular focus on the specific risks you may face on the road. You’ll want coverage that protects you and your ice cream truck (or fleet of trucks) from accidents, collisions, and equipment theft.

How Can Ice Cream Shops Reduce Their Liability Risks?

Beyond insurance, ice cream shop owners can take additional measures to minimize liability risks. If you’d like to know how to sprinkle extra safety precautions, check out these tips:

  • Maintain a clean and organized shop by regularly cleaning, mopping spills, clearing debris, and keeping walkways obstacle-free. Use clear signage to warn customers of potential hazards.
  • Inspect your premises regularly for potential hazards.
  • Regularly inspect and maintain your ice cream machines and equipment to minimize the risk of accidents.
  • Educate your staff on proper food handling, allergen awareness, waste disposal, storage practices, and hygiene standards to prevent food-related issues and customer dissatisfaction.
  • Train your staff in customer safety and have them call 911 if a customer is injured.
  • Have a well-equipped first-aid kit, including essential items and consider taking a first-aid class.
  • Obtain all necessary permits and licenses required for operating your ice cream shop.

How to Get the Insurance Coverage Your Ice Cream Shop Needs

A successful ice cream shop is a safe and protected one. So, no more waffling; get the business insurance your shop needs, and enjoy the sweet taste of a worry-free business.

Fill out our online application for a free quote. Our friendly brokers will shop our partner network of over 50 Canadian insurance providers to find a low-cost policy and customize it to suit your needs.

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About the Author: Alexandria Anthony

Alexandria Anthony is the Team Lead, Property & Hospitality, at Zensurance.