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What Do You Need To Get Your Hawaiian Shaved Ice Business Started?

If you are looking for a simple business idea with a relatively low overhead and great profit potential, shaved ice is the way to go. Think about it, in the brutal heat of the summer, what tastes better than a cool, wet, sweet treat? But before you dive in, you may want to know a little bit more about the business. One very important question is, “What exactly do you need to start a shaved ice business?” If you decide to take the plunge, here are the essentials that you will need to get started.



Your top priority is just finding the right place to house your business. This could be a truck or a full-fledged shop. Which ever you have, though, it should not only be in a good location to take advantage of foot traffic, it should come equipped with a few essential things.

  • A Three Compartment Sink– Food industry protocol generally dictates that you should have one compartment for washing dishes, one for rinsing and one for sanitizing.
  • A Service Window– Service windows are essential. How else will customers get your product?
  • Air Conditioning– Who ever is manning your shop will be happier and more productive with air conditioning. This is also a good way to keep your product from melting between the ice shaver and the customer’s hand.
  • Spray Nozzle– This should be mounted near the ice machine and is necessary for convenient cleaning of your machine.
  • Hot and Cold Running Water– Oh so many reasons. Some health departments require this. It is also necessary if you are mixing your own syrups or cleaning in general.
  • Drip Pans and Drainage– You will need somewhere for excess water and liquids to go. This should discharge into an appropriate drainage system.
  • Shelves– You are going to need a place to store things that are not being used all the time. This can include extra equipment, cups, napkins and extra syrup.

Eye Catching Displays

Most of your business is likely to come from impulse buys and foot traffic. You should, therefore, make sure that people can see you, know who you are and what you have to offer.

  • Awning– The purpose of an awning is two-fold. First, it gives shade to people. Second, if you choose a bright color and perhaps put your logo on it, it can get the attention of potential customers.
  • Menu Board– You can do this as a sandwich board on the sidewalk or as a menu board posted on the side of your shop on either side of your service window. This lets customers know what you have to offer so that they will not have to ask and will be ready to order when they get to you. It is also for enticing potential customers.

Extra Essentials

These are good things to have that do not necessarily fit in another category.

  • Fire extinguisher– This may seem silly in a shaved ice shop until a motor in one of your appliances burns out and begins to smoke.
  • A First Aid Kit– This is an essential no matter what you are doing.


  • Refrigerator– To keep items that need to stay cool.
  • Freezer– Where else will you keep your ice? A chest freezer comes highly recommended over an upright.
  • Ice Shaver– The star of the show.
  • Cash Register– For obvious reasons.


For Your Customers’ Comfort

There are some things you will need, or that are at least nice to have, for your customers’ comfort and convenience.

  • Picnic Tables with Umbrellas– Once they have their shaved ice, they may want a comfortable place to sit for a few minutes to enjoy their shaved ice. Offering this makes you not only look like a good business owner, but a good host.
  • A Radio– It may seem like a small thing but sometimes the small things can make all the difference to customers as well as staff.


This list should give you a rough estimate of what you will need to get your shaved ice business off the ground. It does not have to be complicated, but make no mistake, it is a business. It requires dedication to customer service and producing a quality product. It does not stand to reason, however, that any of that needs to be complicated.