No shiitake! Meet the Ice Cream Ninjas …
Ching, Chong Cha – the Ice Cream Ninjas are out and about – with a promise to turn any event into an occasion.
Ice Cream Ninjas will meet your expectations with an experience to blow your delegates away. Placing ice cream on a frozen slab and then using their ninja skills to mix in whatever you want from brownies to cookie dough to peanut butter to fudge to popping candy.
Event Stuff South Africa recently met with creator and owner Anton Fester, Head Ninja for a delicious discussion on ice cream !
When and how did the Ice Cream Ninjas start?
I worked for a major tobacco company for about 10 years before I was retrenched. My last position was in the marketing department. Once I had heard that there was going to be a restructure and that my role was affected, I decided that this was my out of corporate and started looking at what I could do in the food industry.
I started looking at franchises and realised 3 things: they are expensive; all the best sites are already taken; there is no room for creativity. I then thought back to an ice cream shop I went to in New York (I seriously hadn't thought about this place in about 4 years) and googled it.
I found the place and after looking on their website saw that they are looking to expand internationally. For $2mil I could hold the master franchise for SA. This was a bit too rich for my liking!
After more research I realised that there are more chains that use the same concept of mixing things into ice cream on a frozen slab. I clicked that concept wasn't exclusive and that was my in. I used all my experience in marketing to create the Ice Cream Ninjas brand.
Your ice cream takes on a different form in comparison to most ice cream shops. What sets the Ice Cream Ninjas apart from other ice cream places in Cape Town?
I believe that going for an ice cream is almost always a celebration or a treat (sometimes a cheat) and at many places, unfortunately, it's treated as a transaction. You walk up, choose two flavours or decide if you want a flake with that, you pay, they give you something and you leave.
We believe that the emotions you arrive with are not always matched by the response. We try and create an experience by engaging with you in a very playful way (one of our values is that we're addicted to smiles) and delivering an ice cream that is custom made.
The truth is that I looked at several food segments and got a little intimidated by the players. If I were to open a chicken place I'd be up against the Colonel and Nandos. Burgers would have me pitted against Steers, McD, Spur and several other really impressive gourmet options.
The same goes for pizza. These are all very sophisticated marketing entities and would blow me out the water with my limited budget.
I did some research into the ice cream segment and, although there are a few established players, I preferred my odds here. I reasoned that ice cream is a purchase that people would at least be prepared to try a new offer and, if they liked it, they'd tell all their friends :)
What do you do at events?
Firstly, we LOVE being at events. The eventing side has been the dessert option at the Nederburg Wine Auction, VIP area at the J&B Met as well as several high profile weddings. We have been utilised as either a replacement for the traditional post ceremony canapé's or as a full on dessert option.
We like to operate in the second space because desserts are, unfortunately, a bit of a non-event in the flow of a wedding or event. They're either a sweet buffet that few people interact with, or it’s a sweet thing that gets placed on a table that very often goes uneaten.
That's where we go full ninja and throw ice cream around! We can normally put together between 550 (our Bonzai unit) and 5000 (our Sumo unit) combinations.
Favourites are the Brown Bear (chocolate ice cream, brownie, Caramello Bear and milk chocolate sauce), the Nutty Latte (coffee ice cream, caramalised cashews, pecan nuts and fudge) or the Sweet Seduction (coffee and crème ice cream, cookie dough, fudge, Oreo and peanut butter).
We can do various alcoholic sauce options like a sinful caramel and brandy or decadent Amarula and Belgian chocolate ganache. I'm dying to crack out a tequila sauce served with rock salt and lemon ice cream! Pricing is comparable with the dessert option from a top end caterer or wedding venue.
Where do we get more info?
Anton Fester, Head Ninja !