Whether you’re hosting an employee appreciation event or a new product launch, we’ve got plenty of ice cream catering ideas to help you plan something professional yet fun. Here we’ll cover key points like budgeting as well as most major aspects of ice-cream themed events.
How much does it cost to cater an ice cream party?
Before you even begin planning your event, you need to consider how each option will fit into your budget. DIY catering allows you to have complete creative control and can be a lot cheaper. On the other hand, professional ice cream catering from famous brands is convenient and exciting for guests who already know and love the flavors you’ve picked.
Whichever you choose, here’s a closer look at the real numbers behind ice cream party catering:
How much does DIY ice cream catering cost?
A gallon of ice cream at most grocery stores averages about $5-$7 each and serves up to 16 people (if everyone is served one cup total). You’ll also need scooping tools (roughly $3 per scooper), bowls and/or cones (about $4 for 12 at most bulk stores), and spoons (use disposable ones to make clean up faster).
In total, you can expect to spend around $60 (give or take depending on sales tax and the quality of your chosen tools) for an event with 50 guests. Additional toppings and all other event essentials will obviously cost extra.
How much does Cold Stone catering cost?
According to the Cold Stone catering brochure, the famous ice cream chain offers pre-made ice cream pans that contain 30 medium servings for $100 each. They also offer custom flavors, toppings, and cakes. You’ll have to call to get an exact estimate for your party depending on what options you’d like to take advantage of.
How much does Ben and Jerry’s catering cost?
Ben and Jerry’s catering menu (as of the time of this blog post) offers ice cream catering for a minimum of 50 people for as little as $3.50 per serving for a cup and cone party. Delivery does cost extra and you’ll need to order from your nearest Ben and Jerry’s scoop shop.
Discover the most creative ice cream catering ideas
Explore ice cream event logistics
Dealing with ice cream can be a challenge because of its ability to melt so quickly. Here are a few ice cream event logistics that will ensure your day goes as planner.
1. Pre scoop ice cream balls.
This classic trick can save you time the day of. Place the scoops on covered trays so you can easily separate them out later. Serve within a week of scooping for maximum freshness.
2. Stock up on extra ice buckets and freezer bags.
Ever wondered how to keep ice cream cold at a party? This is the easiest solution.
3. Look for venues with a large (and conveniently located) freezer.
Consider your catering set up and how far servers or guests will have to take their treats once they’re dished out. The best freezers for ice cream events load from the top and are dedicated to events only, so there are no strange flavors leaking from other stored products and into your ice cream.
Explore ice cream event themes
Ice cream themes add a fun touch to events and meetings. Get a few ideas for fun ice cream themes to use.
4. Here’s the scoop.
Celebrate important company news such as quarterly goal achievements, retirement, or even a new location opening with this punny party theme.
5. Seasonal inspiration.
Get into odd seasonal flavors (like cranberry for the fall or lavender for spring) and follow suit with your event colors and decor.
6. Old-fashioned ice cream parlor.
Use pastel balloons, striped awnings or tablecloths, and a vintage cart for decoration.
Discover ice cream menu ideas
Ice cream menus range from tons of flavors, to flavors in only certain colors, to only traditional Neapolitan. Get some ideas for how to narrow down your menu to create a personalized experience.
7. DIY Sundae Bar.
This option is fun for guests and your budget as you’ll only need one or two buffet attendants instead of a full staff of servers to keep things running smoothly with minimal supervision.
8. Over the Rainbow.
Line up a variety of ice cream flavors in – you guessed it – the colors of the rainbow for a very colorful (and Instagram worthy) event.
9. Company Pride.
Name flavors after your company mascot or CEO. And choose event, ice cream, and utensil colors based on the brand itself.
Check out some ice cream treats that don’t involve scooping
Worried your arm will get exhausted? See a few ideas for some ice cream treats that won’t make you scoop a ton of cones.
10. Milkshakes and floats.
This can also be done as a DIY bar. Just make sure you have a dedicated server assigned to any and all blenders you choose to operate.
11. Cake pops.
This can be premade in ice cream inspired flavors like banana split.
12. Ice cream sandwich bites.
Simple cut mini ice cream sandwiches in half, place them on a serving stick or fork and dip one side in sprinkles for a cute treat.
See ice cream alternatives for dietary restrictions
Worried about attendees with dietary restrictions? Don’t worry, they don’t have to sit out on the ice cream fun entirely.
13. Dairy-free ice creams.
There are a wide variety of brands with bases like soy and coconut milk sold at local grocery stores that you can pick up the day of if needed.
With enough advanced notice, you may be able to make this simple vegan strawberry sorbet.
Ice cream cone shaped cookies will look perfect next to your buffet. Plus, you can add logos made out of edible icing to them to bring your theme together.
Get ice cream party food ideas
Here are a few ice cream party food ideas to compliment your dessert.
16. Salty snacks.
Chips and pretzels offer a satisfying contrast to your sweet treats.
17. Carnival food.
Popcorn, hotdogs, and even apple pie pair nicely with ice cream.
Ice cream is great all year round. But it truly shines during the summer, just like this popular catering event food category.
Discover ice cream catering decor
Want to make a visual impact, as well as a tasty impact? Here’s how to bring your catering to life with stunning ice cream decor.
19. Pom pom ice cream cone banners.
Paper or large felt pom poms look like ice cream cones when you add a folded brown paper cone to the bottom.
Spell out your company name using these adorable decor pieces.
21. Ice cream cone centerpieces.
Place extra large waffle cones in clear glass hurricanes and fill them with flowers that match your event decor and colors. Carnations have a great size and their ball-like blooms look like colorful little ice cream scoops.
Explore ice cream catering games and activities
Keep the event lively! Make a game out of your ice cream catering with these simple ideas.
22. Pin the cherry on the sundae.
You can easily hand make this one using construction paper. Blindfold and spin your contestants before they try their hand at pinning the cherry to the sundae then reward winners with an extra scoop.
23. Paint your own ice cream flower pot.
Adults and kids alike will appreciate this fun craft turned party favor.
24. Guess the flavor.
Serve one classic flavor, one weird flavor, and one wildcard flavor in tiny serving spoons to blindfolded contestants to test their palettes.
Check out ice cream event competitions
Nothing says a great time like a little friendly competition. Here are some ideas for bringing the heat, while keeping the ice cream cold.
25. Homemade ice cream recipe contest.
Hold separate competitions for ice cream recipes, frozen yogurt recipes, and homemade syrup recipes.
26. Ice cream cake decorating.
Grab some plain bases and offer an assortment of colorful icings and tools, then let give them 20 minutes to come up with something awesome.
27. Ice cream sundae eating competition.
Here’s an in-depth guide that covers everything you’ll need to know to host your own ice cream challenge (including safety and promotion).