At Key West’s Wicked Lick ice cream shop, the music plays a little louder than most stores, the liquid nitrogen escaping from the mixers chills the air, and the smell of freshly baked waffle cones makes sign from the sidewalk.
“I like to call it ‘experimenting ice cream enlightenment,'” said Wicked Lick co-founder John Smotryski. new times. “And hopefully soon it will be an experience that Miami can enjoy as well.”
Wicked Lick is looking to enter the South Florida market by offering franchise opportunities. The brand is specifically targeting Miami, looking for operators interested in bringing the concept to the region.
Founded in 2018 by Smotryski and Amanda Velazquez, Wicked Lick has made a name for itself by producing small batch ice cream with unique flavors using liquid nitrogen.
“We started like every other liquid nitrogen ice cream shop, making every serving to order. We used refrigerated dispensers and created each flavor on its own rather than having a base cream and pouring it into it. flavored syrup,” Smotryski said. “We’ve spent weeks finding unique flavors like coconut curry, chipotle chocolate and ‘tarragon vanilla’ using only real dairy or coconut cream, cane sugar and everything. natural ingredient to flavor the cream,” he adds.
Today, Wicked Lick is best known for flavors like its “Keto-Mexican Vanilla” which uses monk fruit as a sweetener; a “PBJ” using homemade mixed berry sauce and peanut butter ice cream, and the “Honey Mango” when fresh mangoes are in season. The store also makes its own daily fresh waffle cones, many of which are cut into eight-inch “chips” to create ice cream nachos.
According to Smotryski, the brand is among the first nitrogen ice cream parlors to create its creamy treat in small batches, a process that uses almost half the amount of liquid nitrogen and requires less time to serve its customers, translating by a successful business model that fueled brand growth.
Even better, the idea was born out of the pandemic.
During the COVID-19 lockdown, the couple decided to use the downtime to strengthen and refocus their brand and operations.
“When we reopened, it was just me, Amanda and her son. I often worked alone day and night and it was a lot physically and emotionally. It was difficult to dismantle all our equipment every night and s ‘install every morning, especially when business was slow.’
According to Smotryski, Wicked Lick had no choice but to adapt. Rather than hire more manpower, he decided to change the procedure to make serving customers more efficient, thereby saving time and money.
I immediately thought, “If you don’t lick it… Someone else will.” It was a little cheeky with the double meaning.”
“It took a crisis to realize that it would be much more efficient to make half-gallon batches with the liquid nitrogen, store the bowls in an ice cream freezer and serve it like a cream shop. regular ice cream,” Smotryski said. “We halved our use of liquid nitrogen and I didn’t need two or three employees to run the shop. We now have one to two employees to serve our customers faster than ever.
This move not only fueled Wicked Lick’s growth, but also reduced operating costs, increasing the company’s profit margins while using less liquid nitrogen.
And don’t forget the shop’s witty slogan.
“There was a restaurant in South Miami that had a bright neon sign that said, ‘If you don’t take your wife to George…Someone else will.’ I immediately thought “If you don’t lick it… Someone else will. That was a little cheeky with the double meaning.”
Today, says Smotryski, Wicked Lick’s t-shirts are top sellers — yet another source of revenue for the fledgling brand.
South Florida entrepreneurs interested in expanding the brand in their area can do so now. Wicked Lick is actively seeking franchise partners at one or more units in the region with the goal of awarding up to ten licenses by the end of the year. The ideal candidate should have previous business management experience and start-up capital of $211,500 to $341,200. Those interested can visit WickedLick.com/franchise for more information.
“We decided to start in South Florida because I know the area well,” summarizes Smotryski. “I was born in Miami, raised in Sarasota and lived in Boca Raton and West Palm Beach. More importantly, I want to be close to our first franchisees to better support them. It’s all about success.”