Gelato is an Italian word actually an adjective that describes something cold, actually frozen. It has grown into a word of it's own and in the process, it created a whole world unto itself. Gelato in English would translate into "Ice Cream", but it is more than that though, since if you stop and ask people on 5th Ave. in New York what of the two they would prefer, 99/100 would say Gelato. The two are basically the same in the aspect that both are made from a liquid that is agitated while it is turned into a frozen stage and in this process, air is added to the mass, so you get a whole new taste that sends your taste buds into ecstasy or using a common description, "Into Heaven". There have been two major attempts in the United States to revolutionize the ice cream industry and turn it into a gelato world. One in the mid-late 80s fizzled out for a variety of reasons, depending on who you ask. The second that started with the turn of the century and went on for a good part of 10 years is now ebbing and I would say is as dead as a fish out of the water.
The reason for the latest debacle is I think, that the large cities in this country can only support a handful of true gelaterias and by "true" I mean a very successful operation that draws people from miles away and becomes a landmark the same way as gelaterias are in Italy where contrary to the tourist perception (visitors think that in Italy there is a gelateria on every corner...wrong!) each city has its own well-established many decades old monuments to gelato that draw people from restaurants miles and miles away to stop completing the meal in the restaurant and drive quite a distance to complete the night out into a famous gelateria.
One of the many reasons why Gelato in my opinion has failed in this country from growing is the fact that a few "deceptive entrepreneurs" have tried to franchise a gelateria to anybody who had enough funds (plus or minus a quarter of a million dollars) anywhere they choose location wise, regardless of demographics and since most of these locations failed to have enough rings in their cash register, 90% failed miserably.
I believe strongly though that there is still room for gelato to prosper, but only in the setting of a coffee house that decides to start making and serving gelato "the fun gelato way" and shoot for sales of between $100-$500 daily and in the process, improve traffic and most importantly, sales by twenty to thirty percent in the store. This is a case of a no-brainer since we are dealing with a place that already has the bills paid and the increase in sales would cost no labor, no rent, not much in terms of utilities, so it would almost flow entirely to the bottom line after allowing for the cost of making the product. The investment! A pittance comparing to the cost to opening a gelateria. I suggest people spend no more than $10,000 for making and displaying the product, an investment that can certainly be returned entirely in the five summer months May to September.
I have at this point to share with the reader the fact that I have pointed out this very fact (http://www.sre1.com/about/news.php) in the summer of 2008 when a New York Times writer in the process of writing an article in the paper about the tremendous profitability that gelato held. He chose to almost ridicule my assessment in the ensuing article that he wrote, even though I spent almost a half an hour trying to convince him that it would be unfair to lure people to invest a lot of money in a gelateria.
And now, let's discuss what would be the ideal set-up for my winning formula to add gelato in a cafe, coffee shop, coffee house, coffee kiosk, etc. etc.