When you call yourself the Ice Cream Factory, you knowingly or otherwise set the bar high for service delivery. After all, this is supposed to be where ice cream is made. This is the home of all ice cream.
And so, off to the Ice Cream Factory we proceed after Church on a bright Sunday afternoon.
There’s good parking within and outside the premises, and security staff are pleasant enough. Remains to be seen if we would be assaulted with the now standard yet still annoying ‘happy weekend’ greeting done in anticipation of ‘what we chop remain for them’.
The outside sitting arrangement, complete with fancy parasols should work beautifully in the evenings. But, there is strong competition.
Further down the strip is the current flavour of the year, Coldstone, sitting proudly next to Domino’s Pizza hence ensuring that there’s no money left in your pocket or on your debit card to spend on their competitors.
At the bottom of the road (or should that read ‘ladder’?) struggling to regain market share is the beleaguered Chocolat Royal. Unfortunately, this ice cream past master is still grappling with the negative impact of their expired milk saga.
It is difficult to see how these businesses will cope with the free fall of the Naira exchange rate against the USD seeing as their main inputs are imported ice cream pre-mixes. But the strong will invariably survive.
The Ice Cream Factory is very nicely appointed on the inside with dark classy earth tones adorning the walls with retro style images and wall paintings. The restaurant style layout means you can sit quietly in the Ice Cream Factory after receiving your order and relish your treat without interruption.
Such is the design that diners see little of the takeaway customers and thus avoid the distraction. It also means those looking for a discrete snack venue need look no further. Add to this the free Wi-Fi code named ‘Sunspot’ and you’re sorted. It all works very nicely.
The staff are clearly well trained and lure you with free samplings of the many ice cream flavours on offer. But free is never a good thing. Somebody pays in the end, and in this case, it’s you the customer. The scoops are not cheap. All that fancy décor and designer style layout comes at a premium.
Thankfully, the ice cream is excellent. You are generously served, with enough options to keep you coming back. Unless of course you lose your job in the widespread downsizing exercises going on in corporate Nigeria. In which case, ice cream should be the last thing on your mind.
But this begs the question, is this a viable business now? As a start-up, most certainly not. But for the established players like the highly flavoured Ice Cream Factory, as long as they keep up the all-round quality then the future looks sweet.
As you leave the Ice Cream Factory significantly lighter of pocket, there’s a sign overhead which says ‘stressed spelled backwards is desserts’. Maybe nice classy joints like this will help us all cope with the increasing stress levels of life in Lagos. Just remember to keep your jobs while you’re at it.
As for the security guards, I’m now not sure how I feel about not being wished a happy weekend sir. Nigeria’s begging culture is starting to mess with our psyche.
Rating: A full flavoured 8.5/10