Ice cream for ₹2: This Chennai outlet is a hit this summer - The Hindu

2022-05-27 21:21:25 By : Ms. Cindy Guo

A litre of petrol costs about ₹103. A 750ml bottle of cola costs ₹38. A glass of sugarcane juice costs ₹15.

And, an ice cream cone costs ₹2.

At Vinu’s Igloo, near Five Lights in West Mambalam, you can get dessert for what many would consider loose change. With Tamil music playing in the background and a crowd gathered around the billing area, this is an increasingly popular destination for the city’s ice cream lovers this summer.

Vinu’s Igloo ice cream in West Mambalam | Photo Credit: Johan Sathyadas

The outlet was set up by V Vinoth’s father, Vijayan, in 1995. “I was in Class IX then, and we used to frequent ice cream shops like Milky Way. My father sensed a business opportunity there and set up his own outlet, charging just ₹1 for a cone initially,” he says. A few weeks later, it was hiked to ₹2, and remained so till 2008, when the outlet had to be shut owing to labour issues.

Cut to February 2022, and Vinoth re-opened the outlet, pricing a cone at ₹2. “Everyone in the neighbourhood describes the shop as the ‘ rendu rooba ice cream kada ’ (The ₹2 ice cream shop). As days went by, people specifically asked for that cone. Though I wanted it to be just an introductory offer, I didn’t have the heart to hike the price,” smiles Vinoth.

So, how does he sustain the business at such a low price range? “I won’t say I make profits by selling ice cream at ₹2, but you will always see crowds outside the shop due to this pricing. At most times, customers do not stop at the ₹2 ice cream but have other ice creams or juices, which is how I benefit.”

Vinoth stresses that he has not compromised on the quality of his products. “Ice cream can be made using milk or water; we use only milk. I have had to face a lot of questions, especially concerning quality. To that, I say only one thing: the ₹2 ice cream comes out from the same container that the ₹20 ice cream comes from!”

With flavours including vanilla, strawberry, mango and pista, the ₹2 cone might be the most sought-after but the outlet offers the same cone topped with a larger serving of ice cream for ₹8. They also offer rasagulla and paalkova with ice cream. “We do not claim to offer new varieties. We serve whatever is available at most places, but with a twist, and at affordable prices,” states Vinoth.

When the crowd outside Vinu’s Igloo began to cause traffic jams, he set up a system to make sales faster. Customers now stand in queue to get a token (you get a bill even if you buy just the ₹2 cone!).

Very much like a bank, this token number is announced via a machine, after which you can collect the ice cream. “I get calls from faraway places enquiring about our products. Some people are curious that we actually give them a bill for each purchase,” laughs Vinoth

Children are loyal customers here. “Whenever there’s a cricket match in the neighbourhood, the winning captain treats his playing 11 to ice cream here — for just ₹22.”

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Printable version | May 25, 2022 10:05:54 pm |