OpinioN8

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Took the kids to Rileys and was shocked to see that they had put the price for a small cone up to a whopping £2.50 - a completely cynical move as they had only been open for a month or so.

 

I was a big fan, but not any more - I am very intolerant when it comes to pulling the wool over customer's eyes. If they were going to charge £2.50, they should have started off that way.

 

Rant over

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They are thoroughly pleasant chaps in there and it does seem to still be doing a brisk trade. I wish them well, I was just very disappointed that the prices shot up so much so soon and the flavours went a bit funny.

Shake my Shake now do shakes for £2 after school which has resulted in queues out of the door - short sighted ice cream makers everywhere should take note...

Didn't Spiazzo's gain their planning permission by a council oversight?

The problem is, there's so much disposable income in this part of n8, that people will still pay it. As we say in Yorkshire - more money than sense. However, if anyone can really afford it, please kep on buying as it's doing a great job at boosting the local economy.

You've been down South too long, Jo.  As a fellow Yorkshirewoman, I have to remind you that it's "more brass than sense".

As for the prices, it's a bit difficult to work out whether or not it actually is a ripoff. 

When we're buying an ice cream, we're not paying for the ingredients in the cones -- what we are paying is our contribution to the horrendous rents being charged for shop premises in most of North London; that and the truly eye-watering council tax and charges such as rubbish collection which so far as I know is not included in business council tax but is extra and runs into thousands.  Then there's health-and-safety inspections, wages, and upkeep of the fabric of the building.  We all know how much it costs to do a bit of building repair. 

Frankly, I don't know how anyone keeps a business going at all in this part of the world.

Shaun and I only recently became aware of this debate - as men in our fifties we are slowly becoming more engaged with social networking and blogging - but it's not part of our daily diet. So apologies if our silence translated as arrogance.  I'd like to take the opportunity to reply to some of the very upsetting comments made about the pricing and ingredients of our smallest Ice.

We are a start up, family run company with all the moneys for the refit, equipment and working capital coming from our own pockets. The core of our business is Artisan Ice Cream and Sorbet made in our basement and we have added on coffees and food. Although Shaun has worked for more than 30 years in the catering business it is our first venture together and like all start ups we have made mistakes. Our opening pricing was an error and not  some Machiavellian plan to bring our public in, get them hooked and then rip them off. This is not a get rich quick project but a coming together of two friends who have always wanted to work together and to remain true to our Italian roots ( my wife is Italian her much loved and missed Stracciatella). We provide a very generous pot of delicious Ice Cream, 1 or 2 flavours for £2.50.  It is made on the premises by either Shaun or I and has only natural ingredients, milk, cream, sugar and natural flavours, our Sorbets have fresh fruit, courtesy of Broadway Fruiterers. 

Well, we have now dived into the Blog arena and hope, rather than create virtual discussion we would welcome anyone to come in and meet us to have a chat and share a wonderful Ice Cream or Coffee with us.  We would especially encourage ( graham B, Jon Rogers, Liz Brown and crouchhall)  who have felt particularly aggrieved.  Face to face is much friendlier than on line. 

You are on the end of a long chain of landlords builders and banks who for 30 years could charge unjustifiable amounts for the little they provide and assume that the debt culture would cover it

with the consumer the last in line of the rip off

I'm a man in my fifties too and remember when ice-cream was something you paid PENNIES for - not pounds

I aplogise for saying I hope you go under or whatever I said - what I was really ranting against is a defunct form of capitalism

To be fair, graham B -- the ice cream that we used to pay PENNIES for in the 70s was total rubbish.  

There were a few small local confectioners in places like Devon who used cream in their recipes but everywhere else there was little choice.  The generally available "ice cream" was made cheaply and marketed in bulk by companies like Walls who -- as far as I know -- originally started making frozen blocks of sugared fat as a means of getting rid of all the lard left over from their sausages.  OK.  I know they use vegetable fat now but I'm not so sure about what it was 20-30 years ago.

Only recently have people in the UK stopped thinking about ice cream as a sweet pacifier for a stroppy kid, and have started thinking of it as a food that should be made up of good ingredients.  

Inconveniently, good ingredients cost good money.

I know what you're saying L Rivlin but my point was more concerned with the financial systems that create these prices rather than whether Wall's used vegetable fat

the current version of capitalism has collapsed because it didnt work  - who knows- maybe its replacement will bring about more sensible ways of charging for everything - including ice-cream

until then I wont be buying it from Riley's or anywhere else so I'll bow out of the discussion here! xx

Welcome Riley Crouch End and thank you for your post.

Don't be discouraged by people's comments (including my own initial indignant one)  - I've seen the queues and bustle in Riley's and have enjoyed your ices so it's not going to put people off.

And of course we understand your pricing structure was not Machiavellian - things cost, rents are high and you price accordingly.  But people do like to grumble and I'd say it was better for you to know what they're grumbling about so you can reply, as you have done!

I'm sure plenty will comment to you face to face and now you're here, people will be much friendlier now they know you're listening/reading! 

It seems a little odd to be defending something I wrote 6 months ago, but I stand by my comments. It was merely communicating my dismay at being priced out of an establishment I had enjoyed going to with my kids - as I mentioned we have 4 which made the price rise even worse.

I would say that changing your prices so soon after moving in is a pretty shocking PR move - 6 months and no eyebrows would have been raised. I would also suggest that rather take umbridge in an online discussion, use it as invaluable feedback (or ignore the comments if you do not feel they are accurate or helpful) - people are far more likely to be honest on here than if they did come in and speak face to face.

I wish you all the best with your business - but I will not be coming in any time soon as I simply can no longer afford to...

I don't understand why your initial pricing is considered to be an 'error'  by you. This suggests a mistake on your part. Mistakes are usually corrected immediately they become apparent. The concerned comments on here are about why you increased your prices by 12.5% after, and within weeks of, your opening. Why did it take so long to discover the 'error'? It came across as profiteering - as if the mistake or 'error'  was realising that you might be on to a good thing and that you should have charged more to start with - rather than some mathematical error about income v. costs. Until you can explain what the error was to justify the change, your critics, including me, will continue to have a point. And I for one am not going to come in and 'have a chat'. That defeats the object of having a public blog to sound off on!!

Having said all that, I do like your ice cream! And I think you are a valuable addition to the Crouch End scene. And, for the avoidance of doubt, I no longer think you are expensive. That isn't my point.

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