On a sunny afternoon, a preferred go-to cuisine would definitely not be spicy food but rather a soothingly delicious cold dessert. But many would resist and curb the cravings just because of their unwillingness to step out in the hot weather. So, the obvious wish would be to get it delivered while being indoors.
Now, imagine a vibrantly colored truck full of ice creams made of a variety of flavors at your doorstep.
Wouldn’t one run with those loose change they have, apply all the mental maths learned so far, grab those clothes hastily, and run to get their favorite ice cream?
This is exactly the thought with which Piccadilly Whippy was born, and continues to be driven by this mission. The ice cream brand, based originally in the uncertain Mediterranean climate of the U.K. shifted to the arid desert climate of Dubai, is found to be delivering happiness, nostalgia, and satisfaction with its on-the-wheels ice cream in the region.
The idea was brought into the world by its founder Mr. Majid, who, post his unfortunate demise, handed over its operation to his wife Jasveen Pendaer, who is also the Owner and Managing Director of Piccadilly Whippy. Without a full stop, as a female, she is powering ahead to create happy dessert memories for all with their vibrantly colored van.
Through the interview highlights below, let us re-experience our childhood ice cream fun with Piccadilly Whippy while learning more about its elements in the industry!
Please brief our audience about Piccadilly Whippy and tell us the story behind its establishment.
My late husband was an ice cream man in the U.K. since his teens, following the footsteps of his father. He continued, as an adult, expanding one van into a fleet representing a famous Cornish brand called Kelly’s of Cornwall.
Due to the weather in the U.K., the operation of the business is seasonal, which would frustrate and depress my husband. When Majid had a major heart attack in 2016 requiring a triple bypass, he bought a business in sunny Dubai, where the sunshine was guaranteed all year round. He presented me with a challenge expressing that he was too tired and unwell to run the company and said, “Here do something with this business – make it happen”.
Myself professionally, an Early Years Practitioner, was forced to put my thinking cap on.
Kindly enlighten us about the vision and mission of Piccadilly Whippy.
I based the vision on nostalgia as I took myself back to being a child remembering the joy one would feel upon hearing the melody of an ice cream van gracing your street. The feeling of your chest bursting with pride as you scramble for some loose change and go running after the van to purchasing an ice cream independently. Utilizing your first set of skills using mental mathematics, confidence in asking for what you want and satisfaction in accomplishing your victory of buying an ice cream all by yourself. Now lose yourself in the moment of enjoying that ice cream.
This is the thought that I wanted a stressed adult in their office to run to when they saw or heard my van.
Please discuss your ice cream brand’s franchise. Also, tell us about how you are planning to expand it.
I believed it was important to have your own brand and distinct livery rather than branding the vans using another company. Ice cream vans are built by the leading manufacturer Whitby Morrison well known to anyone who has lived in the U.K.
It was important to keep the link of London’s Piccadilly Circus in people’s minds so the bright colors of Piccadilly Whippy should stand out where we would be recognized and associated with British authentic ice cream.
Due to this consistency, we have become in demand across the seven Emirates requiring more vans to be built and shipped over.
Tell us more about your product offerings. And what makes them stand out from the other ice-cream brands in the market?
We have stuck to the typical menu served in the U.K. and have outsourced where certain ingredients are banned in the UAE, carefully staying as close as we can in offering “that nostalgia”.
We try not to follow crazes which is a gamble as we do not want to be labeled as boring, but it’s important to stick to your signature product. I also served the ice cream myself talking to my customers which made the homesick ones feel really happy being served British Ice Cream from a British Accent.
I feel this really helped us to establish ourselves. The ice cream machine itself is specifically made for soft ice cream. You could use the same recipe in a standard machine and ours, but the taste and fluffy texture would always surpass.
The machinery is designed to put in a certain amount of air, giving the whippy name and consistency. This is another factor of how we stand out.
Please brief us about your journey in the industry and how you have made the company excel in its competitive market.
I ventured into product branding, which gives the company an exciting lease of life, especially when you see promotional branding being applied to your van. Companies as large as Carrefour, Spotify, and Talabat hired us to advertise their campaigns to a widespread audience in our own authentic way.
I have also dabbled with family commercials and videos relating to a plethora of topics. I am proud to be sponsoring two netball teams, Dragonflies and Magpies to support female entrepreneurs.
How are modern technology solutions enabling you to improve your operations and offerings?
In the U.K., we were booked through word of mouth and recommendation but as we moved to Dubai, we recognized that a majority of business is through social media, causing us to become active on Instagram and Facebook, posing difficulties for someone who is technologically challenged.
I have enjoyed working with a great team (Wilbur and Ahmed) who produce short films and commercials to really showcase Piccadilly Whippy.
In your view, what are the existing challenges in your industry, and how are you strategizing your company’s operations to tackle them in the near future?
Due to an ever-growing increase of demand, we are facing “copycat” companies who watch us closely and try to fill in the gaps in customer demand. This works for them temporarily, but their success is short lived as eventually the customers complain about taste, and authenticity and miss our customer service. I am in the process of adding to my fleet to cover a wider radius and have some exciting projects in the pipeline that will be revealed pretty soon.
Being a female is my greatest challenge. Then being a widowed female has become my greater challenge in a dog-eat-dog world.
Mechanics will overcharge for materials and labor, thinking I do not know about the parts of my vehicles and machinery. I do. I have set up another company in the U.K. called Mr & Mrs Whippy where I drive the vans myself and take them to mechanics and learn about what is being fixed.
When my husband was alive, I would watch him repair things, and I would ask questions to educate myself should I need the knowledge later. I did.
What would your advice be to those budding entrepreneurs and enthusiasts aspiring to venture into the ice cream business?
Do not be afraid of competition. And do not feel disheartened when a company copies you. Take it as a compliment – you are doing something right! And if you are female – Take Risks!
How do you envision scaling your company’s operations and outreach in the coming future?
We sponsor a number of sports clubs and have our very own Cricket Team named Piccadilly Whippy Thunders, who are doing very well in their games. I envisage them to go far carrying our brand with them.
I have completed the work on a Kulfi Cart for my diverse audience to cater for auspicious celebrations. Clients have requested my kiosk, which has been shipped over for static long-term events.
I have even revamped a cute little gelato scoop trolley to push on to smaller-scale events that lack space for the vans.
I have covered all areas and will push forward with my goals of making this company the Number 1 sought-after Ice Cream Brand in the UAE.