This isn’t so much of a Giapo review, but rather a brain dump on how they can justify charging premium prices for an ice cream based on my experience.

giapo selfie

Jub like.

In a country that enjoys a hokey pokey ice cream in a cone for a couple of dollars at the local dairy is part of the culture, Giapo ice cream is different. Four reasons are:

  • The flavours are unique.
  • They have plenty of vegan options.
  • The ice cream isn’t scooped out of a tub in front of you.
  • The price point is at two times or more pricier than you’ll pay in other ice cream shops.

With all of that, is Giapo worth it? Can you really justify paying $30+ for one ice cream? (most of you will pay $10-20).

I’m a fan having visited twice in 2018. I think it is for most of you. As someone who travels on a budget, it’s a massive exception so I usually dismiss this kind of experiences but was stoked to see what the buzz is.

The following are ten reasons (I believe) they can justify the prices they charge while still managing to be a popular thing to do in Auckland (who said high prices limits demand…).

eating a giapo roast and smoke ice cream

Digging into my Roast and Smoke (Miller’s Coffee & Single Malt Laphroaig) ice cream in a handmade waffle cone lined with dark chocolate

Note: Giapo responded to this piece via email. You can read this at the bottom of the post.

1. They Use Sustainable Products

people enjoying giapo

People enjoying there ice cream in front of the shop

“Oh don’t worry, you can put the spoon in the compost as it’s made from potato starch.”

It was almost like the concierge knew what I was thinking after I hesitated about putting my plastic looking sample spoon in the compost bin. It’s cool that Giapo is thinking about the environment as they go through hundreds of spoons a day. It’s awesome to see a company doing their part, even if the majority of people won’t notice the difference. I’m guessing these cost a bit more than standard plastic spoons but they don’t take shortcuts.

2. They Have A Nice Website

giapo website

The Giapo home page

Even in 2018 I’ve noticed that many New Zealand companies don’t have a self-hosted website. Rather they rely on haphazard updates on Facebook to keep you ‘up to date’ and leave you in the hands of external websites to find out information about them. The Giapo website is what a good looking modern corporate website should be.

The websites branding is consistent with the physical store. They have an about page, contact page, social media links, a menu, and a place where you can buy Giapo vouchers.

3. They Provide Free Samples

When there’s a high price point you might be like me and feel the pressure to order the right thing. Ice cream envy is the worst! When you get to the front of the queue, they let you choose a few different flavours to sample. I was nervous (four vegan options, OMG) that I wasn’t going to get the best flavour so when I found out I could sample a couple. That was epic.

I was trying to decide between the Coconut Choc Chip and the Roast & Smoke. I was leaning towards the coconut one as the other flavour is a bit risky, but having sampled both, I chose Roast & Smoke. Granted, the mention of a healthy dollop of whiskey did sway me.

4. They Don’t Sell Other Things (a.k.a. drinks)

giapo menu

Everything ice cream. Nothing more, nothing less.

Giapo sells ice cream and only ice cream. The food industry is ruthless with restaurants often struggling to cover costs food, leaving them to rely on drinks and snacks to make a profit. Drinks at a restaurant have a large markup and are one of the reasons I usually don’t order drinks at restaurants. I was glad there wasn’t the token ‘what drink would you like sir’. They have mastered one thing and they do it really well, every day.

5. They Have Menu’s To Look At While You Wait

giapo store front

The menu on a nicely presented board in front of the store

There’s nothing worse than getting asked what you’d like to order when you haven’t even had a chance to look at the menu. I had done my research in advance but there was a menu out in front of the restaurant for you to browse.

If you’re like me, this might generate thoughts of Italian and Middle Eastern restaurants, where the menu out the front of the store is guarded by a staff member who will hassle you if you glance at their menu in a desperate bid to get you to take a seat. Thankfully, there was no Giapo staff in front of the store (I understand this might be a cultural thing).

6. They Provide Free Water

This isn’t a major thing but it’s these small touches that make a place stand out above others.

7. The Staff Are Knowledgeable

giapo smoked

Don’t melt, please.

I’ve mentioned two things above which goes to show, the Giapo staff are well trained in everything Giapo. The fact the person taking my order happened to take the effort to let me know the Roast and Smoke has a healthy dose of whiskey could have been dismissed, and she could have turned a blind eye to my hesitation about putting my spoon in the bin, but made an effort to mention that it was okay.

When I mentioned I was vegan, she assured me they could have the handmade waffle cone made in a vegan. So far in New Zealand, most staff have had to go and check what menu items could be made vegan with the kitchen. Not at Giapo.

8. You Aren’t Rushed To Order

inside giapo

Nearly my turn to order!

When I finally made it to the front of the queue (it took about 20 minutes), the focus was on me. The rest of the queue is situated behind the sign you see a couple of metres away. This again, is a small thing, but it makes the experience all that much better. You get personalised attention, and won’t people pressed to make an order ASAP and pushed on. You can ask questions, try a few flavours out and then make your decision. This definitely caught me off guard as someone who is conscious of not wasting time at the cashier (personal pet peeve), it was nice to be told to try a couple flavours first.

9. They Have A Unique Product

I mentioned NZ is more of hokey pokey + cone culture, but Giapo has gone in the opposite direction to stand out. They went way off by making unique flavours with unique options to hold your ice cream. Maori bread anyone? They also bring out unique options like finger cones and selfie frames from time to time.

And they do their best to support the NZ economy by using fresh seasonal produce and local milk. And everything is made FROM SCRATCH each day. And, and, and,…you get the idea.

10. They Share Content On Social Media

giapo instagram

From Giapo’s Instastories

In a world where social media is everything (for a lot of us), Giapo have an active presence on Facebook and Instagram, posting unique content on each (plus a blog). I imagine many people post about there ice cream on Instagram purely because Giapo reposts photos they’re tagged in.

While posting on social media doesn’t justify an increase in price, it shows that they care. We like people and companies that care.

From Giapo:
“…we have a commitment to ice cream and how we focus on offering something that is beyond the transaction. This is why so many people trust us and choose to come here every day.”

“Our ice cream does cost more but as you would have experienced it is for many reasons. If you have had a great service that is present because we are going out of our way and pay staff to do so. We are customer centered and customer service is scarce and rare these days because it is expensive. Our experiences are designed to be each unique, intelligent smart and different because the people that work here are special. Also, our ingredients,as you mentioned, are local and organic and some are very rare and hard to come by. Local and organic isn’t cheap.”

“Also, please consider that we also work particularly hard to create something extremely creative and innovative something you haven’t seen or experienced anywhere else. While we don’t charge for the hundreds of hours of work behind each design or creations our price include a small something that help us justify all the efforts that we do to innovate.”

I still haven’t even mention basic economics. They can charge a premium for ice cream because there is demand for there product! I rocked up at about 2 p.m. on a cloudy weekday (at the end of winter), and there were about 10 people in the queue in front of me. If their ice cream wasn’t worth it, there’d be crickets.

I have never paid $15 dollars for an ice cream before Giapo, and as someone who spends less than that on food at least six days a week, I won’t be going back too often. But I will be recommending Giapo (already have) to friends who want a legit awesome tasting ice cream and a wicked cool experience while spending a few days in Auckland.

Got the ice cream calorie guilts? Go walk the Coast to Coast which starts close to the store.