Shipping container ice-cream concept proves popular at community college

Cones-n-Cups has generated sales 25% higher than expected since debuting at Hinds Community College last fall.
Cups-n-Cones serves hot and iced coffee beverages, smoothies, milkshakes and more. / Photo courtesy of Aladdin Campus Dining

A new ice cream and coffee concept at Hinds Community College in Raymond, Miss., has become a popular spot on campus, exceeding financial expectations.

Cones-n-Cups was launched last fall to celebrate the 52-year partnership between Hinds and its foodservice provider, Aladdin Campus Dining. Faced with space constraints as well as pricey plumbing and electric costs, the food management company decided to forgo putting the concept inside the dining hall and instead housed it outside in a 20-foot shipping container.

Open from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays, Cups-n-Cones serves hot and iced coffee drinks, smoothies, milkshakes, malts, ice cream and an assortment of pastries.

The concept has been a financial success, generating sales 25% higher than expected since its debut, Aladdin said. 

Aladdin worked with a millwork manufacturer to create the shipping container, which is equipped with an ice cream dipping cabinet that holds eight flavors and display cases, as well as inventory and counter space for milkshake and smoothie blenders. The team also invested in a coffee machine that makes both brewed coffee and espresso beverages, eliminating the need for a full-time barista. 

While the concept is geared toward students on the go, guests can also enjoy their treats at nearby picnic tables or benches. 

“Cones-n-Cups has been such a pleasant surprise," Dr. Stephen Vacik, president of Hinds Community College, said in a statement. "It has taken off much more quickly than I think we envisioned and has become a go-to for students and employees at the Raymond Campus."

Shipping container concepts have been popping up on college campuses over the past several years. Colorado State chose to house one of its micro-restaurants inside a shipping container, while Auburn University and Georgia State University have utilized the containers for hydroponic farms. 



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