I have just come back from a week’s holiday in one of my favourite places, Viareggio on the Tuscany coat in Italy and I discovered Grom ice cream.
And what a discovery it represents because I had some of the best ice cream ever.
Rich, creamy and full of flavour.I’d love to say that there were no calories in it as well but I have to admit that after over-indulging, I am struggling to keep my belt buckled at the same hole.
I love Italy and one of the best things about it is the ice cream. So much of it is yummy.
But Grom is special and definitely worthy of a mention on my differentiation blog.
I am nervous of differentiation by being better – what my friend Ian Brodie calls vertical differentiation – because it is easy to claim, difficult to prove. In a world where we have become increasingly sceptical buyers, claims of “the best ice cream you’ve ever tasted” aren’t seen as irresistible promises which make you want to try but hype.
Grom Ice Cream
Grom are a chain of ice cream shops that started in Italy in 2003 in Torino and they now have over thirty stores in Italy and have opened more in Malibu, New York, Osaka, Tokyo and Paris. None in the UK yet but hopefully that will happen.
Grom are dedicated to using the finest ingredients in their ice creams and even have their own farm to provide fruit.
You can learn more at the Grom website.
What Makes Grom Ice Cream So Special?
There are a lot of ice cream shops in Viareggio and as it’s a resort we go to regularly, we’ve probably tried them all.
Several things attracted us to Grom.
First, it was straight opposite our hotel, the Grand Hotel Royal and it has replaced the wedding shop that must have been there twenty years. Grom wasn’t there two years ago when we were last in Viareggio and human nature is to want to try something new.
Second, there always seemed to be a long line of Italians queuing up for their ice cream fix. We ignored it on our first day and went somewhere else we liked but by day two, the Sunday we couldn’t resist. It took us about 20 minutes to get served through no fault of the four young women serving who were working hard. It was just that busy.
I wanted Bacio – one of my regulars – and I thought I’d try Crema di Grom (with biscuit and chocolate chips) but they’d sold out of the Crema. They had the next day too which increased my determination to try it before we came home.
The Basis Of Grom Ice Cream Differentiation
It’s differentiation by what. The ice cream is superb. In some ways this is vertical integration based on being better rather than horizontal differentiation.
Looking at the website, it seems the flavours change with the month which is a great idea. I want to go to Viareggio to see the famous Carnival in February and now I want to go because Grom do Zabaione ice in the winter.
It was also differentiation by how many. The social proof of seeing so many Italians queuing up for so long was very powerful. This popularity does have a downside. We had a 15 minute wait to be served on the second visit before we adjusted our thinking to having our ice cream when it was quiet.
Grom are also strong on environmental issues, an impression I gained from the store and the website although I can’t say that influenced my choice. My strategy canvas was dominated by the quality of the ice cream but they did lose our business several times. The first because we wanted to treat ourselves to an ice cream sundae and the second because the flavours on offer didn’t include a regular favourite.
Is Grom Ice Cream The Best?
I’ve always loved Vivoli in Florence, ever since we first discovered in over twenty years ago. I’d never seen a place with so many great flavours and so busy but its clientèle does seem to be mainly tourists. Do go there if you are in Florence, you won’t be sorry.
I also love La Sorbetteria Castiglione in Bologna which is well worth the walk away from the main tourist centre.
In some ways I prefer the image of an independent ice cream parlour than a chain. Somehow it’s more authentic to believe that the ice cream is being made in the back room but I will be looking for the Grom ice cream parlour in every town we go to in Italy.
Grom ice cream is that good.