The familiar jingle of the ice cream man is one we associate with warm summer days, childhood, and a perfectly swirled ice cream cone. But did you know that the Mister Softee song, played thousands of times per day, has lyrics? We’ve rounded up 10 things that you most likely didn’t know about everybody’s favorite ice cream man, Mister Softee.
Mister Softee, which is most popular in the Northeast but operates about 600 trucks across 16 states, was founded in 1956 by two Philadelphia brothers, William and James Conway. As the very first ice cream truck operators, they outgrew their original building within two years and in 1958 moved to Runnemeade, New Jersey, where they’re still headquartered.
Along with soft-serve ice cream cones, shakes, and sundaes, Mister Softee ice cream trucks also sell a wide variety of ice cream bars and pops. There’s something that brings out the inner child in each of us when we hear that familiar jingle or get handed our cone through the open window; there’s something inherently awesome about being served delicious food out of a truck, and the ice cream man was certainly a forerunner to all modern-day food trucks.
Like most chains, Mister Softee is a franchise operation; most franchisees own multiple trucks and hire college students and other seasonal employees to be drivers, and each truck has its own set turf, which they call a “marketing area.” Information about both becoming a franchise owner and being hired to be a driver is available on their website.
So read on to learn about Mister Softee lore like the lyrics to that magical (and occasionally annoying) jingle, what the surprising only other country where they exist is, and what it takes to make it as a driver.
The First Thing Handed Out Was Green Ice Cream
The first day of operations was St. Patrick’s Day 1956, so founders Bill and Jim Conway took to the streets of West Philadelphia and handed out green ice cream.
The Trucks are Top-of-the-Line
While the ice cream trucks may look a little shabby, they’re actually just designed that way — they’re made from rust-free aluminum, powered by the new General Motors Vortec engine, use a high-powered Electro Freeze soft serve machine, and just about every piece of equipment inside the trucks is custom-made just for Mister Softee.