Is a Franchise Better than Opening Your Own Frozen Yogurt Shop?
If you are thinking about opening your own frozen yogurt store but you are not sure if you should go it alone or open a franchise then I just found a great resource that could help you. I stumbled upon a Frozen yogurt Franchise review by fro-yo girl that was posted on this site franchise chatter.
Thanks to the post request from one of our followers we are comparing some of the big names in frozen yogurt machinery in this simple breakdown.
Left to right: Taylor C713, Electro Freeze SL500, Forte ss100
Large Capacity Machine
Hourly output capacity: 60 liters
Product Quality: The name in frozen yogurt machine. You can achieve great quality product with the Taylor but you will need to spend some time setting the machine up properly.
Aesthetics: Very sleek brushed steel paneling. Very modern but has some tough to clean crevices. Easy as can be for customer use.
Function/Features: Top of the line features however as with the Electro Freeze you’ll need to use a company rep for service or maintenance which can make it costly and time consuming to get serviced.
Electro Freeze SL500
Large capacity machine
Hourly output capacity: 40 liters
Product Quality: This machine also delivers good quality frozen yogurt and with the adjustable air tubes makes sure to keep the product creamy.
Aesthetics: Good clean look that’s easy to operate from a customer standpoint
Function/Features: Features are pretty great and becoming more innovative with their new additions of the VQM touch pad. However, be aware for service and maintenance it is a machine where you’ll probably need to get a specialized Electro Freeze rep. This can take a bit more time to get your machine fixed. Better to choose a machine that all contractors can fix.
Medium capacity machine with 2 hoppers that hold 12 liters each. The hourly output capacity is approximately 12 gallons
Product Quality: The machine has reported really solid results when it comes to actual quality of frozen yogurt that it produces. The consistency and taste is top notch and stands alongside more expensive brands.
Aesthetics: The front-face is somewhat old fashioned, but looks well built and sturdy. Easy to clean.
Function/Features: The LED display shows the voltage, level of freezing of the product, and machine operation. Very Simple. Easy to use for both the customer and the operator.
If you have any suggestions or input please share in a comment! We love collaborating with our subscribers.
You have a couple different options as a frozen yogurt owner on where to source your frozen yogurt. You can choose between a powdered mix or a liquid mix to prepare in your frozen yogurt machines. Check out our “The Secret to Effective Frozen Yogurt Pricing” blog for the pros and cons of powder or liquid. Or if you’re a full service frozen yogurt shop (opposed to self-service) you can opt for hard packed tubs of frozen yogurt. Lucky for you, in California there is a lot of variety of frozen yogurt supplied by distributors so you can find the perfect one for your froyo shop.
Top Frozen Yogurt Distributors in California
Dreyer’s Food Service
Dreyer’s features a custom flavor system that lets you alter their powdered frozen yogurt base to make over a dozen different variations
Reliant foodservice is a roduct resaler. they give you the option to choose between hard packed tubs, soft serve liquid and soft serve powder mixes
Cielo does their mix a little bit differently. They do have a great tasting powdered mix made from real non-fat yogurt and then fortified with enough live cultures to be comparable to the health benefits of actual yogurt.
America’s Classic Foods
ACF offers a premixed option blending their powdered mix with water before processing.
Here are some larger dairy distributors that also provide frozen yogurt wholesale:
Stremick’s Heritage Foods
Challenge Dairy Products, Inc
When opening your frozen yogurt shop finding the perfect equilibrium of how many machines and flavors your shop should supply is an important factor in keeping your costs at the most optimal.
What to take into account when determining the number of machines your frozen yogurt shop needs
1. Size of location: Self serve frozen yogurt machines are large and need an ample amount of space between them, around 12 to 18 inches. After measuring for topping counters, point of sale space, back room, dining area, coolers, sinks, etc. you’ll know how much room you have for the self serve machines.
2. Start-up money: Spending all of your start up money on that “magic number” of machines, isn’t going to be the element that makes your shop an instant success. Rather the opposite, it could drive you to a loss due to the over supply in relation to how much start-up costs you have. Stick with what you can afford now, 3-6 machines and expand in the future.
3. Competition: What does your competition look like? How many machines do they have? Just because they have eight machines doesn’t necessarily mean you need to match/ beat them in machinery right away.
Making the Decision
Our friend, Neil Williams at Turn Key Parlor, an industry expert, asks the question “Will more machines really make you more profitable?” and offers this important point to factor in “I would rather be the guy with the manageable debt load and lower overhead than the guy that lets his fruit toppings go bad because he’s so worried about losing a nickel to pay his bills.”
When deciding how many machines to start out with really boils down to a cost benefit analysis between what spending extra on the machine cost versus additional machine benefit.
It’s important to NOT forget about the associated costs that come with maintenance and purchase; how much energy they use, the production capacity, heat required, and price.
When thinking about starting your frozen yogurt shop make sure you take into account the direction you want your shop to go in the future. Planning ahead will help solidify the direct you as your business matures. A good example of this is Menchie’s, one of the biggest frozen yogurt franchises internationally. Their business goal is to become the “McDonald’s of frozen yogurt.” In order to achieve this they have focused on making their stores a fun place to be. To further this goal Menchie’s has gone through software development to produce a free app-style game that customers can play on their mobile phones. They also convey their playful attitude by nodding to a popular California ad campaign that claims that California is the home for happy cows. They allude to this ad by stating that they offer quality, service and yogurt made only from happy cows from California. Being a Los Angeles based company this especially appeals to the local community.
Use Menchie’s business model as an inspiration to get creative with your shop. Your concept is simple. Customer’s grab a cup, pick their favorite flavors and toppings and create their own dessert concoction. They then, walk up to the froyo point of sale, put the cup on the scale and swipe their credit card. The self serve method is cost efficient because of low labor costs and fun and interactive for customers. Come up with your own spin to keep up with trends and set your shop apart from competition.
- Ensure your business location is in a comfortable, easily accessible, and with space for parking. Picture the capabilities of your location prior to purchase. You’ll want a family friendly hangout type of location. Can you see a family sitting and enjoying your frozen yogurt?
- Make sure there is a good amount of foot traffic. Visibility is an important factor in attracting new customers.
- Other eateries nearby is a huge bonus. After people finish their meal, they have the added option of stopping by your business for an after-meal treat.
- Malls are a good option but not always. Peak yogurt hours go into the evening. If the mall is closed then you would be missing out on some critical business.
- Another great plus for your location is an outdoor seating option.
In order to differentiate your shop from the fads of the past is to stay contemporary. A great way to do this is to put some thought into the design and decor of your shop. Keep it modern with a clean presentation. A big appeal of the resurgence of frozen yogurt was the health angle. Keeping your shop looking as fresh and healthy as your yogurt is important in perpetuating this image. Take a look at some of the most successful frozen yogurt chains; RedMango, Menchie’s and Pinkberry. Some similarities in decor include clean lines with vibrant accents when it comes to furniture and counters, comfortable lounge area with plasma tv’s, technology displaying the animated menus, and a tablet reader for the company’s loyalty program. Need help updating your location or figuring out integrated tablet loyalty? Check out Cafe Cartel for more information.
Product and Equipment:
Putting some thought into your product and equipment choices can save you a lot of cash in the long run.
- Giving your customers options when it comes to flavors is important. Most successful frozen yogurt establishments have about 8 and 16 flavors of low fat, non-fat, and tart flavors.
- Keep in with the fresh and healthy message of your shop. Cycle in a variety of berries and exotic fresh cut real-fruits to go alongside your cookie and candy toppings
- One huge mistake that some frozen yogurt shops make is mushy fruit in pans. This is potentially a big turnoff for your customers. Make sure that the cut up fruit is thrown away and replaced long before it has a chance to scare away your customers.
- When purchasing your machines make sure that they are properly ventilated, if not they will ‘under-perform’ and not last as long as intended.
- Buying too big or too much machinery can put you in a hole when it comes to utilities. Find out the capabilities that your operation needs and accommodate that, don’t waste your capital in areas that don’t need it.
- Make sure that you keep diligent track of your frozen yogurt inventory. Doing this guards against employee theft and aids security management. A way to do this is getting frozen yogurt inventory management software. Find out more with Cafe Cartel Systems frozen yogurt point of sale system. Cafe Cartel has experience and knowledge of the frozen yogurt industry which means that your point of sale software will be tailored to you needs as a frozen yogurt shop owner.
What are the product costs of frozen yogurt? Where should I price them?
Figuring out what you should charge per ounce at your frozen yogurt shop can be tricky, especially if you don’t have a ton of industry experience. The key to determining your price point boils down to your topping selections.
Pricing Your Frozen Yogurt:
Many beginning small businesses go around to their local competition and figure out a good median to stick with between the ranges, while conducting competitor research is valuable a couple more things to into account before sticking with your price point.
1.) Choose between liquid mix or powder mix:
Liquid Mix Pros:
*Less labor necessary: just pour mix into machine.
*More consistent: Because it’s pre-mixed in a factory there isn’t much flavor variation.
*Less materials needed: you won’t need to worry about skim milk or filtered water processing
Liquid Mix Cons:
*need large freezer and refrigerator to store inventory.
Powder Mix Pros:
*Maybe easier to source since suppliers won’t need frozen distribution capabilities.
Powder Mix Cons:
*You need more ingredients which can result in higher costs: skim milk and filtered water
*Takes longer to mix: 15-20 minutes per batch
*Labor intensive: employees need to mix
*Lack of consistency depending on who mixes each batch
2.) Determine your topping costs.
Surprisingly, the pricing per ounce you set will largely be determined on your toppings. Toppings are marginally more expensive than yogurt. Toppings alone can cost between 10 and 40 cents per ounce. Therefore, it can be tricky when you aim to fix your yogurt prices at 35-50 cents per ounce.
*Consider which toppings are cost effective for you. Make sure that your pricing per ounce stays under 20 cents.
*Consider yogurt to topping ratio: typically the breakdown of yogurt to topping is around 75% yogurt and 25% topping. This is good news because typically you’ll be paying 7 cents per ounce of yogurt and 20 cents per ounce of topping.
* Purchase your toppings from a convenient, easy to buy location to purchase fresh fruit and candy at low bulk prices such as Costco, Sam’s, Restaurant Depot, or a grocery store.
*Evaluate your topping costs a few months into opening your business determining whether you need to raise the price per ounce a few pennies.
The resurgence of frozen yogurt in the early 2000’s has proven the test of time in the United States as it’s popularity has only steadied, grown and reinvented itself with new innovations constantly added to the market. One may be surprised to discover the trend was actually an import from Europe (to the East Coast) and Asia (to the West Coast.) We see this evident in froyo flavors and toppings. (mochi and tiramisu, anyone?) With frozen yogurt being such a growing international market let’s look at some of the trends around the world that you can incorporate into your own business.
International Frozen Yogurt Trends:
*Soy Yogurt: Tutti Frutti is a global brand with hundreds of shops open all over the world. In order to cater to their international clients dietary restrictions and allergies; there’s a big lactose intolerance in Asia, many countries don’t eat eggs for religious or personal reasons, and a growing gluten intolerance, Tutti Frutti has opted out of using dairy and utilized the sustainable and environmentally friendly product, soy. This soy frozen yogurt makes Tutti Frutti able to transcend borders regardless of dietary restrictions in the area without too much recipe alteration and base their product on a more natural and sustainable business practice which is in keeping with their mission statement.
*Nigeria has an abundance of coconut-based product (oil, milk, meat etc.) so they incorporate each part of the coconut into their yogurt making process.
*In South America countries that have adopted this lighter treat and have put their own spin on it with local tropical fruits such as mango and traditional flavors such as dulce de leche as a base and incorporated cocoa bits in as a topping.
*Italy claims a pivotal role in the invention of frozen yogurt as gelato shop keepers traditionally would mix in yogurt into their gelato in order to achieve the ideal consistency. They use their abundance of grapes in the wine regions to top their creamy recipes.
*Australia has opted to use frozen yogurt in the health market. As yogurt is a great source of protein, protein shake shops have opened up boasting this workout friendly option of slurping froyo down.
*South Koreans pile the red bean, and mochi ball toppings high up onto their frozen yogurt concoctions along with flavor additions like sweet potato and green tea.
*In India, dessert ghee is a popular ingredient. Some have used these flavors of cardamom, fennel and saffron into the yogurt itself or offer it up as a topping.
Opening a frozen yogurt shop can be a fun, delicious, and lucrative endeavor. However, you can’t really get far with this if you don’t have all the licenses and certification you need. Follow this quick “how to” to give you a rundown of all the items you’ll need before opening your frozen yogurt shop.
What you’ll need:
Tax identification number
Frozen yogurt inventory
1. You’ll need to determine what kind of frozen yogurt business you want to start. Do you want to branch off on a franchise? Will it be self service or full service? When you have these questions answered you can begin researching your local market to learn about opportunities, menu offerings, and pricing scales.
2. Now you’ll need to apply for all of your permits. These include your business license, tax identification number, retail permit and food license. Get started by visiting the U.S Small Business Administration’s website to get more information about businesses and permits in your area.
3. Now you’ll need to do the purchasing for your business. use this helpful checklist
* digital scales
*caddies for displaying toppings
*chairs and tables for customers to sit
*credit card machine
*point of sale system, a great point of sale system helps you keep track of all your inventory and lets you know when and what you need to order new product.
What some frozen Yogurt Shops are doing as the competition heats up this summer!
If you are a frozen yogurt store owner you may notice an increase in competition. Everywhere you turn you are seeing another frozen yogurt opening. This may be discouraging for some store owners. But many are taking on the challenge and diversifying with better marketing, product, atmosphere, and additions. What’s the latest in additions to the self-serve frozen yogurt business plan? Salad!
That’s right, just take a look at Swizzles in Ridgefield, CT. They had some steep comp but now they are not only attracting customers looking for a tasty treat. they are attracting customers looking for a healthy lunch. Bonus, they often follow their lunch with a tasty and healthy frozen yogurt treat after lunch.
Swizzles can make your salad for you or you can enjoy their salad bar. The salad bar is an excellent addition to the self serve frozen yogurt shop. As it goes along with the theme of “make your own” as well the healthy theme.