How Many Frozen Yogurt Machines Do You Really Need?: A Cost/Benefit Analysis

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.

Trends to Follow from Successful Frozen Yogurt Shops

Business Plan:

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.


The Secret to Effective Frozen Yogurt Pricing

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:

*Dry storage

*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.

Frozen Yogurt Trends Around The World

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.


How to Open a Frozen Yogurt Shop

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:

Business license
Tax identification number
Liability insurance
Retail license
Food permit
Frozen yogurt inventory
Office equipment



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
*self-serve machines
*caddies for displaying toppings
*chairs and tables for customers to sit
*fax machine
*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.







Frozen Yogurt Business Opportunity: Grow Your Clientele!

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!


frozen yogurt, competition, business plan, marketing, how to open a frozen yogurt shop, salad bar


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.


swizzle, conneticut, frozen yogurt, salad bar, marketing


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.


Favorite Frozen Yogurt Flavors for Summer Time!

Summer is here! also known as the frozen yogurt season. While frozen yogurt is popular year round, it is especially popular in the summer. What other treat offers the cold and refreshing flavors at half the calories? Speaking of flavors, we have noticed some fun new flavors that have been a real hit this summer along with some traditional flavors.

If you are a frozen yogurt store owner, these flavors may be the answer to beating out your competitors. It’s all about “Refreshing” this season, and these 6 flavors will ensure flocks of people are flooding through your doors.

1. Strawberry – Summer’s favorite fruit is a mainstay classic to the Frozen Yogurt industry. People love strawberry’s in the summer as it is their season. And, the perfect mixture of big savory sweetness, with just a hint of tart, means customer satisfaction. Strawberry may seem obvious, but the idea is to have everyone’s favorite along with the exciting new flavors. Plus you can always mix the two!

2. Pomegranate – This antioxidant powerhouse is beloved by many a health-nut and for good reason. Pomegranate is proven to reduce the risk of heart problems and it’s antioxidant properties are great for naturally lowering high blood pressure and is considered to be one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet. A great organic pomegranate yogurt with some blueberries and granola is just what the health-conscience summertime treat-seeker will order.

3. Greek – The best thing about Greek yogurt, is that it is a broad and healthy style of yogurt which can be found in multiple styles and flavors. Greek FroYo can also be paired with just about any topping for a refreshing, healthy or indulgent feel. Stocking your store with any Honey, Vanilla, Fruit or Mixed flavor Greek yogurt is sure to peak more than a few people’s interest this Summer.

4. Sorbet – Nothing says refreshing quite like a powerful sorbet in the Summer. With dozens of options ranging from Orange to Mango, Watermelon to Lemonade there are no shortage of great sorbet styled Frozen Yogurts out there for you to choose from. A sorbet’s rich and tart tinge leaves customers wanting more and will have them lined up around the corner.

5. Passion Fruit – When it comes to a refreshing tropical flavor, the passionfruit is second to none. The Brazilian fruit is a must-have for those seeking a light, but exciting alternative to the typically indulgent year-round flavors. With a strong tart flavor and citrus overtones, the passionfruit is the perfect summertime treat.

6. Piña Colada – If you like Piña Coladas, let’s face it who doesn’t, then you will love the  Piña Colada flavored frozen yogurt. The best part is that Piña Colada is not only indulgent and refreshing it also has a very luxurious feel to it, plus it goes great with chocolate. If your customers are looking for something exceptional, might you suggest adding coconut shavings and pineapple slices to their summer treat?

Having a wide selection of Summer specific flavors as well as the classics is a great game plan for the Summer time. You can then track what they are going after, that way you can be well prepared for you busiest season.




Frozen Yogurt Machines -Buying from Overseas

Is it worth buying overseas? The Frozen Yogurt machine is at the epicenter of the frozen yogurt shop. It determines quality and quantity output of your yogurt as well as operation and service costs which can be a bit mysterious until you have actually purchased the machines in which case you are a bit stuck.

To help carry the load we are examining a few yogurt machines every week and different important aspects of the upkeep of these machines so you can compare them to the ROI of the machine.

There are a few major players in the US that most people looking to open a shop come across; Taylor, Forte, Stoelting and Sani Serve. From recent pricing investigations these machines run from $8,000 – $13,000 with Taylor being the most expensive.

I also came across Alpine which gets their machines from a manufacturer in China. Now some of the warnings I have come across about buying overseas were that if you buy overseas you have to order any broken parts from overseas, many machines not being NSF or UL certified, and high risk of scams. The site seems to address all three issues on the home page stating “free spare parts, 3 year warranty on motors and compressors, and the man behind these machines is a frozen yogurt shop owner in AZ.”

alpine360, frozen yogurt machine


Whether or not you think the Alpine is the machine for you they had some interesting points about what to look at when shopping for a commercial frozen yogurt machine. for example; they compared their machines to taylor and reasoned about how the energy bill alone is outrageous compared to how much yogurt you are actually putting out and suggests that for most places it is not necessary. Here are some of their key points when comparing to Taylor, one of the top brands when it comes to commercial frozen yogurt machines.

1. Each machine has two separate, independent motors and compressors so they require much more energy to operate. That is fine if you are running a very high volume business with 1 or 2 machines. What I found with most self serve yogurt store is they have from 6 to 8 machines to provide a variety of flavors so they carry a lot less load. . What I think people are looking for is machines that are energy efficient since they are only being used a few times a day each during peak hours.

2. Taylor uses two motors and two compressors means: More energy consumption – My store had 4 machines and cost me about $1,600 in electricity monthly. Now I have 8 Alpine and the utilities dropped considerably to only $900 monthly! More moving parts that could break down – Since the new machines were too expensive, I bought some used ones as an alternative and they cost me on an average $800 per month for repair and maintenance for four of them.

3. Expensive cost to build out – Since most commercial rental spaces have about 200amp electrical panel and because of the load that Taylor needs, a new operator has to add an additional panel and that can cost anywhere between $5,000 to $25,000 depending where the main electrical line they have to bring it from. With our machines, existing 200 amp panel should be enough.

Keep in mind it wasn’t easy finding additional information on these machines, but that seems to be the trend with commercial yogurt machines. I do appreciate the free manual and the specifications page on the site. There are some important aspects to think about when considering buying from this company, they offer a warranty but don’t say much about service. Sure you have a manual but how much will it cost you in the long run? It depends on how long it takes to fix.

There are some opinions out there that service through the yogurt machine supplier is expensive and unnecessary. A simple refrigerator repair man could do the job. If you have a refrigerator repair company that you have an on going service plan or relationship with, it may be worth it to buy a machine such as the Alpine 360. I would suggest bringing in the specifications to the refrigerator repair company and collaborating with an expert on parts and functionality. That way you have a local go to guy that knows what to expect and where to find the parts if necessary.

Frozen yogurt Shop Marketing Tips: Email Marketing

Looking to grow your email list for your frozen yogurt shop? Is your subscriber list stagnating for your newsletters?

frozen yogurt, frozen yogurt shop, email marketing, email list, promotions, frozen yogurt store, pos point of sale, system, software, ipad


Here is a fun idea to get some great feedback on top of growing your email list for your froyo shop! One word; Survey!

I know, I know. Surveys are lame and time consuming and waste paper. This is was true, but now we have technology that makes it a breeze. Here is how you do it. Have an ipad mounted in your frozen yogurt shop with the survey on it. All they have to do is enter their email, answer a few questions about what your want feedback on. Maybe the atmosphere and design, maybe what they think the shop is missing, or about the service. Either way, you will end up with a ton of email addresses of actual locals so you can send out friendly reminders and news updates about your business.


frozen yogurt, frozen yogurt shop, email marketing, email list, promotions, frozen yogurt store, pos point of sale, system, software, ipad


Now, how do we get them to take the survey? Well you one, need to let them know that it’s available, easy and only takes a few minutes to complete. and upon completion they will receive something that they would value. weather that be a discount on their next yogurt, or a buy one get one coupon. That part is up to you.

Next question; how do I set up a survey? Simple! there are all kinds of websites that allow you to make your own surveys for free. Along with this ability to make your own survey they provide analytics and information on the survey takers, yippy! It’s the kind of information companies have to pay marketing firms thousands of dollars to gather, and you can do it your self at a more than reasonable price! So what are you waiting for?


Pricing Your Frozen Yogurt

Frozen Yogurt Specials that Work!

Missy’s Frozen Yogurt in Colorado was in the market for a point of sale system. Griff’s Dispensary recommended Cafe Cartel POS they use as they were very happy with their POS system and service.


frozen yogurt, yogurt shop, yogurt pos, yogurt point of sale, specials, affordable, best, point of sale, system


Missy’s Frozen Yogurt liked what they saw and that the company had so much frozen yogurt experience. What they found most appealing was the tier pricing function. Normally, this functions was used for Medical Marijuana Shops. It gave the shop the ability to automatically scale the pricing the more the customer buys.

For example, if a patient came in and purchased over a certain amount of ounces, the price per ounce would decrease.

So for example:

1 Gram = $20.00 ($20.00 per gram)
3.5 Grams = $35.00 ($10.00 per gram)
7 Grams = $55.00 ($8.00 per gram)

Missy’s Frozen yogurt saw this as an opportunity to offer a year round promotion that no other yogurt shop had in it’s area. The tier pricing would encourage customers to buy more frozen yogurt as the price went down the more they bought. This also encouraged customers to bring in friends to get the most out of the deal.

or less than 8 oz is $.049 cents per ounce.
more than 8 oz they would give $0.05 cents off per ounce.
and more than 24 ounces they would discount $0.09 cents per ounce.

or another way to say it:

< 8 oz $0.49 cents per ounce.
>8 oz < 24 oz $0.45 per ounce!
>24 oz $0.40 cents per ounce!

They realized that because an average customer bought 8 ounces, they could get individuals to buy just a little more, and then beyond that friends could encourage each other to go together, because it would be cheaper for them. Her customers though this was a great deal. She already offered no toppings at a discount, but this gave her another bonus she wanted in her marketing campaign.

*Please note, due to the current status of Medical Marijuana Collectives and Dispensaries in the country, the names of the stores and owners have been changed to protect their privacy.

Cafe Cartel was happy to help!