10 Tips for Getting the Perfect Frozen Yogurt Consistency

The trickiest part of the frozen yogurt and soft serve industries is often finding the perfect consistency of yogurt to serve. Customer tastes can be subjective; some prefer their yogurt to be thick and creamy, whereas others prefer a light and fluffy product. Either way, the way you run your machines can go a long way to helping you hit the sweet spot of frozen yogurt consistency. Here are 10 tips for producing the perfect frozen yogurt consistency for your frozen yogurt shop, which continues the conversation from thefrozenyogurtreview.com.

Source: cltampa.com

Source: cltampa.com

1. Rotate Flavors

To prevent one machine from getting more wear and producing a lower quality product as a result be sure to rotate the popular flavors amongst the different machines on a regular basis.

  • Why: Keeping a popular flavor in the same machine will ensure that machine needs maintenance before the others.
  • How: Be sure to also rotate the machines to reflect the changes in order to avoid customer confusion.

 

2. Cycling Old and New Product 

Keeping yogurt in the freezing cylinder for an extended period of time without it being drawn out can substantially lower the quality of your product.

  • Why: Generally speaking if the product is not cycling it is getting worse. Keep the yogurt cycling and periodically taste the yogurt in your machines to ensure it’s cycling properly and make adjustments as necessary.
  • How: For example if the yogurt is icy remove some until it gets lighter and creamier. At night be sure to flip your air tubes and in the morning release the yogurt from the freezing cylinder and cycle in new yogurt from the hoppers. You will see an immediate difference.

 

3. Prevent Yogurt Break Down

  • Why: Removing the foam that builds up at the top of the hoppers and stirring your yogurt frequently will prevent break down.
  • How: You should do this first thing every day before opening and then again once an hour throughout the day. After all the best way to keep your frozen yogurt at an ideal consistency is by maintaining it.

 

4. Clean the Feeding Tubes 

Often times, especially with the machines housing the most popular flavors, the feeding tubes can become clogged.

  • Why: This stops the yogurt from getting from the hoppers to the freezing cylinders which causes the yogurt to become icy and or prevents it from dispersing.
  • How: Clean your machine’s feeding tubes at various intervals throughout the day with a small brush to clear the hole and ensure that the yogurt has a clear path to travel.

 

5. Manage Overrun/Amount of Air Added 

  • Why: As a rule of thumb with frozen yogurt a high overrun is not beneficial because it means the yogurt will not weigh as much since the overrun is usually air volume. Despite this some overrun is a good thing and is often times essential because it is overrun that causes the yogurt to have a creamy taste and even makes it fluffier.
  • How: Ideally your machines will be allowing about 10-20% overrun which is achieved through the air tubes on the machine. Maintaining the air tubes is essential to achieving the ideal amount of of overrun and perfecting your yogurt’s consistency.

 

6. Manage Your Flow Rate 

  • Why: If the yogurt is dispersing from the machine either too fast or too slowly this will keep the yogurt from reaching the ideal consistency in the customer’s cup.
  • How: The dispenser speed depends on the screw on the lower portion of the handle. If you unscrew the nut to the point that you can no longer feel the screw through it on the other end the yogurt will dispense faster and vice versa.

 

7. Check the Viscosity or Harness Setting 

  • Why: The amount of cooling your machine achieves can be changed through the use of a viscosity or hardness level control.
  • How: With some machines, particularly older ones, the panels must be removed or a specialty technician will have to change this setting, but with some machines the controls are right on the face plate. The type of yogurt you’re using will determine where your setting should be. For example a tart yogurt will freeze faster than a chocolate cheesecake therefore it should reside on a lower level.

 

8. Lubricate Wearable Machine Parts 

  • Why: A lack of lubrication can cause leaks in your machine as well as parts not working as they were intended.
  • How: For example the shaft seal requires food grade lubricant along the surface before placing the beater in the freezing cylinder, the o-rings on the three draw valves should also be lubricated before being placed in the dispenser.

 

9. Cleaning and Replacing Wearable Parts 

  • Why: Machine cleaning is vital not only for sanitary and cleanliness purposes, but it can also affect the inner workings of the machine and the way it makes yogurt.
  • How: For example beaters can actually make the yogurt icy if they are worn down, to the point that that the yogurt will actually freeze and break off once it is large enough for the beater to come into contact with. Clogged air tubes and broken o-rings that cause leaks are other issues that often need to be repaired or replaced.

 

10. Clean the Internal Drip Trays

  • Why: Throughout your machine there are hidden drip trays to catch internal leaks from loose parts and excess product.
  • How: Ideally if everything is running smoothly these should not be filling up, but they should still be checked and cleaned periodically to ensure nothing is leaking and the machine is producing the quality of yogurt you expect. The drip trays are located in different places depending on the model of your machine.

 

Frozen Yogurt Software

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Frozen Yogurt On-the-Go Expansion

As the popularity of frozen yogurt increases, suppliers are trying to meet customer’s demand at new locations with new strategies.

 

*trucks

Who doesn’t love food trucks? Well now frozen yogurt has moved to delivering frozen yogurt around town through trucks.  These special trucks allow customers to continue to provide self service with frozen yogurt flavors and toppings. Some companies also allow these trucks to be rented for events such as baseball games, charity fundraising or birthday parties. Say goodbye to the old icecream song and embrace this booming business with frozen yogurt.

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*kiosks

Similar to trucks, setting up kiosks is a great business opportunity for frozen yogurt companies. Places like malls, festivals, concerts or community events are great locations to create and satisfy a frozen yogurt craving to customers. Not only will customers be happy to have access to frozen yogurt but this is a smart strategy to build brand awareness. Customers will know where you stand at malls, expect to see your company at huge events and will appreciate the access.

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*catering

Here is a win win situation for the owner and the clients: catering to parties, businesses or special events with frozen yogurt. There are many options that can be offered to adjust to the size and quantity of the orders. The catering option eliminates flexibility with mixing flavors because it is easier to make pre-made cups of a single or double flavor and bring packaged toppings to offer to the customers. Parents love this idea for their kids’ birthday parties to serve all of the guests. Businesses can use this service as a fun team bonding event or just to thank employees every once in awhile. You want to advertise these options to customers so that they are aware of this opportunity and can help spread the word.

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*outside locations

Other temporary locations are great for frozen yogurt and brand loyalty. Setting up locations to go to consistently will get customers to look forward that day to purchase yogurt. This is ideal for warm areas and larger populated areas. A great example that some places have used are schools and parks. Creating some tables with the frozen yogurt offerings for a few hours can boost business and also build brand loyalty.

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*ATM’s

We’ve heard about the success and excitement with cupcake atms.. well now its frozen yogurt’s time to shine! DC opened the first frozen yogurt vending machine called the “Frobot” where yogurt is dispensed from a machine to a cup after a credit card transaction has been made. The ATM like machine first offered only flavor in order to test the market, but they plan to expand to multiple flavors and hopefully add toppings as well. This is another interactive and fun way to buy frozen yogurt for customers.

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*merging stores

Frozen yogurt is now setting up smaller offerings and services to other stores. For example, convenience stores are adopting frozen yogurt sections by the cash registers. Also, some frozen yogurt shops are offering other food items and some are just joining to add their services to dessert places. For example, crepe stores or boba places are starting to add frozen yogurt to their stores to make it a one stop place for customers wanting dessert.

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*delivery option

Some stores have already added an option of delivering frozen yogurt to homes. Request can be made online or by phone and then there is a minimum delivery cost. Companies can get away with $10 purchases that can be delivered within a certain area code. This is another great differentiation option that might score you new and loyal customers that appreciate the extra effort. Try testing the market in your frozen yogurt shops region to see if there is a strong enough demand for this service before implementing it fully.

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Frozen Yogurt Point of Sale

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Is Frozen Yogurt the Answer to Convenience Store’s Lack of Healthy Food?

The frozen yogurt lifestyle is becoming so pervasive that you may come across some when picking up some gum and gas at your local convenience store. That’s right, frozen yogurt kiosks can now be found in convenience stores! Take a look at Donper America’s and Yumz express frozen yogurt kiosk concepts:

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Diversifying product has worked well for convenience stores in the past. Wawa, the Pennsylvania-based gas retailer is locally renowned for their smoothies and sandwiches. 7-11, now an international corporation, was put on the map when they adopted their infamous Slurpee back in 1967. Now with the staying power that frozen yogurt has shown, these convenience store concepts have gotten some traction with convenience stores across the country big and small.

If you’re in the Atlanta area you’ll notice that RaceTrac stations, a local convenience store chain, have adopted some new hardware including a couple self-serve frozen yogurt stations and a toppings bar

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You’ll see some frozen yogurt stations in small convenience stores such as this one in Lower Paxton Township Pennsylvania.

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And I have to say it doesn’t sound like a bad idea. Frozen yogurt for convenience stores makes sense with the self-serve model already built into the c-store concept. Frozen yogurt to grab and go sounds like a pretty great solution for c-stores that are looking to expand and grow their business with healthier choices. What do you think?

 

Best Frozen Yogurt Software

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Donper America Develops Frozen Yogurt Machine Service App for Store Owners

Get ready all you Donper America frozen yogurt machine owners, the future is now. Donper America recently announced their frozen yogurt machine app that will show soft-serve machine operators how to set-up, troubleshoot and fix their equipment.

Donper’s new training app will feature:

  • step-by-step instructions
  • videos
  • troubleshooting guides
  • glossaries

This new feature will help supplement Donper’s current service and support structure of initial machine set-up, over the phone troubleshooting, and in store service calls. Scott Turner, the service manager at Donper America, commented that the problem with their traditional service model was that:

“employees aren’t usually familiar with basic troubleshooting techniques until there is a problem with one of the machines. This app helps to solve this problem by allowing our customers to learn proactively.”

Donper wants the app to educate operators on proper maintenance and training, so they’re better able to keep their equipment successfully up and running. c700x420.jpg

This new app, if successful, has the potential to revolutionize the service and support structure of the frozen yogurt industry. At the very least, less expensive service calls for frozen yogurt store owners. Sounds exciting to us!

Source:marketwired.com

Best Frozen Yogurt Point of Sale

Tablet Frozen Yogurt Package4

Buying a Used Frozen Yogurt Machine Online

Are you browsing the web for frozen yogurt machines trying to find the best deal? Have the most attractive prices been on Amazon or Ebay?

There is a lot to consider when buying a used yogurt machine such as warranties and service. In many cases that price is low because it doesn’t include those things. But depending on your business and resources, buying through a site like ebay may be your best option. Here are some things I found that might help you make the right decision.

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If you are going to purchase a soft serve ice cream machine on ebay always verify the following are available at your location (Please leave feedback below):

A. Do you have Single Or Three Phase electricity, desire air-cooled (moderate temperature climates and location placement in air conditioned or extremely well ventilated room and plenty of vent space around unit) or water cooled (warm climates, poorly ventilated placement), and the serial number and voltage ( Are electrical plugs or is the unit hardwired?).

B. Request a photo of the inside of the inside of the freezing cylinder(s) which is the location(s) behind the door of the unit where the flavor or flavors are dispensed. There should be metal beaters inside these chambers that turn to keep the ice cream from completely freezing and not dispensing. These can be found on ebay fairly priced and from a Taylor dealer be prepared for about $300 for one. This price is possible to negotiate if you are pleasant and mention that you are considering purchasing one from ebay for lower price.

C. Ask for a photo of the top of the machine with and without the hopper lids. Different units have different parts in the hopper so if there are none add $150 and if there are no lids another $200.

D. Is the machine on casters (full size units) and are they casters in good condition or are they prominently flat on one side. If these units are not moved on a regular basis the wheels become flat. This also means the unit was probably not properly maintained.

Taylor Soft Serve Ice Cream Machines are the Best In Performance and extremely profitable. Yes, they are expensive new but that is because they are of the highest quality. If you cannot afford new and purchase a Taylor used on ebay be prepared to pay additional expenses if you do not ask the above listed questions. If you buy a Taylor Soft Serve from 1985 or newer and for less than $3000 and usually the worst case scenario is a $3000 in additional expenses which if you don’t know a retired Taylor Tech then use a Taylor Distributor. They are worth the few extra dollars and also guarantee labor and parts on replacements. A used working $6000 Taylor is well worth the investment if you cannot afford to buy one new. Some Taylor dealers also have refurbished units in-stock and with a one-year warranty and at a very fair price. If you do not ask you will not know.

SaniServ is also a reputable manufacturer and especially for frozen beverages like Margarita’s and Daquiri’s. Stoelting, Electrofreeze, and others are also available. Taylor does have about 80% of the market so they must be doing something right.

 

There are plenty of options out there so that yo get the right machines for you business and can afford them. Options such as refurbished models from distributors and leasing options.

Frozen Yogurt Machine Review: Electro Freeze, Forte and Taylor

 

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

 

Taylor C713

Large Capacity Machine

Hourly output capacity: 60 liters

Price: $15,000

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

Price: $16,000+

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.

 

Forte ss100

Medium capacity machine  with 2 hoppers that hold 12 liters each. The hourly output capacity is approximately 12 gallons

Price: $8,000

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.

 

Sources: thefrozenyogurtreview

 

If you have any suggestions or input please share in a comment! We love collaborating with our subscribers.

 

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.

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.

What’s the Best Frozen Yogurt Scale?

Frozen Yogurt Scale Reviews

All of these scales have been used in the self serve frozen yogurt industry. They can be used manually and integrate with your point of sale system or computer. I have spoken with some frozen yogurt experts to get some additional information to help you with your frozen yogurt scale decision.

Avery Berkel
Avery 6712

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Avery has a long history in manufacturing scales and are available worldwide. They are predominantly used in small grocery store, delis and frozen yogurt stores. More notably, they are an inexpensive alternative to other scales in the self serve frozen yogurt industry.

The Avery Berkel 6712 is ideal for shops that have limited counter space as it’s dimensions are 10″ x 10″ and 2.5″ high. This scale uses a serial connection to integrate with a computer. The display has to be mounted, so it requires some assembly. The weighing platform is stainless steel and can fit up to 4 frozen yogurt cups.

Avery has had a change in ownership a few years back. Before the change the quality of the scales was sufficient and reliable. Since the change there have been a number of issues and the quality just hasn’t been restored since. A source (frozen yogurt shop owner) has reported that they had received a scale that didn’t work, so Avery took it back and shipped out another, and that one failed to function properly as well. There have been a number of issues such as:

* display not working
* unable to calibrate the scale
* bad motherboard

Therefore, this scale is not recommended unless you find one from 4-5 years ago. If you can find one from then, the life on the scale should still be good for a long time.

CAS
CAS PD II OZ Scale

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The CAS Scale has had the best feedback so far and would be my overall recommendation. The CAS Scale is a popular choice in the frozen yogurt industry. The dimensions on this scale are 15(W)x11(D)x3.1(H) and can fit around 6-8 frozen yogurt cups. CAS has two displays that are flush with the scale and require no assembly.

A nice feature about the CAS scale is that is can measure in ounces as well as in pounds. Now for frozen yogurt, this may seem a little odd. But, in some states such as Ohio, the Department of Weights and Measures only allowed businesses to sell in pounds. Sounds a little funny, but in Ohio’s case that was the law (they have changed it now), but the point is that it was important to have a scale that could easily convert the weight and CAS scales have that function.

Mettler Toledo
VIVA

The Mettler Toledo Scale can also weigh in pounds, but you have to make sure you get the right version because there is a version of this same scale that doesn’t have that function. The Mettler scale is somewhat of an in between scale as it has the durability of a CAS Scale and the size of an Avery (holds 4 frozen yogurt cups). The only caveat is that it is about twice the price of either scale.

The other thing to be aware of with this scale is that they do not provide direct service. they will give you the number of the local service technician. Therefore, the service can vary. There has been reports of issues that have taken a year to resolve because the local tech company.

“We contacted the service company to see if they could convert the scale. The service company took the scale saying they would convert it and returned it in non working condition. Then we received an invoice claiming they converted it for us, when in reality they broke it. What happened was we had the version that could not be converted into pounds and the service guy didn’t check the serial number to verify. It was kind of a nightmare, because every time we contacted Mettler, they just pointed us back to the company that broke our scale. We just felt like we got the runaround and it took a year of talking to many representatives before they finally apologized and offered to have the scale sent to them for repair.”

Cindy, Frozen Yogurt Shop Owner, OH

Lauren Zerweck is a Marketing and Communications Consultant for small businesses and specializes in point of sale. You can find her on Google+.

Frozen Yogurt Machines: Cooling Systems

Air Cooling vs. Water Cooling

 

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When you are looking at frozen yogurt machines, you may notice that some are air cooled and others are water cooled. So to clear up any confusion I am going to talk a little bit about the differences between the two types and how to know which is a better fit for your frozen yogurt shop.

Let’s start with the air cooling; and yes it is like it sounds it used air to keep the machines cool. Without getting too crazy on specifics, this means that hot air will be blown out of the machine while cool air is used within. In other words, you will need a ventilation system that may require a back room or chimneys to take the hot air straight up to the ventilation system.

 

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When it comes to water cooled yogurt machines there are two ways to get the cold water in and the hot water out. One is using regular water, but you may need a recycling system depending on the state you live in and also have to consider the monthly charge for water consumption. The other way to use the water cooling system is to use glycol(antifreeze) in a loop to a chiller located outside. Either way, if you choose to do water you will need a cooling unit, most likely located outside or on the roof.

The key components to keep in mind are square footage, venting, and cost of utilities.

We hope this blog has given you some insight and will help you weigh your options for you frozen yogurt business.