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.”
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.