While many of us – especially people like myself who are trapped in the cold north – are dreaming of summer, news reaches of us of some interesting growth in a franchise industry especially popular in sunnier climes: the frozen yogurt industry.
The Orange-County Business Journal recently published a story about a thriving Irvine, CA- based franchise called Yogurtland. Only five years old, the franchise is now expanding nationally and “plans to have 75 restaurants open or under development by the end of the year.” Their success seems to be mirroring a wider streak of success in the frozen yogurt franchise industry.
Yogurtland say they actually grew during the recession – an interesting claim given that one would have expected the industry to feel the pinch of the recession as non-essential consumer spending was peeled back at a dramatic level. Interestingly, the franchise held firm during the recession by not offering discounts and it seems to have paid off.
The company didn’t go down the road of offering discounts during the downturn. A few months ago it even hiked its prices for the first time in history, a 10% bump to 33 cents per ounce, made to offset rising commodity costs.
Yogurtland also is unlikely to expand its menu beyond yogurt unless they come up with something “complementary to our primary business,” [founder Larry] Sidoti said.
Now Yogurtland are considering opening in Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. This certainly says a lot about their faith in their product and their self-serve business model. As the story explains, self-serve frozen yogurt franchises like Yogurtland “lets guests pick from 16 flavors and nearly 40 toppings. Customers can mix up whatever amount they want, with prices calculated by the ounce.”
Other California-based frozen yogurt franchises are following their lead. It could be that self-service will spark a renaissance for frozen yogurt franchise.