How to Start Your Own Frozen Yogurt Business

How to Start Your Own
Frozen Yogurt Business
Overview - Frozen Yogurt
• Lighter in texture and containing fewer calories
and fat, soft-serve frozen yogurt is a healthier
alternative to ice cream, sorbet or gelato. Yogurt
shops focus on selling soft-serve frozen yogurt
along with various toppings and mix-ins, plus
items such as soft-serve frozen yogurt shakes
and smoothies as a meal replacement.
How to Begin…
• If you are opening a conventional bricks and
mortar store, select and secure your location.
Other location options include vending truck or
trailer, shopping mall food court or floor space for
a standalone kiosk concept.
• Determine what type of operation it will be. You
may choose self-serve (weigh & pay),
conventional full-service treats or a hybrid form of
the two. Research your local market to identify
market niches to appeal to customers and learn
about menu offerings and pricing scales.
Step 1 - Design
• Design the shop around the type of operation
you have chosen. It is important to hire a
licensed architect /project manager. Have them
collaborate with an experienced retail store
designer. That team can conceptualize a store
built around a theme that encompasses the
vision of the concept.
Store Sample Layout
Step 2 – Permits & Licenses
• Register & fulfill the health and retail permits
required to open a food business in your area. File
the approval documents with the appropriate
• Depending on where you live, you may need an
assumed name certificate, sales tax permit, food
manager certification, food-handler permits or a
food enterprise license.
• Contact your state's health department and small
business development. They will provide you with
a check list of business documentation they
Step 3 - Menu
• Develop a menu of items to offer. Your menu will be based on
your operational model. Your featured product will be frozen
yogurt. Customers love to add toppings, such as honey,
granola, candies, fresh fruit, flavored syrups, sprinkles.
Options such as shakes, parfaits and smoothies can be
served depending on your operational design.
Offer your customers convenience options like grab and go
containers of frozen yogurt, yogurt pops and yogurt
sandwiches. To accomplish this, you should add a small blast
chiller to your equipment list to temper the product after
packaging. Procure ice cream containers and molds of
various sizes to package to-go orders from the same supplier
you use for your napkins, cups and spoons.
Step 4 – Equipment
• Purchase commercial soft-serve frozen
yogurt equipment. The number of
machines will be based on:
– Electrical service: Available or Upgrade
– Operational design:
(A) Self-serve (weigh & pay),
(B) Conventional full-service treats or
(C) Hybrid form of the two.
– Capacity or how much production will you require?
– Square footage for store configuration
Step 5 - Purchasing
• Procure the highest quality yogurt product available.
Favor options can be a huge point of differentiation in
your market. Make sure your product is fresh, easy to
obtain and can be delivered in a timely matter.
• Whenever possible, purchase the toppings and
ingredients for your frozen yogurt that are grown and or
produced locally. Incorporate those products into your
marketing campaign.
Step 6 - Promote
• Promote your soft-serve frozen yogurt business. Make
use of online social networks and social coupon sites.
You can also launch a promotional blog or website,
sponsor family events throughout your city or place
coupons and fliers in complementary businesses.
Tips & Warnings
• Diversify your frozen yogurt offerings to appeal to
what is happening now. The sweet flavors that
mimicked ice cream in the 1980s and 1990s have
been replaced by fresh tart flavor profiles.
• Consider offering drive-through service to appeal
to busy customers if your operational model has a
• Some business owners may want to start a frozen
yogurt franchise. Advantages include access to
customer base, brand identity & popularity, shared
marketing & advertizing streams. Disadvantages
include paying franchise fees and loss of
autonomy in menu and venue design.
Tips & Warnings - continued
• Frozen yogurt businesses in locations, such
as beaches, & parks, may experience
dramatic seasonal fluctuation depending on
geographic region. Consider opening such
establishments on a seasonal basis. Your
ROI should reflect your decision.
• Keep in mind that self-service frozen yogurt
establishments can lead to cleanliness
issues. Keep customer areas sanitary to
adhere to health codes to avoid penalties and
law suits.
Yogurt is Making Headlines
• Frozen Yogurt Seller: It's All About the Self-Serve
By: Bud Gunter of Sugar Creek Foods International
With frozen yogurt shops proliferating across the country's
landscape, an Arkansas-based company that supplies frozen yogurt
sees one central trend -- it's all about the self-serve experience for
customers. Sugar Creek Foods International of Russellville, Ark., sells
its Honey Hill Farms frozen yogurt to more than a 1,000 independent
frozen yogurt shops across the United States, and not one of the new
shops this past year has been a full-service operation, said Bud Gunter,
Sugar Creek vice president and partner.
"We have not served a new single store that is full-service. It's all been
self-service," Gunter said. Gunter said customers like the self-service
style instead of being served from behind a counter because the patron
is in control."The novelty is that you can control what you're making,"
Gunter said. "People like to mix it up when it comes to creating their
own frozen yogurt dishes."
Source: Nation’s Restaurant News – May 21, 2011

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