Yogurt Guru – Cherry Creek, Denver

Yogurt Guru – Cherry Creek, Denver

 

Yogurt Guru Cherry Creek

You’re cruising down the side walk in Cherry Creek on a Friday, find yourself with a little sweet tooth and stumble upon a bustling yogurt shop with a rolled up door that puts the countertop seating area right at the sidewalk, a quality sound system playing the day’s hottest tunes, and a sea of smiling faces, customers and employees alike. You know you have come to the right place – and wait till you taste the yogurt.

Yogurt Guru is a small, locally owned operation with 2 quaint stores in the Denver area. I had the pleasure of visiting the Cherry Creek location on a recent Friday night with my girlfriend, and was pleased. The seating was comfortable and the ambience was nice – bright and colorful without being over the top

Yogurt Guru Taylor Machines

The Cherry Creek Yogurt Guru sported 5 Taylor frozen yogurt machines, offering a total of 15 flavors (including the swirls). They had a few standards: non-fat vanilla, non-fat chocolate, and plain tart. I especially enjoyed the tart – rich but refreshing at the same time. I was not impressed with the vanilla. It was a little too flat, and blasé. The non-fatness of the chocolate was impressive, because it was incredibly rich. They had 1 non-dairy sorbet: tropical mango. I was especially impressed with this. It had a silky smooth consistency, with just the right frozenness – not runny, but no icy at all. I give their yogurts 4 out of 5, the only demerit being the lower selection than other stores with 6 or 8 machines.

Frozen Yogurt Toppings

They stock 32 toppings, including syrups, with the usual nuts, gummy bears, cookie crumbles, in addition to a great selection of fresh fruit, 1 mochi and 1 boba balls. They had more fruit than I have seen at any place: kiwi, strawberry, pineapple, watermelon, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, mango, and banana. Wow! I was impressed. My girlfriend got some tart and vanilla with some fresh fruit, and was mostly satisfied with the freshness, except for the mango. I always think I want to go for some refreshing concoction, since it’s warm out now, but I always end up going with my standard: some kind of rich yogurt, packed with peanut butter cups. This time it was cake batter, peanut butter/chocolate swirl, with peanut butter cups. I threw a couple “yogurt puff” things on there just for safe measure. I give the topping selection and quality 5 out of 5.

Yogurt guru is a great little place to go with the kids, for a date, or just for a treat after a long Cherry Creek shopping trip. Their yogurt runs $.42 per ounce, which is about average these days. During the summer they are open till midnight on weekends and 11p on weeknights.

Final Froyo Creation!

Overall rating for Cherry Creek Yogurt Guru: 4/5

Review by W.M.B

Tutti Frutti Frozen Yogurt, San Carlos, CA

Tutti Frutti Frozen Yogurt, San Carlos, CA

Tutti Frutti Frozen Yogurt, San Carlos, CA

Tutti Frutti Frozen Yogurt

Fro-yo girl here. It seems like you can’t drive more than 30 minutes in the Bay Area without running into a Tutti Frutti location. The Bay Area is home to 2 dozen Tutti Frutti locations and the company has 580 locations worldwide. The locations I’ve visited have 8 to 12 self-serve frozen flavors a day.

The San Carlos Tutti Frutti has 10 self-serve fro-yo flavors a day and your typical toppings (syrups, nuts, fruit, jellies, candy, cookies, brownies, mochi, chocolate chips) for 39 cents an ounce. They only had three kinds of fresh fruit: strawberries, kiwi and mango.

TF Original Tart is one of their best frozen yogurt flavors. Their version is creamy yet refreshing, smooth, light, tangy and quit e flavorful. It has a pleasant, clean aftertaste. The pineapple tart frozen yogurt was also creamy, smooth, quite fruity but less tangy. I noticed they had one sugar free (Splenda Strawberry) flavor and one non-dairy flavor (Pink Lemonade Sorbet), in addition to classic flavors (French Vanilla, Triple Chocolate, Cookies n’ Cream), fruity flavors, and TF Original Tart. Their yogurt is kosher and contains live and active cultures.

Tutti Frutti Topping Bar

The shop was clean and bright. It has ample seating, bright colors (e.g., bright orange ceiling, lime green wall), pictures of fruit, tables for little kids and signs proclaiming the health benefits of frozen yogurt.

I wanted to get some sample cups but the single employee was in the back for quite some time. I’ve been there more than once but have never been offered sample cups or a frequent buyer card. Also, the flavors don’t change often enough at this location. I was disappointed that they didn’t have the new soy bean frozen yogurt other Tutti Frutti locations carry.

See the new flavors on Tutti Frutti’s Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Tutti-Frutti-San-Carlos-Ave-1148-CA/110644902288904

Rating: 3.5/5

You know you love me.  X0 X0, fro-yo girl.

For more on all things fro-yo, be sure to visit my blog: http://froyogirl.blogspot.com/

*

Tutti Frutti Machines - Wellspring

TUTTI FRUTTI: 1148 San Carlos Ave., San Carlos, CA 94070

Secure Investments in Froyo…

Secure Frozen Yogurt Investments

Secure Frozen Yogurt Investments

The problem with “secure” investments is that they are often made so safe that the gains are minimum.

– Robert Kiyosaki
Many of you will read this quote and say, “yeah, obviously”.  But, lets take it further.  What I have been contemplating a lot lately is how investors for new frozen yogurt stores feel more “secure” when spending MORE money on start up costs including equipment, franchise fees, etc.  This is interesting, because its counter-intuitive.  The argument is that with a successful yogurt franchise your chances are higher to stay open for longer.  For instance franchises may have 90% more success rate over a 10 year period, perhaps.  But, there’s more to it then that.  Just because the business is generating money doesn’t mean its making you rich!  Plus, your not reading this because you are average, your also not reading this if your going to be a poor store operator.  Why, because you actually care.  The ones who aren’t having success  don’t spend time to go above and beyond, they don’t read, they don’t ask questions, and they don’t listen!  When are you going to recoup your money, especially if you are borrowing.  It may be worth it to consider taking some risk and potentially starting a store for 50% less – even if you have 25% less sales initially you will have a higher ROI and will have leveraged your money much better!  Then, when people find that you are offering a great product you will begin to get just as much traffic as if you had a marketing budget like a large franchise – and you may have saved yourself up to $200,000!!!  Just a thought for the day.  I’d rather be a independent owner with cash then a franchise owner in debt…  I’d also rather open two stores instead of 1 using less expensive equipment and alternative store structure.  Please feel free to comment offering your suggestions or questions.
As always, feel free to email us at info@thefrozenyogurtreview.com
Thanks,
TFYR

Smooch Frozen Yogurt & Mochi – Pearl Street Mall

Smooch Frozen Yogurt & Mochi – 14th Street, Boulder, Colorado –

Smooch Frozen Yogurt

Smooch Frozen Yogurt & Mochi is located in the Pearl Street Mall district of downtown Boulder, Colorado at the corner of 14th Street & Lowry.  It is locally owned and operated and has been serving Boulder since 2008.  Smooch was actually a pioneer of the frozen yogurt and health conscience dessert alternative trend in Boulder, being the first store of its kind in the area.   Smooch is a full service frozen yogurt shop and offers a generous variety of other healthy dessert alternatives.  Menu items include Smooch’s all natural frozen yogurt, Smooch pops and their famous mochi. For those of you unfamiliar with Mochi, it is basically premium ice cream balls held together by a sweet rice confection.   Other menu items include “Snow Ice”, Fro-yo Waffles, coffee, cider and organic teas and soda.

Smooch Goodies

When it comes to the basic frozen yogurt cup or cone, Smooch does not offer a wide assortment of flavors.  I had the choice between all natural tart, chocolate or acai berry.  They also do not offer many options of toppings; however, their toppings are fresh and for the most part local.  Topping choices include ripe raspberries, coconut shaves, blueberries, kiwi, strawberries, chocolate chips, granola and a few other well complementing items.  Frozen yogurt is served via cup or cone and pricing is on a scale of cone, small, medium, large, or 16 oz. A frozen yogurt cone runs between $2.00 and $2.50.  Cups range between $2.50 and $6.50, on the higher end for the 16 oz frozen yogurt. Toppings are priced at $0.95 per topping or unlimited for $1.45.  I did sample all 3 flavors of frozen yogurt and all 3 get 5 out of 5 stars for texture, consistency and flavor.  The original tart is the best tart frozen yogurt blend I’ve had in Boulder.  It is a robust, full-bodied true “yogurt” blend and if you are a fan of original tart, you must go to Smooch.  The chocolate frozen yogurt blend was rich and creamy and it was almost like dipping into a can of whipped chocolate frosting. I chose a small cup of Acai Berry for my full frozen yogurt experience.  I added raspberries and blueberries.  Although I feel their toppings are a bit pricey, they are not stingy.  I got about 4-5 raspberries and a heaping spoonful of blueberries, enough fruit to accompany the majority of my frozen yogurt cup.  The toppings, again, are remarkably fresh and my Acai Berry frozen yogurt concoction gets 5 out of 5 stars as well.

Smooch Topping Bar

Smooch Frozen Yogurt & Mochi, aesthetically speaking, is pretty sweet and very “green”.  Chairs have bamboo backings, the floors are made of eco-friendly materials and waste is distributed amongst trash, compost and recyclables.  Smooch Frozen Yogurt features calm lighting, tranquil colors and textured walls.  The environment overall is very clean and serene.

Smooch Final Froyo

Great yogurt, check!  Great toppings, check!  Just wish there was more to choose from, but what they did have was excellent.    Overall 4 out of 5 stars.

Yogorino, San Francisco, CA

Yogorino, San Francisco, CA

Yogorino San Francisco

Yogorino San Francisco

Fro-yo girl here. I’ve tried hundreds of frozen yogurt shops and Yogorino is certainly different from the rest.

It’s Italian style frozen yogurt from an Italian yogurt company founded in 1994 with stores around the world. The toppings come from Italy. The signature clear blue fro-yo cups and spoons are Italian. The design of the store is Italian. Yes, it screams Italian.

They only have one flavor of frozen yogurt which they claim is the best tasting yogurt in the world. I’ve actually had friends and families exclaim that Yogorino is the best frozen yogurt they’ve ever had. The yogurt is all natural, lowfat, probiotic and made without high fructose corn syrup. The texture and taste are unique. It’s rich, thick, very creamy, and velvety soft. Sweeter than it is tart, it still has a hint of natural yogurt flavor. It reminds me of a soft serve ice cream/frozen yogurt hybrid.

Fro-yo prices: Small ($5)/ Medium ($6)/ Large ($7). The price includes one topping.

Yogorino Frozen yogurtTheir premium toppings include Italian dessert sauces like dark chocolate with hazelnuts, white chocolate, chocolate magic shell, and pistachio is particularly popular, fresh fruit, Italian sprinkles, white and milk chocolate curls, white and milk chocolate pearls, granola, meringues, sour cherries in syrup, etc. They don’t have mochi.

The brand new Fisherman’s Wharf shop is clean, modern and mostly white, with some blue accents and pictures of their frozen yogurt on the wall. There is limited seating but Fisherman’s Wharf is a perfect place to stroll with a cup of fro-yo in hand.

You know you love me. X0 X0, fro-yo girl.

Yogorino Final Product

Rating: 5/5

You know you love me.  X0 X0, fro-yo girl.

For more on all things fro-yo, be sure to visit my blog: http://froyogirl.blogspot.com/

* YOGORINO: 79 Jefferson St., San Francisco, CA 94133

Powder Frozen Yogurt Mix in California

Powder yogurt mix in California

Powder yogurt mix in California

So, we have had a lot of questions regarding using powder mix in California.  There is a lot of confusion of whether it is legal or not to use.   Here is what we have found, please note that we are not attorneys, nor are we experts on the laws in California food and health:

Simple answer – powder yogurt mix is LEGAL to use

Problems have been in the way the product is marketed.  As you may know, pinkberry had some lawsuit years back regarding the method in which they were marketing the frozen yogurt product.  After investigation it seems that there was not enough live cultures or health benifits to be called frozen yogurt.  The problem wasnt that it was illegal to use, but more that it was misleading as far as the potential health benefits and the Plaintiffs basically wanted Pinkberry to come out and say the truth about the product they offered more as a desert then a “frozen yogurt”

According to this article:

http://www.justanswer.com/consumer-protection-law/3zekj-run-self-serve-frozen-yogurt-shop-san-jose-ca-frozen.html

CA state law specifically says that mix can be added to milk if the milk is pasteurized and the labelling requirements are met.

Another article you can get more information on the pinkberry suit and other cases is:

http://www.starling-fitness.com/archives/2007/05/08/is-pinkberry-really-frozen-yogurt/

What we gather is this:  If you are calling your product “frozen yogurt” you should consider using pre-made mix or finding a powder mix supplier and confirming the contents of live cultures and yogurt bacteria.  You should also provide this information to your customers so that they know what they are eating.  Some powder mix providers such as Nancys frozen yogurt mix claim to have live bacteria and yogurt cultures.

Hope this helps.

 

 

Stoelting Soft Serve Machine Review – Stoelting f231

Stoelting F231

Stoelting Soft Serve Machine

Frozen Yogurt Machine

At over $13k per machine, the Stoelting F231 definitely inches toward the top end of the soft serve machines out on the market. Does the production justify the high price? Challenge accepted.

As always, I first evaluate the quality of product. I have worked in a frozen yogurt shop that uses Stoelting frozen yogurt machines. I don’t think we carried the highest quality yogurt as far as taste is concerned. The Stoelting F231 takes on the challenge with ease and finesse. It will transform almost any frozen yogurt mix into a delicately textured frozen treat that is definitely palatable, if not delicious. I give the Stoelting machines definite thumbs up for production quality.

I think the appearance of the Stoelting F231 is either a love it or hate it thing. It has a clear valve body that allows for a clear view of the inner workings of the frozen product. Upon dispensing, you see the product being mixed and dispensed through the valve body in the freezing cylinder. This is uncannily reminiscent of Slurpee machines. I tend to be on the “love it” side of this look. I like the view of the frozen yogurt being churned up in the cylinders as its being dispensed. The panels are stainless steel and the display panel is digital with a black overlay, which is kind of the norm for modern machines these days. It has an unmistakable and unique look as far as frozen yogurt machines go. It is distinct and I think it is pretty cool.

The use of the Stoelting F231 by customers and operators is by far the least convenient, in my experience. On the customer end, it operates just as any other quality machine: the blenders are triggered fairly early on the draw, to control the dispense rate, and the handles spring back. The only downside, which seems minor, but warrants my “least convenient” rating nevertheless, is the deception of the valve body. The valve body is clear plastic, and distorts the opening of the valve. Almost every time I try to get a sample from a Stoelting machine, I end up getting yogurt all over my hands, unless I bend down and look up at the opening to make sure that I am positioning my sample cup properly. The depth perception of the valve opening is distorted because of the nature of the plastic. Like I said, this is a relatively minor thing. But for such a simple concept of a machine (place cup under dispense valve, pull handle) this seems like something that could have been remedied by a better design. Worse, on the operator side, the control settings of the Stoelting F231 are too complicated, service on the machines is not easy to get, and there are so many parts to put back together that cleaning the machine takes way longer than it should. Too many times when I would work with these Stoeltings, they would seize for no apparent reason, and I would sometimes have to wait a day or 2 just to get someone to fix it. This may be a training issue, but that could be resolved from the outset as well. The blender mechanism has so many parts that it sometimes takes up to 45 minutes just to clean the thing.

These are high-capacity, high-output freezing machines! The Stoelting F231 is a dual 12k BTU compressor machine with 2 3-gallon hoppers and 3 liter capacity in each freezing cylinder. Again, this is a machine that would be a bit too much for me if I were running a self-serve frozen yogurt store with multiple machines.  Such a capacity is just unnecessary. Plus they run at the high end of energy draw: 230V. This equates to double the energy consumption of some of the more modest machines.

stoelting f231Don’t get me wrong. This machine is excellent – well built, with output capabilities overshadowing most others.

Cost: 3/5

Quality (look): 5/5

Ease of use: 2/5

Parts: 4/5

Service: 3/5

Upkeep cost: 4/5

Efficiency: 4/5

Overall: 4/5

Yopop Frozen Yogurt, San Jose, CA

Yopop Frozen Yogurt, San Jose, CA

Fro-yo girl here. Yopop Frozen Yogurt is a chain of self-serve frozen yogurt shops operating in five states. It was created after splitting with Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt. The San Jose location of Yopop was formerly an Orange Leaf location.

With 16 self-serve flavors a day and plentiful toppings at 30 cents an ounce, Yopop offers much variety at a low price. The toppings weren’t unusual (cereal, candy, cookies, nuts, chips, cheesecake bites, sprinkles, syrups, popping boba, jellies, mochi, fruit) except for their chocolate coated fresh bananas. They also had cones available. In addition to fro-yo, they sell bottled drinks and coffee.

As for the fro-yo flavors, I spotted indulgent flavors like White Chocolate Macadamia, Red Velvet, Cake Batter Truffle, as well as fruity flavors, a no sugar added flavor and a dairy free flavor. The Coffee Lover fro-yo was icy, smooth and not super sweet, and it had only a hint of coffee flavor. The mildly tangy Blueberry fro-yo was also icy and smooth, with only a little blueberry flavor. The flavors were inoffensive but bland. The classic tart flavor was creamier but tasted rotten and sour.

The predominant color is still orange (as it was in the Orange Leaf days). You can still see leaf cutouts throughout the shop. The furniture hasn’t changed. The place was clean, cute, and cheerful. This location appeals mainly to people with young children. Apart from the new name, it doesn’t seem different from Orange Leaf.

Look for the many promotions they have, including free fro-yo with a purchase of a $25 gift card.  

Rating: 2/5

You know you love me.  X0 X0, fro-yo girl.

For more on all things fro-yo, be sure to visit my blog: http://froyogirl.blogspot.com/

* YOPOP FROZEN YOGURT: 5353 Almaden Expressway #90, San Jose, CA 95118

 

Taylor soft serve machine review – Taylor Crown Series c713

Taylor Crown Series C713

Taylor soft serve machine

Taylor crown series c713

At the high end of high end – running about $15k to $18k for a single machine – do these frozen yogurt machines stand up to the proclamation of “industry leaders” in soft serve equipment? We shall see. I will be reviewing Taylors in general, and Taylor Crown Series C713 in particular, where appropriate.

First and foremost, how does the frozen yogurt taste? I have worked with Taylors in stores, and have also been on the customer side of things, and have mixed reviews about yogurt quality. I have had really poor yogurt from Taylors, and also some of the best yogurt from the Taylor C713. This is both good and bad news for Taylor. Good news is that the bad yogurt I’ve had could just be because of the brand of product that the stores were using, because, like I said, some of the best yogurt I’ve had came from a Taylor. The bad news is that there are many functions and adjustments to the Taylor Crown Series machines, that it is easy for user error to net a poor quality product. I mean, I’m not what you would really call the sharpest light bulb in the oven, but I had to read the manual a few times (yes, I know how to read), before I could even imagine trying to set the C713 properly. I guess with proper training, this would not be a problem – just a little inconvenient for the lazy or slow.

 

The look of the Taylor Crown Series C713 is pretty slick: brushed steel paneling, with black plastic valve housing and display panel, and white lettering. I think they always look pretty good in a self-serve froyo shop wall. Some of the steel paneling is hard to keep clean. I can’t remember if it was the C713 or not, because I think there is a new kind of steel that resists smudges and stuff. Overall, this is probably one of the cooler looking machines I’ve seen.

The use of the Taylor C713 by customers is as easy as can be. The things I consider most important are how smoothly the handles and valves work, and how early in the valve draw the machine is triggered to dispense product. I am happy to report that all the handles and valves I have tried of the Taylor Crown Series machines (provided they were properly lubricated) were as smooth as sweet cream butter. Moreover, the motors that dispense the frozen yogurt were triggered almost immediately. That means that you can control how fast the yogurt comes out by opening the valve slowly. This is a huge plus from a customer perspective, especially when taking samples. You want the dispense speed to be very easy to control, so that your customers don’t end up with yogurt all over their hands, and you don’t end up with gallons of ice cream wasted all over the drip trays. Another bonus with these machines is that the handles return to the closed position automatically, with a spring-back system. This also helps prevent the aforementioned predicaments. Not all frozen yogurt machines feature this.

A little bit about the specs. The hoppers of the Taylor Crown Series C713 are huge: 20 quarts each (there are two per machine). And the freezing cylinders are 3.4 quarts each. These large capacities combined with dual 9,500 BTU compressors make for a huge output capacity machine. The hot (or cool) new thing these days is that the hoppers come with a refrigeration feature, to keep the product at a safe temperature.

The other things we should talk about is cost of parts, maintnence, and overall distribution and service of the Taylor soft serve machines in the United States market.  Ovbiously, Taylor has been around and reputable for a long time, so what does this mean for service. The good thing is they have a lot of offices and factory trained technicians.  The bad news is, they always want you to use their service guys.  This means if your store is 3 hours away from the office you sometimes have to wait a week or so for them to come up, and if they do not have the part in the truck you are looking at another week for them to come back up.  This can be a problem.  As far as sales and distribution, it looks like from the website that they have a supplier in each of the mainland states.  This, along with the fact that most people use taylor allows for very easy access to test the machines out if you are a potential buyer.  Parts can be expensive, especially on the used machines.  We spoke with a gentleman from partex who sells old Taylor and rebuilds them.  We asked about a problem we have seen many times – corrosion around the freezing cylinders and then leakage of coolant either to bottom of machine or into the cylinder itself.  This is a $3,000 minimum fix (at lowest) per machine.  He said “its not IF it happens, it’s WHEN it happens”.

All in all these are excellent machines. Once the operator gets the settings dialed in (and gets the right product in the machine, of course) these machines will produce very high quality yogurt. One thing to consider when looking to purchase a frozen yogurt or soft serve ice cream machine is the capacity. The Taylor Crown Series C713 has a huge capacity. But think about it: do you really need such a high capacity when you’re running 6-8 machines at the same time? This is why I consider the price too high for a self-serve froyo shop. If I had cash to open up a self-serve frozen yogurt shop, I would try to save money on the machines, and buy machines with a little lower capacity. If I get quality product, it’s worth it to me to sacrifice a little appearance and brand name to save $40-80k in startup costs. Nevertheless, I believe these machines live up to their reputation.

Cost: 2/5

Quality: 5/5

Ease of use: 5/5

Parts: 4/5

Service: 3/5

Upkeep cost: 3/5

Efficiency: 2/5

Overall: 4/5

Frozen Yogurt Mix Review – The Honey Hill Farms

Frozen Yogurt Mix Review – The Honey Hill Farms

The honey hill farms are a national supplier of frozen yogurt mix products.  They are based out of Arkansas and have been serving up tasty froyo for over 30 years.

Here’s what we like most – great tasting frozen yogurt and many great flavors!  The flavor, quality and consistency of The Honey Hill Farms make them our favorite in national wholesalers.  They work with companies such as Sysco to offer easy and affordable distribution throughout the US.  The Honey Hill Farms offer a wide variety of great tasting year round flavors in low-fat, non-fat, no-sugar, and NSA (no sugar added) as well as sorbets and seasonal frozen yogurt flavors.  Many of the mixes are also gluten free, which is increasingly popular.  All of the frozen yogurt mix they sell are certified to have live cultures, which is really the important health benefit to frozen yogurt.   They even seem to use real pieces of the flavor of mix, for example the Strawberry Sensation we sampled had real strawberry seeds, the dreamy dark chocolate (non-fat and hard to believe) is amazing and three kinds of real cocoa, giving it an amazingly smooth, rich, and flavorful chocolate taste.

Another thing we like about The Honey Hill Farms is that it doesn’t seem that they make flavors and sell them just to add more variety.  The flavors they release are all generally great, if it’s your flavor.  Some companies produce tons of flavors, but you can only find a small selection that is worth eating.  There is not point to have bad yogurt in your store just because you want to boast “more flavors” then the competition – people will actually notice.   Another nice detail that store owners have shared with us is they sell their yogurt in a plastic container, similar to a milk gallon.  This is nice because if the product expands due to freezing or elevation it is not likely to break and leak like a paper carton would.

Also, they offer a “Yogologist” program where you can go to the plant, try the product, samples machines, and get tons of great information to help get started with your own store or business.

Taste: 5/5

Texture: 5/5

Variety: 5/5

Distribution: 4/5 (not easily available in every state)

Quality: 4.5/5

 

All in all, The Honey Hill Farms gets a 5/5 rating from us.   Stay tuned for reviews of other product suppliers such as YoCream, Nancy’s Frozen Yogurt, Yoki Bliss, Dryers, and PreGel America mix.

Please comment with questions or if you would like more information on any particular product.

J