Yogurt Deluxe, Castro Valley, CA

Yogurt Deluxe, Self-Serve Frozen Yogurt

Yogurt Deluxe, Self-Serve Frozen Yogurt

Fro-yo girl here. The golden spoons are gone but Yogurt Deluxe still looks like a Golden Spoon location. The interior has not been remodeled since the shop changed ownership. The décor (white and red square tiles), menu board, and the furniture (black tables and chairs) remain the same. The fro-yo has changed.

 

Yogurt Deluxe has three locations in the Bay Area. It feels like an old school fro-yo shop, even though this location is new. The décor is minimal and the only attempt at being cute is the mascot, a bear holding a fro-yo cone. They still use Styrofoam cups.

Dry Toppings Bar, Store Front

Dry Toppings Bar, Store Front

This location offers 12 flavors of fro-yo a day, sundaes, banana splits and shakes. It isn’t self serve. I think they try to offer 1 low-carb Carb d’lite flavor a day and one sorbet.

 

Fro-yo prices: Child ($2.25)/ Small ($3.25)/ Medium($3.75)/ Large ($4.50)/ Quart ($7.25)

 

The toppings include mochi, nuts, candy, cereal, syrups, fresh fruit, cookies, chips, sprinkles, cookie dough, cheesecake bits, etc. I was happy to see Almond Roca and frosted Circus Animal cookies. They had a few sugar free toppings.

 

FroYo Seating Area, Yogurt Deluxe

FroYo Seating Area, Yogurt Deluxe

The original tart had a heavy cream taste that I didn’t like, so I selected the French vanilla fro-yo. The French vanilla yogurt was extremely creamy, smooth, and rich. I thought it was soft serve ice cream but I’m told it was fro-yo. I like that eggy French vanilla flavor. The portion was average but I normally hope for more generous portions at old school fro-yo shops. They were generous with toppings (2 scoops for 85 cents).

 

The frequent buyer card works for all three locations.

 

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/

* YOGURT DELUXE: 4065 E Castro Valley Blvd., Castro Valley, CA 94552

Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt Franchise

Menchie's Self-Serve Frozen Yogurt Franchise

Menchie’s Self-Serve Frozen Yogurt Franchise

Fro-yo girl here. It’s time to talk frozen yogurt franchises again and here’s my unbiased opinion of Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt.

Overview: Menchie’s started with one self-serve shop in Southern California in 2007, started franchising in 2008, and currently has 235 locations worldwide, with many more in the development phase. Menchie’s was founded by Adam and Danna Caldwell. The name comes from Adam’s nickname for Danna. Cute, isn’t it?

New owners spend one week training at corporate HQ, followed by four days of in-store training. Franchisees must follow various rules, including carrying particular flavors of frozen yogurt. Stores have a consistent look and feel.

Frozen Yogurt Bar

Frozen Yogurt Bar

Yogurt: Menchie’s has their own private label frozen yogurt with over 100 flavors. Their frozen yogurt is kosher. They offer many varieties including fat free, lowfat, sorbets, no sugar added, gluten free, vegan, low carb, etc. New flavors are regularly introduced. The toppings they offer are standard.

Their sweet frozen yogurt flavors are better than their tart flavors but even those sweet flavors are average. The yogurt is more ice cream like than others. I’ve found several of their flavors to be quite bland (e.g., cookies n’ cream) and some to be unpleasant (e.g., strawberry tart, toffee nut). The texture tends to be lighter and the yogurt melts quickly.

Menchie's Dry-Toppings Bar

Menchie’s Dry-Toppings Bar

Marketing: Their mission is to make every customer smile. The marketing is super cute and clearly targeted at families with young children. The shops are fun, friendly and cheerful. They’re filled with cute signs of Menchie’s and his Sweet Friends. They are interactive elements like the chalkboard area where kids can doodle. Kids get free temporary tattoos and stickers. Many of the promotions are aimed at young kids.

Menchie’s sells logo merchandise, including apparel, toys, plush dolls, lip balm, jewelry and more. The rewards program, My Smileage, allows customers to earn points at any participating Menchie’s location.

I do love their branded frozen yogurt cups and character spoons. I’m not sure if they’re enough to motivate a return visit but they do make me smile.

Outlook: They have a clearly defined target market, a distinct image, and could do well in the right areas, those with affluent young families. The price tends to be higher than average while the yogurt does not impress, so they’re vulnerable to lower priced competitors.

Menchie’s was ranked #9 on the top new franchises in 2012 list by Forbes and the average unit volume sales is over $600,000.

The Basics:

  • Total investment needed to open: $350,000 – $380,000
  • Franchise fee: $40,000
  • Royalty: 6%
  • Financial requirements: Net worth of $500,000 and liquid assets of $120,000

Grade: B

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 Frozen Yogurt Franchise

Tutti Frutti Self-Serve Frozen Yogurt Franchise

Tutti Frutti Self-Serve Frozen Yogurt Franchise

Fro-yo girl here. With hundreds of fro-yo shop visits under my belt, I’m ready to offer an unbiased look at frozen yogurt franchise opportunities.

Overview: Tutti Frutti is fast approaching 600 locations worldwide and it calls itself the world’s largest self-serve frozen yogurt franchise. It differs from other frozen yogurt franchisors in several respects: it’s vertically integrated with lower initial costs and lower capital requirements. Rather than the traditional franchise model, TF operates as a licensee/licensor model.

They allow owner-operators the most flexibility. I’ve seen shops carry other items like sushi, Vietnamese sandwiches and boba drinks. Tutti Frutti also launched another concept, O’My Buns, which offers freshly baked roti buns.

I’ve noticed greater variability in frozen yogurt texture across different shops than is typical for franchises. This may be an indication of less oversight and/or lack of training of store operators.

Yogurt: They’ve developed over 50 proprietary flavors, including several soy bean frozen yogurt flavors. Some of the flavors are quite good, including TF tart and Yacoo (a tart Yakult inspired flavor). However, the fruit flavors don’t taste natural and the soy ones are too icy and weakly flavored. Overall, the fro-yo is average and not particularly innovative (though they get bonus points for the attempt to popularize soy bean frozen yogurt). Prices are lower or average.

Marketing: The marketing feels scattered and social media efforts have dwindled. The corporate Twitter account hasn’t tweeted since late October 2012 and the corporate Facebook account also hasn’t been updated since then. The last entry on the corporate blog was May 2010. The website and materials are decent but not as polished as the competition.

The shops lack sophistication or a distinctive personality. They’re cheerful with bright colors and plenty of pictures of fresh fruit. The cups and new fruit spoons are cute enough but feel more like an attempt to imitate other fro-yo shops rather than an innovative move by Tutti Frutti.

Some locations offer frequent buyer cards but they’re good only at the issuing location.

Outlook: Growth has been rapid thanks to the low startup and overhead costs. Shops tend to stay open as well. A franchise for sale in Anaheim claims to have annual revenues of $170,556. This is quite low compared to other franchises. Due to the lack of marketing support and average quality product, Tutti Frutti warrants grade of B- on the franchise attractiveness scale.

The Basics:

  • Total investment needed to open: $180,000 – $300,000
  • Franchise fee: $25,000
  • Royalty: 0%
  • Financial requirements: $150,000 in cash and liquid assets

Grade: B-

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/

Golden Spoon Frozen Yogurt, Valencia, CA

Golden Spoon Frozen Yogurt Shop, Valencia CA

Golden Spoon Frozen Yogurt Shop, Valencia CA

Fro-yo girl here. Golden Spoon, a California chain that’s almost 30 years old, is still serving things up old school style at its Valencia location. While Golden Spoon announced it would convert existing locations to a self-serve format, the Valencia location is still full service only. Pick a size, flavor and toppings and the employee makes the fro-yo creation for you. Each creation is served with a golden colored spoon.

 

Fro-yo prices: Mini ($2.45)/ Regular ($3.75)/ Large ($3.95)/ Quart ($7.25)

 

The interior of the shop reminds me of an old fashioned ice cream parlor. The décor is simple with white and red tiles and black tables. Golden Spoon develops their own fro-yo flavors and has about 80 flavors. Most flavors are non-fat and sweet. The Valencia shop carries 8 rotating flavors a day.

 

FroYo Store Front and Seating area

FroYo Store Front and Seating area

The toppings are what you’d find at many fro-yo shops. They have fresh fruit, mochi, candy, nuts, graham cracker crust, whipped cream, chips, sprinkles, sauces, brownies, cookie dough and cheesecake bites. You can get cake and waffle cones.

 

Some old school frozen yogurt places are extremely generous with their fro-yo portion sizes. Golden Spoon is not one of those places though they were generous with toppings. When you get a regular size cup of fro-yo, you can have three spoonfuls of any of their toppings (you can choose up to three different toppings) for 95 cents.

 

Golden Spoon claims their fro-yo is richer and thicker, making it the fro-yo of choice for ice cream lovers. I haven’t found their fro-yo to be that rich or thick. It tends to be softer and not as thick as the yogurt at other places. Their Double Vanilla fro-yo was extremely sweet. The Simply Tart fro-yo does not have a pleasant taste. It is mildly tart. The coffee fro-yo wasn’t bad but not as rich or thick as I had hoped. I did like how it wasn’t super sweet.

 

Taylor Soft-Serve Frozen Yogurt Machine

Taylor Soft-Serve Frozen Yogurt Machine

The frequent buyer card allows you to earn a free fro-yo after purchasing 8 cups of fro-yo.

 

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

 

Rating: 3/5

 

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/

* GOLDEN SPOON FROZEN YOGURT: 24317 Magic Mountain Pkwy., Valencia, CA 91355