Almaden Yogurt Factory

 

Store Front, Almaden Yogurt Factory

Store Front, Almaden Yogurt Factory

Fro-yo girl here. The factory part of the name suits this new self-serve frozen shop, which replaced Swirls Frozen Yogurt (a full service frozen yogurt shop) and opened in February 2013. There’s something mass-produced about the look and feel of the shop. It isn’t bad but it does feel safe and formulaic.

Like a typical frozen yogurt shop, Almaden Yogurt Factory has pictures of fruit on the wall, modern looking white pendant lights, and bright walls. The small green tiles on the wall where the frozen yogurt machines are remind me of Yogurtland. It’s a smaller shop located in a strip mall. It’s in a residential area and seems popular with teenagers. There are a few small tables inside and two tables outside. They may offer free wi-fi though I don’t recall seeing a sign.

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Front View of the FroYo Machines

They offer 10 self-serve fro-yo flavors a day and the usual toppings (cereal, candy, nuts, mochi, fruit, popping boba, sprinkles, syrup, cheesecake, chocolate chips, jellies) for 36 cents an ounce. If interested, ask for whipped cream. The fruit (pineapples, strawberries) that I tried was under ripe and very sour.

The flavors they had were pretty typical (fruit flavors, one tart flavor, the classics: chocolate, vanilla, cookies n’ cream, cake flavors). There was one sorbet. All the flavors were non-fat. They didn’t have a no sugar added option on the day I went. There are sample cups by the register.

The cookies n’ cream and vanilla fro-yo flavors were both quite good: creamy, thick, smooth. Cookies n’ cream fro-yo tasted like Oreo cookies. The vanilla fro-yo was dense and thick like vanilla frozen custard. The original tart was good too – not too lemony, refreshing, not too icy, sweet aftertaste, but the texture was a little off, not the smoothest and too cold.

Inside Look at Almaden Yogurt Factory

Inside Look at Almaden Yogurt Factory

Cash only for now but they plan on accepting credit cards in the future.

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/

* ALMADEN YOGURT FACTORY: 6081 Meridian Ave., Suite 20, San Jose, 95120

Yogurtland Franchise

Self Serve Frozen Yogurt Franchise

Self Serve Frozen Yogurt Franchise

Fro-yo girl here. I’m back with another frozen yogurt franchise report. Here’s my unbiased opinion of Yogurtland. While it isn’t the largest self-serve frozen yogurt chain out there, it is superior in many ways.

Overview: Founder Phillip Chang started a successful boba drinks franchise, Boba Loca, prior to founding Yogurtland. Yogurtland opened its first shop in Fullerton, CA back in 2006 and began offering franchises in 2007. It currently has about 200 locations, mostly in the US. Shops have a consistent look and feel and sell frozen yogurt only.

New owners receive 5 days of training typically at Yogurtland headquarters or a corporate store, 5 days of on-site training during the store’s grand opening, and ongoing support.

Yogurt: I’m amazed by the number and the originality of some of the proprietary frozen flavors that Yogurtland offers. Their chief flavorologist has created new flavors like Blue Lychee Bliss Tart, Black Forest Cake, Guava Grapefruit Sorbet, Oatmeal Cookies, yummy flavors that you can’t find anywhere else. They introduce more new flavors than any other frozen yogurt store. The flavors are generally very good, particularly the flavors that are made with real cookie bits. Cookie bits in a yogurt mix are rarely seen outside of Yogurtland. Their plain tart flavor is excellent and usually has a wonderful, smooth, creamy, firm texture.

A typical Yogurtland store carries 16 flavors of frozen yogurt a day. The number of flavors offers something that should appeal to almost everyone. In addition to regular frozen yogurt flavors, they offer no sugar added flavors and sorbets. The first Yogurtland sorbet was introduced last year and has been very well received. They also introduced their first Greek frozen yogurt flavor late last year. The toppings bar is always well stocked with fresh fruit and plenty of other toppings selections.

Soft Serve FroYo

Soft Serve FroYo

Marketing: I’m a huge fan of Yogurtland events and collaborations. The events are usually on a grand scale and very engaging. For example, last year they celebrated National Frozen Yogurt Day by giving away free cups of fro-yo and repeated that event this year. The spoon and cup design collaborations with Sanrio (Hello Kitty) and Tokidoki have been adorable and very appealing, particularly for young women and girls. They recently launched the Flavor Quest, a 3 month long promotion involving 10 new globally inspired flavors, videos of the chief flavorologist’s travels and a new smartphone app.

The marketing isn’t kid or family focused but instead they focus on the frozen yogurt flavor and use of real ingredients. Stores are frequented mainly by teens and young adults and are often found near colleges or high traffic shopping areas.

Outlook: Yogurtland produces its own yogurt at a considerably lower cost than what an independent or smaller frozen yogurt player pays for frozen yogurt mix. Their frozen yogurt is consistently very good and the flavor variety is unmatched by the competition. Also, Yogurtland’s price point is usually lower than average, while the quality is higher than average. That sounds like a winning formula to me.

Entrepreneur ranked Yogurtland #3 on its list of best new franchises in 2012, and locations have an average unit volume greater than $782,000.

The Basics:

  • Total investment needed to open: $352,600 – $695,000
  • Franchise fee: $35,000
  • Royalty: 6%
  • Financial requirements: Net worth of $700,000 and liquid assets of $200,000

Grade: A

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/

Tangelo Frozen Yogurt, Moraga, CA

Tangelo Self-Serve Frozen Yogurt Store

Tangelo Self-Serve Frozen Yogurt Store

Fro-yo girl here. Every nice suburban city should have a fro-yo shop like Tangelo Frozen Yogurt. It’s a clean, cheerful place where the community gathers over cups of frozen yogurt. The shop, including fro-yo and toppings, were well maintained. I’d sum it up as fresh, clean, friendly with great fro-yo texture. The fro-yo flavors and toppings are not unusual. I’d call them classic.

 

Tangelo lets you create your own fro-yo masterpiece, offering 10 self-serve fro-yo flavors and an average amount of toppings (syrups, sprinkles, cookies, chips, cookie dough, cheesecake, candy, nuts, popping boba, mochi, whipped cream, fresh fruit) for 45 cents an ounce. The fruit toppings are kept chilled and the dry toppings are wall mounted with twist and turn knobs.

 

Self-Serve FroYo Machine

Self-Serve FroYo Machine

They had a no sugar added fro-yo flavor, 2 sorbets, 1 tart, chocolate, vanilla, cookies n’ cream, cake batter, etc. Ask for sample cups at the counter. I liked the thick, smooth, creamy, not too airy, texture of all the fro-yo that I tried though I found the cake batter flavor to be too sweet, the cookies n’ cream lacking in cookie flavor and the tart to be too sweet. Tangelo tart is a plain/original tart flavor.

 

You’re likely to spot little kids at the shop. They seem to like to hang out outside. Take your fro-yo to go to avoid paying sales tax. It’s a nice spot to sit outside with your cup of fro-yo.

 

FroYo Front of Store

FroYo Front of Store

While the price is higher than average, it’s justified because Moraga is an upscale suburban community. The shop is not close to any freeway, so it takes awhile to get to but it’s worth a detour if you have a fro-yo craving.

 

Rating: 4/5

 

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/

* TANGELO FROZEN YOGURT: 384 Park St., Moraga, CA 94556

True Bliss Yogurt, San Jose, CA

photo (6)Fro-yo girl here.  While True Bliss looks like it’s a part of Burger King (they share a space), True Bliss is a separate business run by a friendly family. The owner is very patient about explaining new flavors and encourages sampling.

 

True Bliss offers 12 self-serve fro-yo (well mostly fro-yo, they had one sorbet and one frozen custard soft serve) flavors and the usual toppings (fruit, mochi, syrups, jellies, candy, cookies, nuts, cereal, cheesecake bits, sprinkles) for 43 cents an ounce.  There was a space in the wall for another frozen yogurt machine so they could easily offer 14 flavors a day if they decide to offer more flavors. The fro-yo comes from multiple companies.

 

Self-Serve Dry Toppings Bar

Self-Serve Dry Toppings Bar

The fro-yo comes out of the machine really fast and is lighter in texture than usual. The shop is simply decorated, rather no frills in appearance. The cups are plain. In addition to fro-yo, they have freshly baked Otis Spunkmeyer cookies, churros and Peet’s Coffee.

 

I tried all three tart frozen yogurt flavors: blueberry acai, mango and Italian tart. The Italian tart was the tartest of the three and also my favorite. The mango and blueberry acai weren’t tart enough for me but they were pleasantly fruity. All three flavors had a creamy, smooth and light texture.

 

Self-Serve Frozen Yogurt Machines

Self-Serve Frozen Yogurt Machines

I think 43 cents is a bit higher than it should be given the location (i.e., proximity to Yogurtland). It feels like a no frills place but the price is higher than average.

 

Check their Facebook page for promotions and fro-yo flavors.

 

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

 

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/

* TRUE BLISS YOGURT N’TREATS: 385 S. Kiely Blvd. Suite #20, San Jose, CA 95129

Next Door Sweets, San Francisco, CA

Next Door Sweets, Dessert Bar & Froyo Shop

Next Door Sweets, Dessert Bar & Froyo Shop

Fro-yo girl here. San Tung Restaurant, the ridiculously popular Chinese restaurant, opened Next Door Sweets right next door in late 2011. Next Door Sweets was originally focused on desserts, offering a case of Gelateria Naia (22 flavors of gelato and sorbetto), 4 flavors of self-serve fro-yo, cakes, cupcakes and cookies from Ultimate Cookie, Capricorn coffee, tea and boba drinks. The coffee is decent and the gelato is very good.

 

They now offer the full San Tung menu, so the café has evolved into an extended part of San Tung. It used to be easy to find a seat but that’s no longer the case. Most people who were there ordered San Tung’s famous dry-fried chicken wings.

 

The fro-yo and toppings are 43 cents an ounce. The toppings bar is small and includes syrups, cereal, cookies, candy, and nuts. If you want fresh fruit and mochi, ask for it at the counter (they’re kept in the fridge). The fruit, especially chopped strawberries, did not look fresh.

 

Self-Serve Dry Toppings Bar for Frozen Yogurt

Self-Serve Dry Toppings Bar for Frozen Yogurt

There weren’t many toppings to add to your fro-yo (9 dry toppings – sprinkles, nuts, candy, cookies, cereal) and syrups. I didn’t see any fresh fruit or mochi (for fro-yo). Ask for sample cups for fro-yo at the register.

 

The frozen yogurt was a fail. The strawberry fro-yo was way too soft. The Original Tart tasted very lemony and did not seem fresh. The texture wasn’t too icy but it melted quickly. The fruit wasn’t fresh. The mini chocolate chips tasted funny.

 

The café has interesting ceilings with cutouts and different colored lights. The rest of the cafe is decorated simply with inexpensive furniture. It will likely remain a popular place because of the San Tung menu, not because of the frozen yogurt.

 

Taylor Self-Serve Frozen Yogurt Machines

Taylor Self-Serve Frozen Yogurt Machines

Next Door Sweets doesn’t open till noon and is closed on Tuesdays.

 

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/

* NEXT DOOR SWEETS: 1033 Irving St., San Francisco, CA 94122