Chill Out Frozen Yogurt & Paninis, Port Hueneme, CA

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Front View of Chill Out Frozen Yogurt

Fro-yo girl here. Chill Out doesn’t feel like your typical frozen yogurt shop. While the fro-yo and toppings are not innovative or different, it feels as much like a sandwich shop as it does a frozen yogurt store. Chill Out’s look and feel (relaxed, minimal décor, beach inspired) blends in well with the Port Hueneme area.  Some of the paninis and frozen yogurt flavors are named after local spots.

 

The 6 self-serve fro-yo flavors a day and toppings are 43 cents an ounce. The sample cups are on the right by the fro-yo cups. Some of the cups have waffle bowls placed inside.

 

The fro-yo that I tried reminded me more of sweet soft serve ice cream than frozen yogurt. The Very Vanilla flavor was very sweet, creamy and mild. The Raspberry Pomegranate sorbet was very sweet and didn’t taste natural. Peanut Butter Cup was a better choice.

Were all the magic happens, meet the Frozen Yogurt Machine.

Were all the magic happens, meet the Frozen Yogurt Machine.

They didn’t have a tart fro-yo flavor that day but they have carried it in the past according to their Facebook page. Check out their Facebook page for the current flavors.

 

The paninis menu looked interesting. Most paninis are $6.48. They had some creative kinds like breakfast paninis and dessert paninis. They also have smoothies, frappes and soup.

 

 

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/

* CHILL OUT FROZEN YOGURT AND PANINIS: 417 East Port Hueneme Road, Port Hueneme, CA 93041

Sweet Express, San Jose, CA

 

Welcome to Sweet Express Ice Cream and Yogurt

Welcome to Sweet Express Ice Cream and Yogurt

Fro-yo girl here. Sweet Express opened last month in downtown San Jose. The shop has a lot more than frozen yogurt. The menu includes ice cream (scoopable and soft serve), smoothies, milkshakes, floats, fruit slushes, sundaes, chocolate covered bananas and sweet and savory Mexican treats (bionicos, nachos, cholados, tostilocos, escamocha, etc.)

 

The frozen yogurt is a made to order, mix in style similar to Yogen Fruz. You choose the cup size (or waffle cone) and two types of frozen fruit. The fruit and a tart vanilla frozen yogurt are blended together in a machine. They had many varieties of frozen fruit, including guava, papaya, pineapple, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, bananas, cantaloupe, peaches, etc. You can opt for additional toppings like candy, nuts, coconut, and fruit. I didn’t see any mochi. They didn’t many toppings to choose from.

Delicious Fro Yo!

Delicious Fro Yo!

 

Frozen yogurt prices: Small $3.99/ Medium $4.99/ Large $5.99/ Waffle cone $3.99

 

A real inside look at Sweet Express Frozen Yogurt!

A real inside look at Sweet Express Frozen Yogurt!

I think choosing berries is a safe bet though the resulting frozen yogurt will have berry seeds and skin. I don’t mind the added texture. My small cup of raspberry-blackberry frozen yogurt was quite large. The frozen yogurt is very creamy, thick, dense, tart and a bit sour. I think the tart vanilla base flavor works well with berries. They put quite a bit of fruit in there, so the berry flavor is quite strong. It’s quite different than the usual soft serve frozen yogurt, heavier with more texture.

 

The shop is painted in bright colors and decorated simply. There are a few small tables inside and colorful stools.

 

Cash only.

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/

* SWEET EXPRESS: 231 E. Santa Clara St., San Jose, CA 95112

Fed by the Golden Spoon

Fro-yo girl here. Time for another frozen yogurt franchise report. I’m reporting on places that I’ve had personal experience with because I think it’s important to experience the frozen yogurt and store atmosphere firsthand. I’ve visited several Golden Spoon Frozen Yogurt locations in California. It’s an old brand, over 30 years old, that’s in the middle of rebranding and switching to a self-serve format.

Golden Spoon Frozen Yogurt Menu

Golden Spoon Frozen Yogurt Menu

Overview: The Golden Spoon brand name was founded in 1983 though the first store was opened in Tustin, CA (Orange County) back in 1981 under the name of Yogurt & Things. Golden Spoon was slower to grow than other chains like TCBY during the first wave of frozen yogurt in the late 1980’s/early 1990’s. They claimed that they were focused on product innovation and developing new flavors.

Golden Spoon is still based in Southern California, where it produces its proprietary frozen yogurt. Their frozen yogurt has been called “The Ice Cream Lover’s Frozen Yogurt.” It is positioned as an indulgent treat that’s healthier than ice cream. The chain currently has over 125 locations in the US (West) and Asia.

Shops sell frozen yogurt only. Back in 2012, they launched a new more modern looking website, new look and new self-serve format. They adopted a new pricing model of weightless pricing. Customers who like to be served can ask an employee for full service swirling.

Picture of some yummy Fro-Yo toppings!

I wasn’t able to find information on training for Golden Spoon franchise owners. I’d be a little worried as a potential owner based on the lack of information on support and training but maybe it is provided by Golden Spoon once contact with a qualified potential owner is made.

Yogurt: Golden Spoon offers about 50 proprietary flavors. Only one of these is labeled tart (Simply Tart) on their website. The flavors aren’t particularly creative but they’re what you’d expect to find at a frozen yogurt shop.

Based on their positioning as the frozen yogurt for ice cream lovers, I was expecting a richer frozen yogurt. I’ve tried a few flavors that were super sweet, like Cinnamon and Double Vanilla. The texture wasn’t as thick as I expected. I was definitely disappointed in the vanilla flavor, which wasn’t as flavorful as I had hoped. The Simply Tart flavor was just bland and much worse than the average plain/original tart flavor you can get at your average frozen yogurt shop.

The toppings are bountiful though typical. They do have mochi and fresh fruit.

Marketing: I haven’t seen one of the remodeled shops. The shops I’ve been to have been clean but boring looking, reminiscent of a family friendly ice cream parlor with white and red tiles, black tables and black chairs.

The marketing prior to the relaunch in 2012 also seemed old-fashioned and family friendly.  The new website does look more modern but I haven’t seen much Golden Spoon marketing beyond the new website. I don’t live close to a Golden Spoon location since the ones in my area closed.

Outlook: I don’t think the relaunch and new look will turn things around for Golden Spoon. It’s too little too late. The frozen yogurt is not as good as they make it sound and a new look won’t change that. They may have loyal customers but that group is unlikely to grow much larger. They haven’t done enough to make the brand seem exciting or interesting.

The Basics:

  • Total investment needed to open: $275,000 – $425,000
  • Franchise fee: $35,000
  • Royalty: 6%
  • Financial requirements: I didn’t see this listed but you must commit to building at least three stores

Grade: C-

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/

 

CANTALOOP FROZEN YOGURT

Front Glimpse of Cantaloop

Front Glimpse of Cantaloop

This seems to be the last of the Cantaloop locations…and it was also the first of their locations, opening back in April 2007.

Cantaloop has reinvented itself multiple times including switching to a self-serve format. At one time there were four other independently owned locations in Southern California: Downtown LA, Santa Ana, Culver City and Pasadena. Over the years the menu continued to expand and the focus no longer feels like it is on frozen yogurt. It sounds like the frozen yogurt used to be better years ago.

Front View of FroYo Machine

Front View of FroYo Machine

The menu includes coffee, boba tea, shaved ice, iced tea, smoothies, slushies and ice blended drinks. There are eight flavors of self-serve fro-yo a day with syrups, fruit, popping boba, cookie dough, and 18 dry toppings (chocolate chips, mochi, nuts, candy, cookies, coconut, cereal) for 44 cents an ounce. The self-serve shaved ice is 25 cents an ounce. The price of the fro-yo is too high because the fro-yo did not seem fresh and the texture was off.

  Ask for sample cups at the register. Fro-yo flavors included included two tart flavors, one no sugar added, and one sorbet. The original tart was too icy. The flavor tasted unpleasantly sour and a bit lemony. The pomegranate tart tasted quite similar to the original tart and had a subtle (too subtle) pomegranate flavor. The low fat peanut butter was a better choice, rich and creamy with a pronounced peanut flavor.

 The shop is small with no indoor seating. However, Cantaloop has a lovely covered outdoor patio. It’s relaxing to sit out there and they even have some fashion magazines. They offer free wi-fi and even have free parking. You can earn a discount with FiveStars and they also give locals 10% off.

Inside look at Cantaloop

Inside look at Cantaloop

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/

* CANTALOOP FROZEN YOGURT: 7095 Hollywood Blvd., Suite 106, Los Angeles, CA 90028