Dreyer’s Ice Cream, Newark, CA

Fro-yo girl here. Dreyer’s Ice Cream is a local brand founded in 1928 with its first plant in

Dreyer's Topping Bar

Dreyer’s Topping Bar

 

Oakland, CA. Dreyer’s invented Rocky Road and Toasted Almond ice cream. Dreyer’s also has a chain of ice cream parlors, including a new location at New Park Mall in Newark, CA. And yes, they offer their own brand of soft serve frozen yogurt.

Dreyer’s Ice Cream in Newark is located in the mall food court. The emphasis is clearly on ice cream, with 2 dozen flavors of Dreyer’s available. The menu also includes fruit smoothies, boba drinks, milkshakes, ICEEs, and two flavors of soft serve frozen yogurt.

During my visit, I noticed they had two frozen yogurt machines with the ability to offer four flavors of frozen yogurt, but they only had two flavors available: vanilla and chocolate. I’ve tried their tart soft serve frozen yogurt and the classic, non-tart flavors are definitely better.

"over the counter" look at the fro-yo machine

An “over the counter” look at the fro-yo machine!

Frozen yogurt prices: Small or cone ($2.95)/Medium ($3.50)/Large ($4.50). For toppings, they had cereal, nuts, coconut, candy, sprinkles, cookies and chocolate chips. I did not see fresh fruit or mochi.

The vanilla and chocolate flavors were mild, quite sweet, smooth and creamy. They were a bit soft and too airy, so I felt like I had to eat the frozen yogurt quickly. The yogurt flavor is mild to the point of being somewhat bland but inoffensive. They did a nice job swirling my frozen yogurt cone and it’s available dipped in chocolate.

Rating: 2.5/5

 

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/

* DREYER’S ICE CREAM: 2086 Newpark Mall, 2nd Floor, Newark, CA 94506

Coffee Cultures, San Francisco, CA

 

The store front of Coffee Cultures

The store front of Coffee Cultures

Fro-yo girl here. San Francisco has been seeing a surge of new artisanal/upscale coffeehouses lately, indicating that the coffee culture is growing and getting stronger. Enter Coffee Cultures, the new coffee/frozen yogurt shop in the FiDi.

 

Coffee and cultures refer to their roaster, Counter Culture Coffee, and to the live and active cultures in their frozen yogurt. The emphasis is on sustainability and local artisanal food. The organic frozen yogurt base is from Straus Family Creamery of Petaluma, CA. Coffee Cultures developed their own chocolate frozen yogurt flavor and plans to develop more flavors and toppings in the future.

 

 

For now the two frozen yogurt flavors are plain and chocolate. The frozen yogurt comes in one size ($4) and is served in a paper coffee cup. I liked how both flavors tasted clean, natural, and lightly sweetened. The chocolate flavor tastes much better than the usual sugary chocolate frozen yogurt. Toppings include fresh fruit, dried fruit, nuts, candy and cereal. I really liked their housemade vanilla cardamom syrup drizzled atop my frozen yogurt.

Testing the Fro-yo!

Testing the Fro-yo!

 

 

The interior is dark and stylish and they even play good music. While it was tempting to linger, there wasn’t any seating inside.

 

 

In addition to frozen yogurt, they have coffee (of course – the coffee is very good), pastries, salads, sandwiches and bottled beverages. You can also buy CC coffee beans, mugs, t-shirts and thermoses. They have a frequent “flyer” card for coffee.

 

 

Coffee Cultures Merchandise section!

Coffee Cultures Merchandise section!

Rating: 4.5/5

 

 

 

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/

 

* COFFEE CULTURES: 225 Bush St., San Francisco, CA 94104

Fresh Berry

 Fro-yo girl here. Time for another frozen yogurt franchise report. I’ve researched each franchise that I’ve written about and supplemented my research with at least one visit to one or more of their locations.

Fresh Berry Frozen Yogurt

Fresh Berry Frozen Yogurt

FreshBerry Fremont opened in 2010 and was the first self-serve location in the FreshBerry chain. In 2011, the Fremont location co-branded with Smallcakes, a line of cupcakes that was part of parent company Beautiful Brands roster of brands. The Fremont location is the only FreshBerry location in the Bay Area. They offer self-serve frozen yogurt and toppings for 40 cents an ounce, fruit yogurt smoothies, froyo pies and cupcakes.

Overview: FreshBerry has been offering franchises since 2007 and currently has 14 US locations listed on their website with other international locations in the Middle East and Venezuela. The founders David and Camille Rutkauskas also founded Camille’s Sidewalk Café and other franchise restaurant concepts.

Inside look at Fresh Berry

Inside look at Fresh Berry

It’s odd that a February 2013 Tulsa World story states that FreshBerry has 40 US locations but the website only had 14 listed. Did that many close since February 2013? Or is the website out of date? Either way, it doesn’t create a good impression.

According to FreshBerry materials, new franchise owners receive 12 days of training by FreshBerry management and FreshBerry training staff will also go the new franchise location for 3 days prior to and 2 days after the grand opening.

Yogurt: FreshBerry claims their frozen yogurt is all natural and proprietary. The Fremont location had 10 self-serve flavors, including two no sugar added flavors, 2 sorbets and classic flavors. The flavor lineup was basic and boring. I sampled a few flavors. The tart (aka plain or original tart) was creamy but didn’t have a strong, clean yogurt flavor.  It had a heaviness about it, tasted like cream and wasn’t tangy. The decadent dark chocolate tasted more like a creamy fudge than a dark chocolate. Café latte was a better choice: creamy, smooth coffee flavor. It tasted more like ice cream than yogurt. 

Entrance to Fresh Berry Frozen Yogurt

Entrance to Fresh Berry Frozen Yogurt

They had the typical toppings and plenty of them, including popping boba, mochi, fresh fruit, candy, cookies, nuts, cereal, syrups, cheesecake bites, etc. Toppings weren’t labeled.

Marketing: FreshBerry doesn’t distinguish itself in terms of its concept or décor. The décor was rather plain. The shop was mostly white with some touches of orange. The signs looked generic. Toppings were not labeled. Their message emphasizes taste and health, though the healthy message conflicts with their cupcakes.

I haven’t seen much marketing effort for FreshBerry, other than the effort of individual franchise owners.

Outlook: While the stores seem to be doing better in the Middle East, there isn’t much reason to be optimistic about the US outlook. Activity seems to have peaked in 2011. The corporate website was down/unavailable for at least a couple of days, possibly longer.

The Basics:

·         Total investment needed to open: $170,750 to $392,200

·         Franchise fee: $25,000

·         Royalty: 6%

·         Financial requirements: I didn’t see this listed but they will evaluate the applicant’s financial status

Grade: D-

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/

 

Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt, Berkeley, CA

  

Fro-yo girl here. The Menchie’s Bay Area expansion is underway with two store openings two weeks ago, one in San Jose and one in Fremont.

Front View of the Fro Yo Machine.

Front View of the Fro Yo Machine.

 

I’ve been to enough Menchie’s locations to know the general layout and feel. The Berkeley location has a typical Menchie’s look. It’s a larger location with plenty of seats, a chalkboard for doodling, Menchie’s merchandise for sale (e.g., t-shirts, beanies, lip balm, pencils), wavy white walls, and cute images of Menchie and his Sweet Friends on the walls. It’s right across the street from the UC Berkeley campus.

 

They have 14 self-serve fro-yo flavors a day and neatly labeled toppings (mochi, fresh fruit, warm syrups, nuts, popping boba, cheesecake bites, candy, cereal, coconut, marshmallows, sprinkles, cookie dough , whipped cream) for 43 cents an ounce. A freshly made waffle bowl is $1. Sample cups are easily accessible on the counter.

 

Take a look at the Lounge area!

Take a look at the Lounge area!

The selection of frozen yogurt is thoughtful, as it includes sorbets, no sugar added flavor, tart flavors, and sweet flavors. Green apple tart was creamy, thick and pretty tart but tasted like candy. Cookies n’ cream had cookie flavor and a nice smooth, creamy texture but a chalky aftertaste. Peachy keen was smooth and creamy but also artificial tasting. Smurfberry blast tasted like a less tart version of their blue raspberry tart flavor. I prefer blue raspberry tart as it is more flavorful.

 

The Smileage program lets you earn free points and birthday perks. If you like the Smurfs, be sure to check out the Menchie’s Smurfs 2 promotion in July. Menchie’s, aka Smenchie’s, has a Smurfberry Blast frozen yogurt flavor, 3 kinds of Smurf inspired toppings, and Smurfy mushroom topped resusable cups.

Promoting Smurfs the Movie, Collect all 3 cups!

Promoting Smurfs the Movie, Collect all 3 cups!

 

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/

* MENCHIE’S FROZEN YOGURT: 1862 Euclid Ave., Berkeley, CA 94709

A Tea Yogurt, Alhambra, CA

 

Side walk view of A Tea Yogurt.

Side walk view of A Tea Yogurt.

Fro-yo girl here. A Tea Yogurt opened a few weeks ago in downtown Alhambra. It has a typical Asian milk tea shop feel with loud music. They also operate a Mexican-Asian food truck called Boba ni Taco but A Tea Yogurt doesn’t offer Boba ni Taco’s menu items (tacos, sandwiches, salads), with the exception of the smoothies and boba drinks.

 

A Tea Yogurt serves tea drinks, slushes, yogurt smoothies, taco waffle snacks, and frozen yogurt. The frozen yogurt (three flavors a day: chocolate, strawberry and vanilla) is available in a cup with a limited number of toppings (candy, sauces, nuts, fruit, coconut). Or, try their unique creation: frozen yogurt waffle tacos ($3.50) and up.

Toppings bar and Fro- Yo Menu.

Toppings bar and Fro- Yo Menu.

 

Fro-yo prices: Regular ($2.75), Large ($3.25)

 

I like how they make their own waffle taco shells and offer different flavors like cranberry, chocolate, cappuccino, cinnamon banana and chocolate peanut butter. I had the plain waffle taco shell which was crispy and thick, like a fortune cookie but thicker. It was really good and didn’t get soggy. The strawberry frozen yogurt in my frozen yogurt waffle taco was creamy, not too sweet and average in flavor, but it was nice with the waffle taco and covered with fresh chopped strawberries and blueberries. You can make your own frozen yogurt waffle taco if you’d like or choose from several signature creations.

 

Quick look at the seating at A Tea Yogurt.

Quick look at the seating at A Tea Yogurt.

Their best selling frozen yogurt waffle taco is the indulgent Banana O’ Split which includes vanilla, chocolate and strawberry frozen yogurt, sliced bananas, strawberry syrup, crushed pineapple, hot fudge, caramel, whipped creamy, boba in a cinnamon banana waffle taco.

 

The shop has plenty of seating. Painted beach scenes cover both walls. They have a TV, photo booth and free wi-fi.

 

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/

* A TEA YOGURT: 137 W. Main St., Alhambra, CA 91801

Yogurt Mantra, Fremont, CA

 

Fro-yo girl here. When a frozen yogurt shop closes, the space is often taken over by another frozen yogurt shop. This is the case for Yogurt Mantra, which replaced Yogurtastic.

Outside Look of Yogurt Mantra

Outside Look of Yogurt Mantra

 

Yogurt Mantra is a cheerful, bright looking shop with the typical pictures of fresh fruit on the wall. The music was pretty loud. I noticed a free wi-fi sign. They have a few tables outside.

 

There are 8 self-serve fro-yo flavors a day, about 30 dry toppings (nuts, candy, marshmallow, sprinkles, cereal, cookies, chocolate chips), fresh fruit (not many varieties), syrups, popping boba, jellies, mochi and cheesecake bits for 39 cents an ounce. The flavors were the old standards and included chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, and two sorbets.  They had a sign with some suggested flavor and toppings combinations, like Rocky Road: chocolate frozen yogurt, marshmallows, almonds and chocolate sauce.

 

Fancy Fro Yo Machine!

Fancy Fro Yo Machine!

Ask for sample cups at the counter. I asked for two cups and received one. The mango tango flavor tasted like candy and was overly icy. The texture, while not runny, was slightly gritty.

 

Yogurt Mantra has a few differentiating features including the lack of the typical tiled wall and housemade Indian drinks. They had three kinds of Indian drinks, two of these had yogurt: mango lassi, mint chaas, rose milk. I wish the frozen yogurt flavors were as interesting. 

 

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/

* YOGURT MANTRA: 39957 Mission Blvd, Fremont, CA 94539