As summer winds down, it is only fitting to talk one last time about ice cream. Or rather, a pretty tasty relative- frozen yogurt.
Matthews, NC resident and TCBY franchise owner Samuel Batt helped turn the national chain TCBY (The Country’s Best Yogurt) into a nationally recognized chain. His self-serve concept was adopted by TCBY in 2010. (This is a rare case where a company actually listened to and implemented a plan thought up by a franchise owner. TCBY is not pressuring any of their franchise locations to convert to self-serve, either. Note: Samuel Batt owns 17 Charlotte area TCBY locations.) Self-serve franchises include yogurt machines where customers can pump their flavor choices into a cup. Next, the customer scatters their choice of toppings on their yogurt. Customers pay based on the weight of their yogurt creation. The chic, modern, interior provides a great social atmosphere.
Full-serve franchises include a menu with smoothies and Shivers (yogurt blended with toppings), not available at self-serve stores. Full-serve stores are becoming less common as many franchise owners are switching to self-serve, almost proven to provide more sales. Anyone who lives in a city that only features self-serve TCBYs, and wants a Shiver-like concoction, has only a few choices. Their best bet is to find the nearest Carvel, which serves Carvelanches, or Dairy Queen, which serves Blizzards, both similar concoctions.
After more than half of TCBY’s franchises converted into self-serve shops, sales have increased beyond belief. According to the June 17, 2013 story from the Charlotte Observer, “About half of TCBY’s nearly 500 franchises across the country have embraced the new model to great success, each doing from 25 percent to 200 percent better in sales than with the traditional model.” It’s clear that with so many franchises popping up, consumers are flocking to froyo shops. And they’re not just flocking to TCBY. Hundreds of smaller chains and stores have popped up around the country, trying to mimic TCBY’s explosive concept. Red Mango, SweetFROG, PinkBerry, Orange Leaf, Yogurtland, & FreshBerry are just some examples. Many chains have presented the self-serve concept very well. Some are family-oriented, like SweetFROG, while others, like CUPS (not mentioned above), are not.
The bottom line is: it’s a self-serve revolution.