A Self-Serve Revolution

As summer winds down, it is only fitting to talk one last time about ice cream. Or rather, a pretty tasty relative- frozen yogurt.

Old TCBY

Old TCBY Interior

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.

New TCBY Loog

New TCBY Logo

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.

New TCBY

New TCBY Interior

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.

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5 thoughts on “A Self-Serve Revolution

  1. I’m all for improvements that seemingly make a product better. But, in this case, the improvements might be outweighed for peoples desire for a Shiver! Shiver’s are extremely popular with the younger people. I think they should conduct a study and see if it is practical to make some locations not turn self-serve.

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  2. Deanna says:

    I haven’t had TCBY in forever. Gonna have to visit one. Make your own ice cream sounds fun! It’s like those old “make your own sundaes” parties that used to be so yummy. But people have to be clean so I know they didn’t have their hands in the toppings and stuff. Of course, that’s not guaranteed in the full serve arena either….

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  3. Gale Baldwin says:

    As a lover of TCBY I am not in favor of self serve completely. I would like nothing better after a hard day to go to TCBY, place my order, have it fixed for me and then sit down and enjoy it. I am not in favor of self serve for ice cream so thanks Jared for giving me the chance to express my opinion.

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    • That’s what blogs are for 🙂 I prefer full-serve as well, but self-serve also allows for creativity and the chance to create something that is unique and not just eat something that is ordered off of a menu.

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