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Self Service Fro-Yo

There has been an uptick in self serve frozen yogurt, and I think that is a smart move.  Why pay employees to do a task that customers would get the pleasure of doing, and they’ll pay for whatever they use?  You can run a busy store with two employees, one at the cash register and another cleaning up and refilling toppings.

The self service works like this – the customer fills their cup with as much frozen yogurt as they like and put on their own topping, and then proceed to the checkout where the yogurt is weighed and priced at $.30/ounce.  I’ve seen cookie shops in London, UK sell cookies by weight, and it works as people typically will make things a little bigger and end up paying a little more.

One player that “looks” good is the almost 100 location Yogurt-land (and it should with a $350k build out cost – see pic ).  They like to move into former Cold Stone Creamery locations, another smart move.  Others are Fiji Yogurt (5 locations), Yogurtini (1 open, 8 about to open). They have a new location in Weston, FL which I saw and it looks great.

See my previous post about rolling your own frozen yogurt shop if this concept interests you.

About Ryan Knoll

Attorney and advisor with an interest in franchising. Feel free to email me comments and questions on the "Contact Us" page.


  1. Aren’t the Cold stone locations too large for a two person store?

    • Yogurtland looks for 1,000-1,500sf locations. Some Cold Stones may be too big because they go to 2,000sf on the upper end. Here is the size requirements from Cold Stone’s web site:

      Perfect space for a Cold Stone Creamery…
      1,400 square feet is preferred (900 – 2,000 sq. ft. is acceptable)
      Display our signage package on building and marquee
      Active nightlife

      Perfect Neighbors…
      Movie theaters
      College campuses
      Coffee shops
      Video rental stores
      High-end retailers

      Perfect Demographics…
      Population: 15,000 within one mile
      Age: 18-36 years
      Household: Families earning $35,000+

      Perfect Facility Requirements…
      HVAC: 1 ton per 150 sq. ft. (200 sq. ft. in cold climates)
      Electrical: 200 amp – 120/280 V available to premise, 3 phase 42 breaker panel
      Water: ¾” minimum tap
      Sewer: 3” minimum main line

      • That income threshold is way to low IMNTBMFHO…and I am less than impressed with the age demographic either. I would love to see who did the demo study and where they came up with that.

        • Laura Yogurteur

          What demographics should be the target for Cold Stone or high probiotic Frozen Yogurt? I can see the population requirement being 25,000, and age being ‘parents’ age with kids in school being the target demo.

          • I don’t mean to come across like a jerk on this, but I have no idea what the demographics for Cold Stone is, as I never thought this concept would make it – period. I thought it was a dog from the get go.

            Letting that aside, this is not a discount product. And a demographic of households with incomes of 35k on up seems like you might way over-count relevant households. Also, ColdStone certainly did not only franchise in large cities, so the one mile radius is a bit odd.

            I would look for an average income great than 55k and a population of 35-55k within a 3-5 mile radius depending on density. The guideline that was given looks to me more suitable for Tastee Freeze or the old style Dairy Queen.

            In order to develop a demographic profile for your high probiotic Frozen Yogurt you need to develop a market study plan and derive your demographic profile from that and then attempt to match it to communities. If I was going for your high probiotic Frozen Yogurt I would want the income skewed more to the upper end and I would profile racial demographics as well. You might also want to consider sexual orientation. In fact you might want to test in alternative communities.

          • Additionally, I would definitely stay away from business lunch crowd only locations. Yogen Fruz and Berry Chill in Chicago’s Loop have gotten killed, not only because of the short summer, but because of the high price and low repeat business.

            Locations that have worked consistently are densely populated trendy residential areas. From a couple of independents I talked to, evenings and weekends are the critical sales times.

          • The Pundit is very correct. Unless you are planning on selling to a sucker, you want to be very careful of counting on business lunch traffic in the long term. Recessions wipe places like that out time and again.

            Hey Ryan is it true Minnies on Halsted folded?

          • Yes it is closed. Honestly, I’m embarrassed to say that I never heard about the concept until you just mentioned it. I checked out their web site and it does look like a clever angle. It sounds like they didn’t execute that well on the food after reading reviews online. Have you eaten there?

            The modern vintage look of Minnies reminds me of the new pin-up girl logo of the new Patty Burger in the Loop (started by former Jimmy John’s CEO).


          • Ryan:

            Have you eaten there?

            Yes. I liked the concept, just not the execution.

            I suspect the menu was too varied to keep the quality in every sandwich. Too many unique bread types etc. Far too hard to train a staff for consistent delivery unless you establish a methodology.

            The prices could be outrageous. For example a 8oz bottle of Dr Pepper Dublin (great stuff by the way) was 6.50 I think.

            Since I don’t eat red meat I had the turkey burgers and they were ok, but I could not get it “my way”.

            I would not hesitate to knock off this concept after a good market study and a revival of the menu and establishment of operating guidelines.

            Subject off course to a decent lease arrangement, I also would consider sub-set of the menu for office catering at reasonable prices to build my own brand and get the word out.

            It would also play well in the Democratic and Green party fund raisers for liberal office worker type appeal candidates.

            Most pleasant regards…

  2. I am not familiar with the Fro-Yo yougurt franchise, but I can tell you this concept is a growing one across the country. This summer, we have had 2 different businesses other than Fro-Yo move into Denver with the same business model.

  3. I’m a representative of a franchise consulting group in Arizona. As a resident of Tempe, being in college town invariably leads to TONS of variations of frozen yogurt franchises. There’s a Yogurt-biz or Yogurtland or something like that inside of the college here, as well as two on either ends of the campus. Along one of the trendy streets next to the campus, I believe there are two or three places that champion their frozen yogurt, but none have the same “hip” vibe that the places like Yogurtland or Fro-Yo offer.

    I read in another article something along the lines of how the stores that are set up in highly populated, “trendy” areas tend to have the most success. That’s completely true in a town with a major university smack-dab in the middle of it. Food for thought if you’re interested in pursuing franchising 🙂

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