Home | I'd buy it | Dippin’ Dots decent
Dippin' Dots is unique, fast gowing franchise with a patent protected ice cream product. Is it worth buying? FranchisePundit says yes. Here is why...

Dippin’ Dots decent

Dippin Dots logo
Dippin’ Dots has a good reputation as a franchise, this link is one example. I have been unable to find a single unhappy franchisee, though I’m sure at least a few exist.

Some of you have heard this story before. Microbiologist Curt Jones, using a scientific background in cryogenics as his guide, invented his beaded ice cream product and founded Dippin’ Dots in March 1988.

Here are some pictures so you can get a better feel of the franchise:

Dippin’ Dots now has 55,000 square feet of production facility in the U.S. and 20,000 square feet in South Korea. Dippin’ Dots are sold in 250 retail locations and thousands of entertainment venues and special events nationwide. The company’s Global division oversees licensees in nine countries. The flavored ice Dippin’ Dots are Kosher to 😉 .

Qualifications to buy a franchise
Net worth requirement is $250,000, liquidity requirement is $75,000. The initial franchise fee is a low $12,500 and royalty is only 4%. What’s the catch, you say? Well the ice cream (dippin’ dots) must be purchased from the franchisor, of course. But the franchisees seem happy, 95% own more than one franchise and few are for sale (I’m going to call the company and get the exact number for sale).

Via Dippin’ Dots corporate web site, the estimated initial investment ranges from $69,539 to $214,750 (kiosk or built-in store)

Would I buy a franchise?
The biggest threat I see is the increasing alternative sales channels creeping on my territory. For example, Dippin’ Dots will soon be served in McDonald’s restaurants. Dippin’ Dots vending machines are popping up, including in suburban malls where most Dippin’ Dots kiosks are located. Offices, catering parties, and school and charity fundraisers can order their Dippin’ Dots directly from the corporate web site, bypassing franchisees.

Still, the market is young and the novelty of the dots are unlikely to wear off. The product is well protected by at least 11 patents, and has few disgruntled franchisees and few franchises available for resale. I still want to speak to a few franchisees but I’m leaning toward buying this franchise.

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. I love Dippin’ Dots!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. I have never tasted the dots but they look good. I’m going to try them next time I see them.

    the Franchise Pundit

  3. Why do you say you’ll still buy it with the weakness you mentioned? You said they terriroties aren’t protected very well if at all, isn’t that a sign the franchise is not a buy?

  4. I agree with the #3 comment. If they start adding vending machines and allow Mcee Dees to sell em then where’s the value of getting
    Dippin Dot cart?? Mcee Dees would smoke em and then you will have plenty of disgruntled franchisees. That a company would even think about
    selling their prod behind the franchisees back is a serious Red Flag. Its all about the almighty dollar.

  5. I LOVE DIPPIN’ DOTS! – My cousin and I ALWAYS buy them EVERY chance we get…even if it means 10 in one day.

  6. where can i buy beaded ice cream wholesale with out buying the franchise it doesn’t necessarily have to be dip n dots brand

  7. I also agree with comment #3. I really do not think that the people that pay all that franchise money to run their business will be not happy and will probably let the franchise go while McDonalds will be offering the products in the restaurants. To me – there is no reason to charge the franchise if it is going to be in restaurants and it does take away from the popular kiosks. That is all part of the hype of dippin dots. You want to go to the kiosk or dippin dots store for the dots – not a big mac. DO NOT PUT THE DOTS IN MCDONALDS!!!!!!!

  8. I am a former franchisee of Dippin Dots. At one time I had 2 retail stores. My stores were in CA. When I became a franchisee in 2005, Dippin Dots retail stores were a new idea. I lost all my money investing in this poorly designed business model that treats franchisees very unfairly. First off, to have a retail store, you must invest atleast $95,000 and in CA where costs and permits are high, it can be up to $150,000. Dippin Dots corporate does not allow for territories. This means another franchisee can have a cart right next door to your retail store and sell the product for less. This happened to me. Dippin Dots corp also unfairly and arbitrarily enforces their franchise agreement. Some franchisees who are in good standing i.e never complain or comment on the unfairness of the system are allowed to break rules. They can place a cart at another ice cream store or in another facility that might not be approved. If you are a franchisee who has dared to complain about something, the rules are different for you. The cost of ice cream is outrageous to franchisees. For example a gallon bag of Dots costs the franchisee about $20.00 and only provides 20 5oz servings. your return is really low but your overhead is high. Dippin Dots corporate does not accomodate the small store owners with shipping either. The prices is extremely high. They nickle and dime franchisees. Shipping is about $500, the carton the ice cream is shipped in is not reuseable and costs $250 each time plus shipping $250. They refuse to orders on Fridays. Will not ship on Mondays. No weekend deliveries. Frequently our store ran totally out of product and really pissed customers off. The equipment we are forced to buy thru dippin dots is frequently used but sold as new. We had one alleged brand new freezer complete die on us after only 6 months. It cost us $1950 to replace. Warranty expires after 6 months we missed it by one day. The corporate staff is rude, lazy and have the attitude that franchisees “are lucky to be a franchise”. No cooperation. Every franchisee regional meeting is spent listening to people complain and being subjected to hostility by corporate staff. Curt Jones is going bankrupt article in the Nashville Post in June said his bank is calling their loan. This company should not be selling an franchisees because of their financial instability. I am very unhappy and feel I was ripped off and I am not the only one.—Don’t buy into this franchise.

  9. COME ON GUYS! someone needs to shed some light on Becca’s allegations..

  10. Please note that Dippin Dots has filed for protection under the bankruptcy laws. After numerous extentions, re-fi of their debt, DD corporate’s bank has finally called the loan and started foreclosing on the business. Read all about it http://www.publicbroadcasting.net/kial/news.newsmain/article/0/2/1871750/US/Maker.of.Dippin‘.Dots.ice.cream.files.for.bankruptcy

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