Foodservice Equipment & Supplies

OCT 2017

Foodservice Equipment & Supplies magazines is an industry resource connecting foodservice operators, equipment and supplies manufacturers and dealers, and facility design consultants.

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78 • FOODSERVICE EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES • OCTOBER 2017 e&s segment spotlight Honing in on Homemade With consumers having so much of their daily lives pre- programmed, Yogurtland strives to change things up for its customers. Founded 11 years ago in Fullerton, Calif., the 330-unit chain has sites predominantly in California, Washington, Utah, Nevada, Colorado, Florida and Texas. However, in recent years Yogurtland has concentrated much of its growth internationally in Thailand, Australia, Venezuela, Dubai and soon in Korea, Oman and Myanmar. "We open 30 to 40 restaurants a year," says John Carlson, Yogurtland's senior vice president of marketing. "Most sites are franchised, but we have between 8 and 10 corporate restaurants." Totaling between 1,200 and 1,500 square feet, sites include malls and traditional inline space. This self-serve model offers 16 frozen yogurt flavors created from 8 ma- chines. Yogurtland sells everything by the ounce. Plain tart is the top seller, but Madagascar vanilla also has a strong following according to Carlson. In the summer months, flavors revolve around fruits, such as Oregon black- berries. This past year, the focus has been on more home- made flavors, such as Marion berry pie and mud pie. "It can be difficult to deliver complex flavors in one yogurt stream, but it's one of the things we do very well," says Carlson. Yogurtland is testing a new retail image, too. Its front of the house currently consists of a raspberry and light green color palette that corresponds to the chain's logo, portraying a fresh and natural image. Green mosaic tile exhibits a shim- merry, earthy look offset by eggshell walls and colorful glass panels that include the brand story. "We're changing out the mosaic tiles with a dark brown wood in Thailand and Bangkok, which we will extend to our newer locations in 2018," says Carlson. What sets Yogurtland's business model apart is the fact that its yogurt is produced in California, refrigerated and put directly in its machines, which use glycol refrigerant. High-volume locations have a walk-in refrigerator that holds ingredients. "Less than 5 percent of our sites have upright freezers, while some use three-door units," says Carlson. Yogurtland faces the same challenges as its competitors. "We really need equipment innovation, but technology has not changed much in the last 30 years," says Carlson. "As ef- ficiency becomes more critical and the cost of raw materials and utilities keeps rising, it is make or break for yogurt shops. There is definitely opportunity for finding a way to minimize waste with these machines." A Froyo Original One of the most notable survivors of the frozen yogurt wars, Canadian company Yogen Früz was founded by Aaron Serruya and his brother Michael back in 1986. The fact that the company has survived the ebb and flow of the industry for more than three decades speaks volumes about its brand. In 2013, the Serruya family bought Kahala Corp., a privately owned franchisor of quick-service restaurants including Blimpie, TacoTime, Samurai Sam's Teriyaki Grill, The Great Steak & Potato Company, Johnnie's New York Pizzeria and Cold Stone Creamery, which they sold last year but still remain the largest shareholder. Two years ago, the Serruyas acquired competitor Pinkberry, which has roughly 260 locations in 21 countries. "We get good insight with the Cold Stone Brand," says Serruya. "When one has an upswing, the other has a downswing." Yogen Früz hasn't remained a player in the froyo wars by staying stagnant. These days, it's about pushing into the ice cream segment and vegan space with both chocolate and Yogurtland customers can choose from a wide array of toppings to create custom desserts. Yogen Früz offers low-fat, nonfat or sugar-free yogurt blended with a variety of different ingredients.

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