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The Frozen Yogurt Craze

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This topic contains 48 replies, has 23 voices, and was last updated by  pspock 2 weeks ago.

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  • #527630
    Anne Evans
    Anne Evans
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    Jeni’s is promoting their frozen yogurt flavors right now:

    http://www.jenis.com/

    #527631
    Lauren Wilson
    Lauren Wilson
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    Jeni’s mango lassi frozen yogurt is just UGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHH.

    Good.

    #527632

    pspock
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    Yagoot in Easton just closed last week.

    And Coolie Yo in Beechwold must have closed a while back. Apparently it didn’t even last 6 months in business.

    #527633
    Snarf
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    osulew said:
    I dig frozen yogurt joints. I don’t really care at all that it’s “healthier” than ice cream. I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, so when I do want something sweet, I dig the idea of getting exactly what I want made the way I like to eat it. So if I want essentially two bites of 5 different flavors with 4 walnuts and 6 blueberries on it, I can have it. I don’t see a big deal about it. It’s just like there are 80shitzillion coffee shops around every corner, etc etc. If people like it, they’ll stick around. If not, they’ll go under. I do wish though that more of the shops carried more of the tart yogurt flavors because it’s deeeeeeeeelish. :)

    Walnuts on frozen yogurt sounds nasty, fyi.

    #527634
    Lauren Wilson
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    I luh walnuts. I can’t help it.

    #527635

    Twixlen
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    I’m wicked sad about Yagoot – their plain “flavor” was the best of all the possible yogurt flavors on the planet. So sour, with a wee bit of sweet. My favorite. They said they didn’t close due to losing money… something about the challenge of the rest of their business being in Cinci. No matter, it’s a bummer.

    #527636

    pspock
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    Since I’ve tried a lot of these places I thought I’d give a quick reveiew:

    Yaourt, 1 location (161 & Sawmill), Grade: A
    Best flavor and best texture. Of all the places I’ve tried so far, this is the only one making their own yogurt (if there are others making their own, I haven’t tried them yet). Owner has a passion for making the best yogurt. I talked with her and she only uses Whole Foods milk and yogurt in her mix because of the high standards Whole Foods has fot their dairy products. She also uses natural ingredients as much as possible to flavor the yogurt. There is distinct difference between her yogurt and all the other one’s I’ve tried so far. Nearly all of her flavors are made in house, except for the occasional flavor she gets from Yocream or Honey Hill. So far, she’s my winner, hands down.

    Menchies 2 locations (Sawmill north of 270, Tuttle Mall), Grade B
    One of the largest, if not the largest, self serve frozen yogurt chains (depends on what day of the month it is, and whether or not you include TCBY’s non-self serve format stores). It’s first store in California began by serving Yocream manufactured yogurt. After it began franchising and growing, there were some rumors that they started making their own yogurt. That may be true to some degree, but there is no indication they build their own manufacturing plant. So they are probably still having it manufactured by Yocream, but Yocream is privately labeling it for Menchies. They probably did come up with some unique flavors that Yocream didn’t offer, and Yocream is now making those flavors exclussively for Menchies. Not bad yogurt at all. If you’re going to start a yogurt store, using Yocream yogurt isn’t a bad option at all.

    Cuzzins, 4 locations (Lane Ave, Hilliard, OSU Campus, Lewis Center), Grade B
    Like Menchies, the first store on Lane Ave began by serving Yocream, and so do the three newest locations. Again, not bad yogurt at all. If you’re going to start a yogurt store, Yocream makes it pretty easy. All you need is to come up with your own decor and branding around their product.

    Sweet Frog, 1 location(Polaris), Grade B
    Another Yocream chain. It started in Virginia, and like Menchies quickly grew into multiple states through franchising. Not bad yogurt. It’s Yocream after all. You know the story. Order it and brand it to be your own.

    Cherry Berry, 1 location (Powell & Sawmill), Grade B-
    Another chain, and this one started in Oklahoma. But instead of Yocream, it built it’s concept around Honey Hill frozen yogurt. Honey Hill is Yocream’s biggest competitor in national distribution of frozen yogurt in liquid format (the other format is powder). Some of Honey Hill’s flavors are better than Yocream, but most of the flavors aren’t as good as Yocream, and can tend to come out icy. But the reason I’m giving Cherry Berry a B- as opposed to a B like Yocream copy cats, isn’t because of the quality of the yogurt (Yocream and Honey Hill are both pretty good). It’s the cleanliness of the store. I may have caught it on a bad day… but it wasn’t busy, and no one was cleaning.

    Orange Leaf, 4 locations (Kingsdale, Granview, Westerville, Pickerington), Grade C+
    Going head to head with Menchies trying to be the nation’s largest self serve frozen yogurt chain (again, if you ignore TCBY’s 400 old full service format stores and only count their new self serve format stores). Orange Leaf is neither a Yocream clone nor a Honey Hill clone. From what I’ve been told, they use a powder mix. The first store in Oklahoma probably used either Nanci’s yogurt powder, or Cielo’s. Today they are so large, it’s probably being private labled and shipped to the franchises, so who knows who is manufacturing it now. The yogurt is not as good as Yocream or Honey Hill copy cats, as you can taste a bit of graininess from it being produced from powder. If you like tart frozen yogurt, Orange Leaf’s tart has an odd taste to it, that some have described being like sour cream is used in making it.

    Groovy Spoon, 1 location (Clintonville), Grade C+
    The parking in the year gave me the inside scoop on their yogurt being powder. I visited them on a day when a delivery was being made through their back door. It’s a powder mix. Didn’t get close enough to see who made it (Nanci’s, Ceilo, etc…). But it’s similar to Orange Leaf in taste and consistency.

    Matcha, 1 location (Bethel & Godown), Grade C
    I’m not sure who their yogurt provider is, but I’m pretty sure it’s either Yocream or Honey Hill. If it’s powder they do a great job at mixing it, as I really don’t think it’s powder. Even though the yogurt is as good as Yocream and Honey Hill clones, they really fell short of establishing their own unique brand of a concept. Good yogurt, but it feels kind of uncomfortable to sit in there and eat. Update the interior and this could easily be a B.

    Bad Frog, 1 location (Dublin), Grade C
    Love the interior, but not a fan of the yogurt. It’s just too inconsistent. Some flavors are firm, where others are runny. When the flavor comes out of the machine firm, the consistency is really good… perhaps even on the great side. They use electro freeze machines (which is what Dairy Queen uses) so sometimes the consistency is as good as a Dairy Queen cone. But again, it’s hit or miss, and even when it is a hit, the flavoring isn’t all that great. Given the inconsistency I have no idea where they get their yogurt from.

    Spoon Me, 2 locations (Gahana, Bexly), Grade C-
    Yogurt tastes odd. Don’t know who they get it from. They seem more focused on selling their twist on words sexual inuendo with underwear for sale than they are on making good yogurt.

    Sweet Berry, 1 location (Bethel & Sawmill), Grade D
    Every flavor was runny in consistency. Looks like they decided to opt for counter top machines instead of full size machines. That could be causing the machines to work harder than they were designed to, and thus a runny product. Counter top machines are designed for restaurants who would sell a low volume of product, like an optional dessert for their dining customers. They aren’t designed to be continually distributing product over and over again, like what happens in a self serve shop. This is referred to as the recovery time of the machine. Full sized machines are designed to recover quicker. I’d give them an F for this bad business decision, but the flavor was actually pretty good, even though it was melty. I actually kind of like melty soft serve, but my wife hates it that way. We can’t go back here again because of that.

    Josie’s, 2 locations (Polaris, Westerville), Grade: D
    I expect to get some disagreement for giving this place a D. Josie’s intentionally chose a yogurt product with the fewest calories per ounce and go out of their way to market that aspect of their product. I’m sure there a quite a few customers who this appeals to, and if so I wish them all the success in the world selling to those customers wanting a sweet treat with really low calories. As for me, the low calorie product leaves me desiring more. It just doesn’t hit the spot when I’m in the mood for a sweet frozen treat. Given Orange Leaf is in Westerville, and Sweet Frog is in Polaris, unless you really want the lowest calorie yogurt, each area has better options.

    Places I have NOT tried yet:

    Yogopolis (Eastland)
    Mochi (Blacklick)
    Cold Stone (Nationwide Arena)
    Yogeez (New Albany)
    39 Below Fro Yo (Gay St)
    Oh Yo Fro Yo (Grove City)

    #527637
    zp945
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    pspock said:
    Since I’ve tried a lot of these places I thought I’d give a quick reveiew:

    Yaourt, 1 location (161 & Sawmill), Grade: A
    Best flavor and best texture. Of all the places I’ve tried so far, this is the only one making their own yogurt (if there are others making their own, I haven’t tried them yet). Owner has a passion for making the best yogurt. I talked with her and she only uses Whole Foods milk and yogurt in her mix because of the high standards Whole Foods has fot their dairy products. She also uses natural ingredients as much as possible to flavor the yogurt. There is distinct difference between her yogurt and all the other one’s I’ve tried so far. Nearly all of her flavors are made in house, except for the occasional flavor she gets from Yocream or Honey Hill. So far, she’s my winner, hands down.

    Menchies 2 locations (Sawmill north of 270, Tuttle Mall), Grade B
    One of the largest, if not the largest, self serve frozen yogurt chains (depends on what day of the month it is, and whether or not you include TCBY’s non-self serve format stores). It’s first store in California began by serving Yocream manufactured yogurt. After it began franchising and growing, there were some rumors that they started making their own yogurt. That may be true to some degree, but there is no indication they build their own manufacturing plant. So they are probably still having it manufactured by Yocream, but Yocream is privately labeling it for Menchies. They probably did come up with some unique flavors that Yocream didn’t offer, and Yocream is now making those flavors exclussively for Menchies. Not bad yogurt at all. If you’re going to start a yogurt store, using Yocream yogurt isn’t a bad option at all.

    Cuzzins, 4 locations (Lane Ave, Hilliard, OSU Campus, Lewis Center), Grade B
    Like Menchies, the first store on Lane Ave began by serving Yocream, and so do the three newest locations. Again, not bad yogurt at all. If you’re going to start a yogurt store, Yocream makes it pretty easy. All you need is to come up with your own decor and branding around their product.

    Sweet Frog, 1 location(Polaris), Grade B
    Another Yocream chain. It started in Virginia, and like Menchies quickly grew into multiple states through franchising. Not bad yogurt. It’s Yocream after all. You know the story. Order it and brand it to be your own.

    Cherry Berry, 1 location (Powell & Sawmill), Grade B-
    Another chain, and this one started in Oklahoma. But instead of Yocream, it built it’s concept around Honey Hill frozen yogurt. Honey Hill is Yocream’s biggest competitor in national distribution of frozen yogurt in liquid format (the other format is powder). Some of Honey Hill’s flavors are better than Yocream, but most of the flavors aren’t as good as Yocream, and can tend to come out icy. But the reason I’m giving Cherry Berry a B- as opposed to a B like Yocream copy cats, isn’t because of the quality of the yogurt (Yocream and Honey Hill are both pretty good). It’s the cleanliness of the store. I may have caught it on a bad day… but it wasn’t busy, and no one was cleaning.

    Orange Leaf, 4 locations (Kingsdale, Granview, Westerville, Pickerington), Grade C+
    Going head to head with Menchies trying to be the nation’s largest self serve frozen yogurt chain (again, if you ignore TCBY’s 400 old full service format stores and only count their new self serve format stores). Orange Leaf is neither a Yocream clone nor a Honey Hill clone. From what I’ve been told, they use a powder mix. The first store in Oklahoma probably used either Nanci’s yogurt powder, or Cielo’s. Today they are so large, it’s probably being private labled and shipped to the franchises, so who knows who is manufacturing it now. The yogurt is not as good as Yocream or Honey Hill copy cats, as you can taste a bit of graininess from it being produced from powder. If you like tart frozen yogurt, Orange Leaf’s tart has an odd taste to it, that some have described being like sour cream is used in making it.

    Groovy Spoon, 1 location (Clintonville), Grade C+
    The parking in the year gave me the inside scoop on their yogurt being powder. I visited them on a day when a delivery was being made through their back door. It’s a powder mix. Didn’t get close enough to see who made it (Nanci’s, Ceilo, etc…). But it’s similar to Orange Leaf in taste and consistency.

    Matcha, 1 location (Bethel & Godown), Grade C
    I’m not sure who their yogurt provider is, but I’m pretty sure it’s either Yocream or Honey Hill. If it’s powder they do a great job at mixing it, as I really don’t think it’s powder. Even though the yogurt is as good as Yocream and Honey Hill clones, they really fell short of establishing their own unique brand of a concept. Good yogurt, but it feels kind of uncomfortable to sit in there and eat. Update the interior and this could easily be a B.

    Bad Frog, 1 location (Dublin), Grade C
    Love the interior, but not a fan of the yogurt. It’s just too inconsistent. Some flavors are firm, where others are runny. When the flavor comes out of the machine firm, the consistency is really good… perhaps even on the great side. They use electro freeze machines (which is what Dairy Queen uses) so sometimes the consistency is as good as a Dairy Queen cone. But again, it’s hit or miss, and even when it is a hit, the flavoring isn’t all that great. Given the inconsistency I have no idea where they get their yogurt from.

    Spoon Me, 2 locations (Gahana, Bexly), Grade C-
    Yogurt tastes odd. Don’t know who they get it from. They seem more focused on selling their twist on words sexual inuendo with underwear for sale than they are on making good yogurt.

    Sweet Berry, 1 location (Bethel & Sawmill), Grade D
    Every flavor was runny in consistency. Looks like they decided to opt for counter top machines instead of full size machines. That could be causing the machines to work harder than they were designed to, and thus a runny product. Counter top machines are designed for restaurants who would sell a low volume of product, like an optional dessert for their dining customers. They aren’t designed to be continually distributing product over and over again, like what happens in a self serve shop. This is referred to as the recovery time of the machine. Full sized machines are designed to recover quicker. I’d give them an F for this bad business decision, but the flavor was actually pretty good, even though it was melty. I actually kind of like melty soft serve, but my wife hates it that way. We can’t go back here again because of that.

    Josie’s, 2 locations (Polaris, Westerville), Grade: D
    I expect to get some disagreement for giving this place a D. Josie’s intentionally chose a yogurt product with the fewest calories per ounce and go out of their way to market that aspect of their product. I’m sure there a quite a few customers who this appeals to, and if so I wish them all the success in the world selling to those customers wanting a sweet treat with really low calories. As for me, the low calorie product leaves me desiring more. It just doesn’t hit the spot when I’m in the mood for a sweet frozen treat. Given Orange Leaf is in Westerville, and Sweet Frog is in Polaris, unless you really want the lowest calorie yogurt, each area has better options.

    Places I have NOT tried yet:

    Yogopolis (Eastland)
    Mochi (Blacklick)
    Cold Stone (Nationwide Arena)
    Yogeez (New Albany)
    39 Below Fro Yo (Gay St)
    Oh Yo Fro Yo (Grove City)

    Can you give us some insight on who you are? You clearly know a lot about this particular subject, which leads me to believe you own a frozen yogurt place or are involved in commercial real estate. I also believe this is a bubble waiting to pop. The comparison to coffee shops makes sense, except the percentage of the population that drinks coffee vs eats frozen yogurt is drastically different.

    #527638

    pspock
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    I almost did open one.

    After visiting the Menchies on Sawmill a few years ago, I loved the business model. Low employee costs. Food costs are controlled because it’s pay be weight. It’s a great model.

    I talked with quite a few brands and suppliers, and even took my family to Atlanta to try three of them, including TCBY.

    We LOVED TCBY. It’s yogurt is better than all the rest, and their new self serve model was exactly what I wanted.

    I was approved by TCBY to receive their FDD, and I paid a lawyer to reveiw it for me… only to have him get a fraction of the way through it before he called me to tell me he’s already read so many red flags, he doesn’t recommend me paying him to finish it.

    The bankruptcy they went through, and debt TCBY still carries from it was such a huge risk for a franchisee to be betting on that I couldn’t commit to it despite how much we loved their product and decor. So I went back to the drawing board.

    But during all this time I spent doing due diligence to do it the right way the first time, another store, after another store, after another store kept opening up in Columbus. They were opening at a pace of one every few weeks.

    That’s when I realized that despite how much a love the concept, this concept is quickly headed for a bubble, and numerous new store owners, such as potentially myelf, would be stuck in a over saturated market.

    So I stopped my pursuit and have been watching this unfold from the sidelines for the past year.

    When Walker wrote his 2012 new restaurant peice, and mentioned the new Whit’s location, without mentioning any new froyo place, I had to chime in about what I’ve been witnessing.

    #527639

    bucki12
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    Wow, thanks for all your background information.

    #527640
    Elizabeth Lessner
    Elizabeth Lessner
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    A place in Lancaster just opened called YO.M.G. We thought the name was funny.

    The yogurt flavor trends seem to follow the current vodka flavor trends: cotton candy, birthday cake, bubblegum. I stuck with vanilla, husband had egg nog mixed with gingerbread flavors. Lancaster is usually years behind Columbus in food trends, I was surprised it caught on this soon down there.

    #527641
    DavidF
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    lizless said:
    A place in Lancaster just opened called YO.M.G. We thought the name was funny.

    The yogurt flavor trends seem to follow the current vodka flavor trends: cotton candy, birthday cake, bubblegum. I stuck with vanilla, husband had egg nog mixed with gingerbread flavors. Lancaster is usually years behind Columbus in food trends, I was surprised it caught on this soon down there.

    I’ll have to give this place a try. Thanks for the mention Liz. We just opened a new store in Lancaster and I’ll be running it for at least the next few months. We are on top of the hill next to the new Raisin Canes. If you get a few minutes Liz, you should stop by and say hi!

    (for anyone who doesn’t know, I work for Mattress Firm)

    #527642

    buckette13
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    I know they have gotten a lot of teasing for being a huge fad but I have to say in this heat I gotta have my froyo. I have not been to all of Pspock’s stops but I have had quite a few. I just had a $7 cup and it was well worth it. If there wasn’t a billion of them I would be saving my pennies to open my own.

    #527643

    geoyui
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    I’m not a big froyo fan as the froyo around town ranges from runny, to softserve-like consistency to grainy. But I really like Yaourt. I cannot disagree with pspock’s assessment. One thing to mention is that Yaourt doesn’t offer a lot of crazy toppings like other shops, because they want their customers to really enjoy the froyo.

    #527644
    Nicholas Herum
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    Spoon Me in Gahanna has recently closed. The store is completely cleared out.

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