Kona Ice

Kona Ice Finds Success in Franchisees and Communities

It has been a year of extraordinary expansion for one of America’s favorite franchises. Adding 180 trucks in just the past 18 months, Kona Ice is on an ascent that will continue in 2013 and beyond.

The excitement around Kona Ice stems from the brand’s entrance into top-tier U.S. markets with new franchisees, updated trucks, and the recently launched Kona Mini, an innovative pushcart service station.

As it has emerged into America’s consciousness, Kona Ice has been able to significantly increase its ongoing community give back program, which has now surpassed $6 million.

Kona Ice Thinks Small to Achieve Big Winter Results

As colder weather rolls around, many Kona Ice franchisees are winding down business for the season. But some are ready to make their shaved-ice truck a 12-months-a-year business—and with the new Kona Mini cart, they can.

Founder Tony Lamb says the new cart—which measures 68 inches long, 31 inches wide, and 60 inches high and is an exact replica of the brand’s iconic truck—was created with two purposes in mind.

First, the brand wanted to manage its fast-paced growth so that franchisees wouldn’t take on too much debt compared to return on investment.

Don’t Let Weather Get You Down

Eric Wright signed on with Kona Ice, a shaved-ice concept, in 2009. His Kansas City–based business is mostly mobile and outdoor-oriented, consisting of food trucks, carts, and kiosks, and has become increasingly profitable despite sometimes less-than-ideal weather conditions.

Wright has focused on developing new stations that can go where his food trucks cannot, and he’s established connections with local schools and parks that ensure his warm-weather-based product is available year-round.

Warmer Weather Means Warmer Sales for Kona Ice

The last month of unseasonably warm weather hasn’t just pleased outdoor enthusiasts. Some frozen-treat quick-serve operators found that the warmer weather translated into higher sales.

Shaved ice concept Kona Ice, in particular, saw revenues go up more than 50 percent in March compared with the same month last year.

Tony Lamb, founder and president of Kona Ice, says the concept has enjoyed a significant bump in interest from potential customers this spring. The mobile concept succeeds largely by leasing trucks out to events like fundraisers, parties, and sports.