Fresh off the introduction of a new self-serve prototype and store design, TCBY announced a deal to open 200 stores over the next 10 years with Texas developer Lone Star Yogurt.
While the agreement between TCBY and Lone Star Yogurt calls for a 10-year build-out of the 200 stores, the two companies are wasting no time with real estate selection, store development, and training, despite continued economic uncertainty. Lone Star Yogurt plans to open its first TCBY self-serve store in January in the company’s hometown of Tyler, Texas. It’s committed to open another 24 TCBY self-serve stores in East Texas, Dallas, Ft. Worth, and Houston in the next 18 months, adding as many as 250 jobs to the Texas job market.
“With frozen yogurt operators continuing to outpace their ice cream counterparts within the U.S. frozen dessert segment, TCBY’s announcement to open 200 new stores comes as no surprise,” says Darren Tristano, executive vice president at Technomic. “With many American consumers continuing to look for healthier alternatives to traditional desserts, frozen yogurt will likely continue a positive growth pattern for years to come. As a well-established brand with decades of history, TCBY will have a leg up within the yogurt segment.”
Since testing the self-serve model in both corporate and franchise-owned stores earlier this year, coupled with a new store design and brand identity, TCBY is on track this year to achieve its best franchise sales numbers in more than a decade. While the self-serve model seems to be giving the entire industry a boost, TCBY’s foray into self-serve and its competitive advantages in taste and health attributes make it the formidable player in the industry again.
“We are making an important statement with a deal of this magnitude,” says Tim Casey, CEO of TCBY. “We have seasoned area developers and franchisees who believe as we do that TCBY is once again the fro-yo brand of choice among franchisees and consumers. We feel like we have always owned taste. Today we have the most relevant store model in self-serve, coupled with a modern design that’s resonating with our customers who have experienced it in our prototype stores. Not only will we carry tremendous momentum into 2011, but we anticipate the release of some significant category innovation to support record growth.”
Lone Star Yogurt, headed by industry veterans David Weaver, Bryan Selden, and Jeff Worthen, whose collective restaurant experience spans more than 50 years, brings a successful track record in franchising and in Texas with concepts such as Smashburger and Wingstop.
“Some of our fondest memories were taking the family to TCBY for some white chocolate mousse yogurt. It was pure happiness,” Weaver says. “Once we learned that TCBY was developing a self-serve model, we knew we had the ideal partner to do something scalable throughout Texas. Knowing the marketplace can be competitive; we intend to maintain an aggressive schedule throughout the 200-store build-out.”