Dippin’ Dots, leader in the flash-frozen ice cream and frozen treat market, continues to realize surging growth as a result of a focus on developing a strong franchisee base, pursuing strategic partnerships with other well-known brands, and expanding its points of presence since being acquired by Oklahoma City–based private equity firm Fischer Enterprises LLC in late 2012.
The strategy is paying dividends as total sales of the company’s core ice cream products jumped more than 60 percent from 2013 through 2015. The robust sales growth is expected to continue with sales on track for an additional 25 percent growth in 2016.
“As an iconic brand with strong name recognition and consumer loyalty, Dippin’ Dots is the cornerstone of our snack food portfolio,” says Scott Fischer, COO of Fischer Enterprises. “The flash-frozen beaded ice cream was a groundbreaking product when it was invented more than 25 years ago. Since the acquisition, we have maintained the company’s unique brand while making the product more easily available and marketing to a new generation.”
Domestic franchising remains a key component of the company’s success. Year-over-year franchising revenue grew by more than 45 percent in 2015 and is exceeding that pace so far this year. While franchising unit growth is being organically generated from existing franchisees expanding points of presence, Dippin’ Dots also expects to bring in approximately 10 new franchise owners in 2016. As a part of that growth, brick-and-mortar franchise-owned units have recently opened in Mobile, Alabama, and Destin, Florida.
“Our franchise philosophy emphasizes quality over quantity,” says Steve Rothenstein, senior director of franchising at Dippin’ Dots. “We strive to help our franchisees develop their business over the long term by giving them the resources and expertise they need to succeed. The nearly 50 percent increase in our franchising revenue reflects the profitability of our model for both our franchisees and the company.”
Corporate growth is also being driven by the cobranding of Dippin’ Dots with Doc Popcorn, which specializes in fresh-popped, kettle-cooked flavored popcorn and was acquired by Fischer Enterprises in 2014. Cobranding aligns two leaders in their market segments and allows a single outlet to satisfy sweet and savory snack urges. Cobranded Dippin’ Dots/Doc Popcorn outlets are currently operational in Springfield, Missouri; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Green Bay, Wisconsin; Las Vegas; and the greater Chicago area. An additional 15 cobranded units are expected to open in 2016.
International distribution of Dippin’ Dots product continues to see strong growth from both co-branding with Doc Popcorn as well as expanding to new markets. Hankyu Hanshin Holding Group, which holds the master license for Dippin’ Dots in Japan, began shipping product to Taiwan last month. To continue to grow globally, Dippin’ Dots is also considering entering the Chinese market later this year.
Dippin’ Dots remains a major presence at stadiums, theaters and theme parks. From 2013 to 2015, the company added 350 new accounts, which helped increase its non-franchised sales by more than 33 percent over the same period.
“The Dippin’ Dots brand revolves around food, family and fun,” Fischer says. “And with our expanding family of partners and products, we are delivering more fun to more people than ever before.”