Cold Stone Creamery kicked off 2011 with an aggressive international growth plan, signing three new partners in three new countries. The brand and its parent company, Kahala, have entered into franchising agreements with three partners to deliver the ice cream experience into these new regions.

The first new country Cold Stone Creamery is planning to expand into in 2011 is Singapore through Kitchen Language. Kitchen Language is the master partner for Cold Stone in Singapore and Malaysia and is the food and beverage arm of Singapore’s largest private developer, Far East Organization.

Formed in 2008 to bring bold and refreshing food and beverage concepts to Singapore, Kitchen Language is planning to open 10 Cold Stone stores in Singapore and six stores in Malaysia by 2014, with the first location opening on March 12 on Orchard Road, the most famous road in Singapore.

“We were delighted and excited to find in Cold Stone Creamery a viable proposition that is full of potential. The customer experience was exceptional; at every Cold Stone Creamery store we visited, this unique, interactive, and engaging brand experience was excellently delivered to consumers, consistently,” says Kenneth Low, director of Kitchen Language. “There is already a very perceptible buzz created here ahead of the brand's debut in the spring of 2011.”

The next master franchise agreement signed with Cold Stone Creamery was with Gustatus Ltd. for expansion into Cyprus and Greece. Gustatus Ltd. is the food and beverage sector of Top Retail Co Ltd., which is the leading retailer and fastest growing company on the island. Cold Stone Creamery will be the first of its kind in Cyprus and Greece, serving both premium ice cream and a unique serving experience.

“Cold Stone Creamery researches the international markets and respects local cultures, which aligns with the values of Gustatus Ltd.,” says Vasilis Michailidis, managing director. “Cold Stone’s adaptability to different markets across the world while staying true to the brand’s character and brand integrity is one reason we believe the ice cream brand will be very well-received in Cyprus and Greece.”

The first Cold Stone Creamery to open in this territory is slated for May in Limassol, Cyprus, with additional growth targeted for seven stores opening in Cyprus within five years. The targeted growth in Greece is to open eight locations in six years, with the first Cold Stone planned for 2013.

Later in 2011, Cold Stone Creamery will be opening in Brazil through new master franchise J.J.F. Franquias LTDA, which consists of the daughter of one of the shareholders and two of the top franchisees of a well-known Brazilian coffee concept.

“The freshness of ice cream made every day, the incredible experience with the mix-ins and granite stone, and all the indulgences on the Cold Stone menu brought us the confidence and the desire to develop the brand and open the first, of many, Cold Stone Creamery stores in Brazil,” says Leonardo Ribas Gomes, CEO of Cold Stone Creamery Brazil. “And we definitely look forward to introducing the Ultimate Ice Cream Experience to the ice cream lovers of Brazil.”

With the most rapid growth plans between the three new master franchisees, J.J.F. Franquias LTDA intends to open 26 Cold Stone Creamery locations in Brazil in the first five years. The first Cold Stone store is scheduled to open in August 2011.

All three of Cold Stone’s new international partners offer a breadth of knowledge, experience, restaurant operations know-how, and key real estate skills to successfully drive traffic to their stores. Each company has a successful reputation of quality and innovation in their respective marketplaces, making Kitchen Language, Gustatus Ltd., and J.J.F. Franquias LTDA the ideal partners for the Cold Stone Creamery brand in their respective markets.

Cold Stone Creamery’s international growth began in November 2005, when the company opened its first international store in Tokyo, Japan. Today, Cold Stone stores are operational with more than 345 international locations in 16 different countries including China, Korea, Canada, Denmark, and the United Arab Emirates.

Denise Lee Yohn: QSR's Marketing Guru, Desserts, Growth, News, Cold Stone Creamery