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16 Handles was founded in 2008 by Solomon Choi, whose parents were franchise owners of the largest seafood buffet in San Diego, where he served as busboy, manager, and eventually, vice president. Recognizing the growth potential in self-serve frozen yogurt, Choi went on to manage operations for a gelato franchise and a frozen yogurt business in California before launching 16 Handles in New York.
“By conducting extensive research in the frozen dessert category and following a detailed, efficient business model, we have become the busiest frozen dessert store in the neighborhood,” Choi says of his original East Village shop.
At 16 Handles, people control their portion, flavor, and toppings, allowing them to select their favorite treats based on everything from dietary needs to personal preferences. Guests select a cup, fill it with yogurt and add their own toppings, choosing from an array of 16 flavors and more than 30 topping selections in an endless toppings bar. Payment is by the ounce.
Becoming a 16 Handles franchise owner offers the chance to take advantage of growing market trends. The ice cream and frozen dessert market is expected to grow to $27.6 billion by 2012, according to the U.S. Market for Ice Cream and Related Frozen Desserts report. Additional research shows that consumers are spending more than ever at self-service kiosks and counters. Frozen yogurt has also become one of the most lucrative sectors in business today.
In addition to a consistent look and feel, all 16 Handles franchise locations will offer frozen yogurts that are non-fat, Kosher-certified, and live and active cultures certified. Flavors will vary day-to-day and store-to-store, but will always include non-dairy and sugar-free options. 16 Handles is also an eco-friendly company.
The goal is to have 15 stores open in the next two years, Choi says.