Yogurtland Gets Real: Real Flavors, Real Growth

It’s an especially great time to franchise with Yogurtland. “We’ve opened new markets. We are growing aggressively in new areas, increasing our presence in the Northeast and Midwest, and we’ve added key personnel to strengthen our infrastructure and enhance our support in all facets of the business,” says Larry Sidoti, vice president of development at Yogurtland.

“We continue to be the only frozen yogurt company within the category that creates its own flavors,” says Sidoti. “We have talented and substantial R&D and product development teams. Our flavors and our quality continue to stand out above everyone else in the industry; no one can compete with us on that.” Yogurtland has more than 200 locations and plans to open 50 more stores in the first half of 2013.

The company recently repositioned its slogan from “You Rule” (customers do pull their own yogurt, after all) to “Get Real.”

“We use the highest quality ingredients in our yogurt. Real products. We have been mostly silent on product quality as a differentiator. It seemed as if that story hadn’t been told, and now we’re telling it with our Get Real campaign,” says Sidoti.

“Our average unit volume is still the highest in the industry. We attribute that to our philosophy of delivering the highest quality product with the best value proposition.”

Yogurtland wants franchise candidates with experience in food service as well as franchisees who already have a portfolio with noncompeting brands. “They like Yogurtland because we offer a strong business model supported by a solid infrastructure that complements their existing brands,” says Sidoti. By quick-serve standards, Yogurtland is affordable, with startup costs of about $350,000 to $400,000.

Most Yogurtland franchisees want to be multiunit operators; many partners operate between two and 10 units.

“We have a unique culture from the top down that really resonates with our franchisees. It’s an environment based on mutual trust and respect. Corporate doesn’t act as a dictator. We work with franchisees to get the best answers and solutions. Our role as franchisor is to serve and support our franchisees,” Sidoti says.

Yogurtland hears input from franchisees through a number of committees. “These committees and groups are a way for our franchisees to have an impactful voice and be involved in the process,” says Sidoti. “We reach out to franchisees for their opinions. We seek information from operators in other systems, plus we have a lot of experience in this office. All of that is a big competitive advantage for us in the marketplace.

“Ours is an engaging culture, one in which the franchisee is valued in the decision making process. Corporate has to lead the company and steer the ship, but we like to have our franchisees involved in key decisions. When you look at the whole package, Yogurtland does a great job of putting it all together.”

The company is now in its seventh year. “We have a proven business model. Our average unit volume is still the highest in the industry. We attribute that to our philosophy of delivering the highest quality product with the best value proposition—the best price,” says Sidoti. “We come into a market at a lower price than our competitors, and we hold that price with better products. Because of our sales volumes, we have enormous buying power.” Savings get passed on to the customers.

I find when you look around the country and visit other yogurt shops and chains, they are not talking about being in the yogurt business,” Sidoti says. “I see lots of gimmicks used to take the attention away from the product. We celebrate the fact that we are in the yogurt business, and we are going to continue to improve and be the best at what we are and what we do: great frozen yogurt. We put out the best product, we do it at a great value to our consumers and by default we really do make them smile.”

For more information about franchising opportunities with Yogurtland, visit www.yogurt-land.com