Choose a location for your self-serve yogurt store. The ideal location will get a lot of passers-by, have adequate parking for those customers coming specifically to visit your store and have plenty of floor space for tables, chairs, yogurt machines and toppings bar. You will also need counter space to place a cash register and receive payments. If charging by the ounce for your yogurt, as many of the national self-serve yogurt chains do, you will also need scales to weigh the yogurt.
Obtain licenses and permits. In most states, you’ll need both a general business license and a food handler’s permit to run any type of establishment that serves food. Contact your secretary of state for the general business license. The local board of health will take your application for a food handler’s permit. According to the National Ice Cream Retailers Association, as of 2011, there is no federal requirements for yogurt from the Food and Drug Administration. However, yogurt is regulated in multiple states, so check with your state’s board of health to ensure you’re following guidelines.
Buy equipment and supplies. In addition to tables, chairs, counter space, scales to weigh yogurt and common supplies like napkins, cups and spoons, you will also need to purchase yogurt machines. Remember to add a bar for toppings. The bar should have plenty of separate compartments. Purchase food supplies to create the yogurt and toppings such as candies, nuts and syrups.
Hire and train employees. Interview multiple candidates and choose those who are friendly and dependable. Train the employees how to greet customers, methods of weighing the yogurt and running the cash register. Ask them to add little touches, such as making sure new customers know where everything is located and passing out coupons for the customer’s next visit.
Set the prices for your yogurt. The majority of self-serve yogurt stores charge by the ounce. As of 2011, prices ranged from 39 cents to 50 cents per ounce at most franchised self-serve yogurt stores. To ensure your profit margin, calculate the cost per ounce of every topping and the yogurt.
Plan a grand opening event. Invite key local business leaders to a taste testing party. Send a press release to local media and invite key reports to attend the party. At the party, hand out coupons for the business managers and owners to hand out to their employees. On the day the yogurt shop opens, have an employee stand in front of the store and pass out free samples and coupons. Encourage repeat business by having a customer loyalty program in place. Pass out a card that the customer can have stamped and after 10 visits receive a free yogurt.