When considering opening up your own frozen yogurt shop, the first thing to think about is whether you want to buy a franchise or come up with a concept of your own. If you choose a franchise, consult an attorney who specializes in franchising. Frozen yogurt franchises have some advantages but they permit little if any personal expression. Familiarize yourself with trends in the retail yogurt market, such as probiotic ingredients, self-serve shops and new recipe twists. As fun and exciting as it is, you’re opening a business, which means you’ll be risking a significant investment.
Tips for Opening Frozen Yogurt Shop
Invest in your business plan. Your business plan is the first impression lenders and investors will get of you and your business, so make it professional and thorough. Don’t use cost generalities or engage in marketing speculations. Conduct a grassroots marketing and traffic survey. Include architectural design renderings of your shop’s interior and exterior. Know business and finance terminology and use it appropriately. Identify potential challenges and how you plan to approach them. Include research of your competitors as well as neighboring businesses that will be synergistic with your shop.
Location, Location, Location
Choose your location carefully. Frozen yogurt shops usually do best in high foot-traffic areas where parking is not a problem. Even if you have a unique recipe that will draw people from miles away to your destination location, you can face unintended consequences, such as complaints from the neighbors if traffic congestion creates a hazard.
Yogurt machines and construction expenses will be the two most significant costs associated with opening up your own frozen yogurt shop. Your yogurt machines are central to your success, so look for quality and reliability. You can consider getting used equipment but remember, the machines will be highly visible, so they should be attractive and blend in with the design of your shop.
Know the laws in your state having to do with business and marketing. States generally have very specific food regulations, especially those marketed with health claims. To illustrate the point, consider Pinkberry, a frozen desert chain that was started in Los Angeles. It marketed its product as “all-natural frozen yogurt” with only 50 calories per half-cup serving. In California, “frozen yogurt” must be made from milk that is fermented with specific bacteria, its ingredients must be prominently displayed and it must be mixed off-site rather than in stores. As for the calorie count, Pinkberry did have 50 calories per half-cup, but even the small size contained more than a half-cup portion. According to the “New York Times,” Pinkberry was fined $750,000 payable to the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank and Para Los Niños in a class action suit.
Get a Mentor
An invaluable asset in any entrepreneur’s life is having a trustworthy mentor who knows the ropes firsthand. It is important to find a mentor who is in the same business but is not a competitor. The National Business Incubator Association (NBIA) is a nonprofit organization that assists entrepreneurs in their endeavors through conferences, networking and professional development resources.