Starting A Frozen Yogurt Store

June 14th, 2011 by

Are you thinking about starting a frozen yogurt store? This article is an excerpt from our FREE Soft Serve Frozen Yogurt Business Guide – Click the book cover below for details on how to download for free.

Frozen Yogurt is making a comeback.

In the 80’s and early 90’s, soft serve frozen yogurt was a hot item. It was everywhere. Over time, the market matured and eventually became saturated. Frozen Yogurt started to gradually decline in the late 90’s and settled into a treat you could still find, but not as easily.

Flash forward to the past few years….Frozen Yogurt franchises like TCBY, Pinkberry, Red Mango, and a host of others are doing a bang up business.

But now, the newest concept is really warming up.

You’re probably reading this because you’ve  been to a self serve frozen yogurt shop and seen that it’s doing huge volume. You want in on the action and I can’t blame you one bit.

The hip self serve frozen yogurt concept is simple:
Between 8 and 16 flavors of low fat, non-fat and tart frozen yogurt flavors
a variety of berry and exotic real fresh-cut fruit toppings in addition to cereal and cookies and other candy toppings
curvy counter and furniture; accented with colorful hip floors and wall coverings
Plasma TV’s showing something “cool” like music videos
Plasma TV’s above the counter with an animated menu
Customers grab a big cup, pick their favorite flavors and toppings and create their very own dessert masterpiece. Then they walk up to the register, put the cup on the scale, and swipe their card. This customer control of the process is key to making it fun. It also keeps the line moving fast and reduces labor costs.

The self serve frozen yogurt concept is exploding across the US and growing internationally as well. If you have the money or have access to financing, it’s a great business to get into. One shop can make you a good living, but it’s best to look at the venture as a business where you would operate 3 or 4 (or more) stores in any given territory.

You might be asking yourself, “this all sounds great….but what if the market becomes saturated again, and the market softens like it did in the late 90‘s”?

I understand the concern. The difference between now and back then is that they weren’t running the self serve concept. As I mentioned above, the beauty of the self serve concept is that you have a reduced labor expense, can move a line very fast and people love to create their own treat. Another difference in self serve is the “charge by the oz.”, so you don’t have to worry that your employees are “over serving”.

The business might mature again and even slow to a certain degree. But it’s  still an excellent business model in comparison to the yogurt shops of the past. Even if a store slows down, it will still have a good chance of staying very profitable.

The biggest roadblock to getting in this business is probably start-up cash.  It costs  less to open a basic ice cream parlor than it does one of these yogurt stores. To do it right, a self serve yogurt shop requires a much greater amount of start up capital than a typical ice cream parlor. A self serve frozen yogurt store is not easy to get into on a shoe string budget. It can done for less than the $300-$400k the franchises tell you is necessary, but again, it’s going to be a substantial investment. If you are trying to do it on a shoe string budget, you can definitely go with used machines to try to keep your costs down. The challenge is finding uniformity in used machines. Finding 4 to 8 used machines in good condition, that are appropriate for the self serve concept (be careful what you buy – don’t make the mistake of buying the wrong machines).

When a customer first walks in to the store, it is critical that they see “hip décor” and the place screams new and fresh.

At we want to help you choose the right concept for your specific situation. We can help guide and keep you from making basic mistakes.
Reading this guide is stage 1 of your business planning. There is some great information in this guide to take you to the next level. Once you have done basic research, you might want to consider our higher level consulting service. These consulting packages can include 1 on 1 coaching calls to address your specific questions directly and comprehensively. offers the best prices on soft serve machines and other key equipment pieces. Volume discounts DO apply. As does local service, set up and machine training.

Let’s get a little deeper into what’s out there today, and what it takes to start and run one these businesses.

Neil Williams

KeyWord Farm, LLC
877-632-2210 (fax)
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