Need to buy someone a gift but you don’t know exactly what they’d like? Many people rely on an old standby when they want to give someone a present: they give a gift card. Gift cards are a relatively easy way to give someone something. In fact, the two most difficult aspects of giving a gift card are 1) determining the type of gift card, and 2) figuring out how much credit to put on the card.
In our opinion, deciding on the type of gift card you should give is easy. Just about everyone loves soft serve, and there’s nothing better than self serve ice cream from a soft serve machine on a hot summer’s day. So why not give the gift of frozen yogurt or soft serve ice cream in the form of a gift card? Most frozen yogurt or soft serve franchises, and also independently owned shops, offer gift cards in various denominations – which makes this type of gift card a no-brainer for people of all ages.
Frozen Yogurt Gift Cards are Like Putting a Bow Around a Soft Serve Frozen Yogurt Machine!
Here’s a little experiment: The next time you want to give a gift (for any reason), purchase a gift card at a frozen yogurt shop. Put the gift card in an envelope and give it to the recipient. When he or she opens the envelope, pay special attention to his or her facial expression when it’s discovered that the gift card is for FroYo. In almost all cases, the person’s eyes will light up and a smile will quickly form on the recipient’s face.
Frozen yogurt or soft serve makes a great gift for several reasons. First, it’s yummy. Second, it allows a person to use one or several soft serve machines to create an optimal dessert. Third, eating frozen yogurt or soft serve is a social event – it’s fun. It is a perfect excuse to go out with friends and/or family members for a treat!
A Few Reasons to Give Frozen Yogurt or Soft Serve Gift Cards
You absolutely do not have to wait until somebody’s birthday to give a frozen yogurt or soft serve gift card. Why? Because it would be a shame to wait until a birthday to have the pleasure of operating a soft serve frozen yogurt machine or a soft serve ice cream machine. Other popular occasions that warrant the giving of a gift card include the following: anniversaries, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, graduation, end of season gift for a soccer, baseball, football or lacrosse team, or a teacher’s gift at the end of a school year.
You simply can’t go wrong by giving the gift of frozen yogurt and/or soft serve ice cream. After gift card recipients use the entire balance on the card by filling their cups to the brim with frozen yogurt or soft serve from the shop’s soft serve machines, they will be begging for more!
The Slurpee is related to the ICEE. The ICEE was invented in the mid-1950s by a man who is well-known in the historical world of frozen beverage dispensers. His name was Omar Knedlik. Mr. Knedlik was the original inventor of the frozen beverage equipment that produced the first version of frozen carbonated beverages – which were originally a type of “slushy” but eventually were named the “ICEE.”
In the mid-1960s, the popular convenience store chain, 7-Eleven, entered into an agreement with the ICEE Company to begin offering the frozen carbonated drinks at their store locations. However, the ICEE Company put certain restrictions on 7-Eleven. The rules were: 1) 7-Eleven was not allowed to call the frozen drinks being sold at their stores “ICEEs”, and 2) 7-Eleven was only allowed to sell the drinks in convenience stores located within the United States.
In order to differentiate the drink that would be dispensed from the frozen beverage machines at 7-Eleven from the original ICEE, the agency creative director for 7-Eleven, whose name was Bob Sanford, came up with the name Slurpee. He determined this word best described the noise people made when they drank the beverage through a straw. The name caught on, and the rest is history!
One reason the Slurpee became such a popular beverage over the years, and remains a favorite drink for individuals across the world today, is the fact that 7-Eleven patrons have the ability to self-serve their own Slurpee through the frozen beverage equipment located inside the convenience stores. Because they can self-dispense the drinks, customers are able to take their time selecting their favorite flavors, or they can create their own flavor mixture if they so desire. Also, it’s entertaining for individuals who don’t normally get to operate frozen beverage equipment to dispense their own drinks.
The Slurpee Has a “Cool” History
According to the website MentalFloss.com, following are some interesting facts about the Slurpee and the frozen drink’s history:
There are quite a few margarita machine and soft serve frozen yogurt equipment manufacturers that distribute products around the world. When you have made the decision to add frozen beverage equipment and/or a soft serve machine to your establishment – or if you are planning to open new store that will serve frozen yogurt or soft serve ice cream – it’s important that you do your homework before leasing or purchasing anything. It may be tempting to select a particular machine based on how it looks, its specific aesthetic features, or its price. But before making a decision, it’s important that you understand exactly what you are getting, and how it will serve your needs.
What are the Similarities and Differences?
When shopping for a margarita machine, soft serve frozen yogurt equipment, or frozen beverage equipment, you may initially believe that all of your options are very similar and the only apparent difference is the price. But there are other subtle variations with each and every model. Regardless, a few of the most important factors that should go into your decision making process are whether 1) the machine(s) meets required health and safety standards, 2) the machine has a good warranty, and 3) you will have access to a an extensive network of service providers in your area who know how to help you maintain and repair the type of machine you select.
How to Choose the Right Size Frozen Beverage Dispenser or Soft Serve Machine
The size of margarita machine, frozen beverage dispenser, or soft serve machine you select should depend on exactly how and where you plan to use the equipment. Will you place a margarita machine behind a bar counter? Will your frozen beverage dispenser and/or soft serve machine be self-serve or full-serve? Will your frozen yogurt machine be located in the kitchen area of your restaurant, or will it be out in the open for customers to see? In general there are two types of machines – those that are designed to sit on a counter and those that are designed to stand on the floor. Countertop models are usually smaller than free standing models – but each variety comes more than one size.
Is it better to lease or buy a frozen beverage dispenser and/or frozen yogurt machine?
There are pros and cons to leasing vs. buying a margarita machine, frozen beverage dispenser, or soft serve ice cream machine. Before making a decision, it’s important to consider several factors. For example, are you planning to add a frozen beverage dispenser to an already established business? Or are you opening a new shop and don’t want to commit to purchasing a soft serve ice cream machine until you know for certain that it will be profitable? If you are on the fence about leasing vs. buying your equipment, it’s important to work with a frozen beverage equipment and/or soft serve machine distributer that offers both options.
For more information about the frozen beverage equipment and soft serve ice cream machines distributed by Forte Supply, call one of our local distributors at (888) 610-5520. We are happy to answer all of your questions and help you make the best possible lease or purchase decision.
A lot more goes into opening and operating a successful frozen yogurt or soft serve ice cream shop than simply purchasing soft serve ice cream machines, loading them with frozen yogurt or soft serve mix, and opening your doors to customers.
In reality, there is considerable effort that must go into selecting the location for the shop, deciding about the interior design of the establishment, and determining how and where you will promote your business through marketing and advertising. But just as important as all of the preparations that must be completed prior to your shop opening for business is figuring out exactly who will work at your store.
As a new froyo or soft serve shop owner, you want your new venture to be successful. And it’s practically impossible to be successful if you have the wrong employees working there. By “wrong,” we mean individuals who are not friendly, not reliable, not responsible, and not willing to learn how to operate and handle your soft serve machines.
How to Select a Great FroYo Shop Employee:
Frozen yogurt is inherently fun. Soft serve ice cream is a treat. When people travel to your store, they are almost always happy and in a good mood because they are excited about the prospect of eating something frozen and delicious. Eating soft serve is a social experience. The last thing you want to have are employees who come across as unfriendly and intimidating.
Frozen yogurt machines and soft serve machines must be filled and cleaned. What good is a soft serve machine if it’s empty or in need of sanitary maintenance? The employees you hire must be responsible for keeping your soft serve machines stocked and ready to dispense at all times. Additionally, as a food establishment, your obligation to keep up with required cleanliness standards must be upheld – and this necessitates the assistance of your responsible employees.
Employees must handle money. If you can’t trust your cash register to your employees, who can you trust to take care of your store’s cash flow with a high level of honesty? Besides being responsible for displaying a positive attitude and an aptitude for keeping your soft serve machines functioning properly and efficiently, your employees must be able to handle your cash dependably.
You simply can’t do everything on your own. Some froyo or soft serve shop owners go into business believing they will have the fortitude and physical stamina to run things on their own – without ever needing outside help. While this is a great notion, it’s not always possible. It’s safe to assume that all shop owners will need help at one point or another. When you hire passionate, skilled, and enthusiastic employees, you will feel comfortable leaving your shop under their care when you are unable to be there. Making it clear to your employees that there is a potential for growth within your company (e.g. the possibility of a promotion into a managerial position) is a great incentive for them to continuously work hard and exceed your expectations.
Frozen Yogurt Shops Across the United States Use Groupons to Showcase Soft Serve Ice Cream Machines and Frozen Beverage Equipment
If you own a frozen yogurt shop, or if you own or manage a restaurant or convenience store that uses soft serve machines and frozen beverage equipment to dispense frozen treats, here is an exercise for you:
1. Open a search engine (Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc…)
2. Type in the words, “Frozen Yogurt Groupon”.
How many results did your search generate?
A “Groupon” is a “deal-of-the-day recommendation service for consumers. Every 24 hours, Groupon broadcasts an electronic coupon for a restaurant or store in your city, recommending that local service while also offering you a 40% to 60% discount if you purchase that service.”
Groupon works as a “middle man,” earning a commission by promoting your frozen yogurt or soft serve ice cream shop (or any other restaurant, service establishment, or retail outlet) by sending “Deal of the Day” e-mails to subscribers. These e-mails include promotions, coupons, or discounts on behalf of the establishments (“sellers”) that want deals promoted on their behalf.
When potential customers receive a deal-of-the-day e-mail from Groupon, they typically look at the e-mail and quickly determine whether it contains something they want to purchase. In the case of frozen yogurt machines or a frozen beverage dispenser, it’s possible for a shop owner, restaurant, or convenience store to post a wide variety of different promotional offers via Groupon.
When we conducted an internet search using the search terms “Frozen Yogurt Groupon”, we found that some of the most common Groupons offered by frozen yogurt and soft serve ice cream shops around the United States included:
Groupons normally have an expiration date. As a retailer, you can select terms and conditions for the Groupon, such as “must be used within 90 days of purchase date.”
One of the greatest things about a Groupon is that word can spread about your frozen yogurt machines and frozen beverage equipment very quickly. If your frozen yogurt shop or restaurant utilizes social media, it’s possible to notify the general public about your Groupon offer by simply talking about it on Facebook or Twitter. If the deal is too good to pass up, your Groupon will be promoted and forwarded by your fans and followers, requiring very little effort on your part.
At first glance, Groupon appears to be a dream come true for all food service establishments that want to showcase their soft serve ice cream machines or a new margarita machine. A groupon can increase sales and help make quick profits. However, it’s important to realize that a Groupon is not the only recommended method for generating new business.
Groupon is a great way to gain exposure for your frozen yogurt or frozen beverage business, but it does not necessarily address all advertising and marketing concerns. For example, customers have been known to purchase a Groupon for a frozen yogurt shop, but after using the Groupon, they may never return again. In other words, some people are “fair weather customers” – they only patronize a shop if there is a good Groupon available.
If you would like to explore the myriad of online coupon venues available to promote frozen yogurt or soft serve ice cream, we urge you to check out Groupon – or other businesses like it, such as Deal Chicken, LivingSocial, or Amazon Local.
People often wonder about the true differences between regular ice cream and soft serve ice cream. Is soft serve really just melted ice cream? This is what many people automatically assume. But soft serve ice cream is not simply ice cream that has been allowed to sit outside of a freezer for an extended period of time until it melts into a runny consistency. Soft serve is actually a product that is lower in milk fat than regular ice cream – soft serve usually contains 3-6 percent milk fat as opposed to 10-18 percent milk fat in the regular hard variety. Also, soft serve is not produced at the same temperature as is hard ice cream. Another difference is that soft serve ice cream contains a considerable amount of air – which makes it taste creamier, smoother, and lighter than hard ice cream.
Soft serve ice cream is a much newer concept than regular hard ice cream. It’s only been sold in commercial settings since the late 1930s. It’s said that Tom Carvel, who was the original founder of Carvel ice cream, “invented” soft serve. The way the story goes, Mr. Carvel was driving his ice cream truck through Hartsdale, New York when he had to pull over because his truck had a flat tire. When the ice cream in his truck began to melt, he decided he had to quickly sell it to the people in the vicinity. His customers loved the ice cream – despite the fact that it was melting. It was at this point that Mr. Carvel came up with the idea for a soft serve ice cream business.
The very first Carvel store opened in 1936 – ironically in the same location where his original ice cream truck had a break-down, and sold a newly developed soft serve recipe. And the rest is history! Eventually, Carvel stores opened in many areas across the country. Today, Carvel is one of the most popular and well-known soft serve ice cream brands in the United States.
Anyone who lived within close proximity of a Carvel store in the 1980s surely remembers this unforgettably famous Carvel television commercial – “Carvel Cookie Puss Doll Commercial” from 1985!
Today, there are Carvel soft serve ice cream stores in Alabama, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Texas, Vermont and Virginia.
There are theories as to how Carvel came up with the Cookie Puss name, but all explanations are currently considered “Carvel lore.” The Cookie Puss cake is described by Carvel as follows: “This frozen friend turns any party into a celebration, with layers of freshly made vanilla and chocolate ice cream separated by a layer of chocolate crunchies, all topped with a scoop of chocolate ice cream in a sugar cone, with two chocolate chip cookies, white icing, milk fudge, and shredded coconut.”
Chances are that if you live in a state with a Carvel, you’ve tasted a Carvel Cookie Puss soft serve ice cream cake at one point or another during your lifetime. If you have, let us know if it was your all-time favorite Carvel treat!
“The staff is very professional and knowledgeable. I purchased a couple of machines off of a shop that closed a couple of years back. Machines have never given me any major problems. The key is to smooth running machines is regular maintenance. The wearable parts program is a great investment and it simplifies the maintenance process. Chad and Kevin have been quick to answer any questions I may have. Great products, prices and service. I will continue to be a loyal wearable parts customer!”
Richard Padilla – Yolo Frozen Yogurt, Texas
We at Cloud9 Frozen Yogurt & Gourmet Coffee have purchased 6 Soft Serve Frozen Yogurt machines.
As with any purchase, there was a learning curve which Jeff and his staff expertly guided us through. Prior to our opening, Jeff came to visit our store and conducted training for not only the owners but our entire staff. This was an incredible learning experience and all of our staff were able to break down a machine, clean it and learn not only how to put it back together but also learn many trouble shooting tips so they are equipped to handle all aspects.
Any time we have questions, the service department is ready to help us.
The machines run very smoothly and we have little problems with this – I attribute this to well made machines, but most of all the pre-training we received and help along the way. We appreciate the excellent customer service we receive from Jeff & crew – they will go out of their way to help us and always check-up afterwards to make sure everything is still running smoothly.
Thank you Forte!
Cloud9 Frozen Yogurt & Gourmet Coffee
No matter how young or old you are, there’s a good chance you vividly remember the tune that an ice cream truck plays. Can you recall those hot summer days when you heard the sound of an ice cream truck in the distance? You’d hear it, get excited, and run inside your house and beg your mother or father for a dollar. Then you’d wait and wait for the ice cream truck to drive down your street.
Sometimes the truck did not make it to your block, and you and the rest of the kids who gathered with their money would be devastated! But when the truck did make it to you, the treat you purchased tasted really great. On those occasions, you felt very happy that you were lucky enough to purchase something from the ice cream man!
Fast Forward to 2014…
Nowadays, the frequency of ice cream trucks’ driving through neighborhoods has definitely declined. In fact, many of today’s kids have never experienced the thrill of hearing an ice cream truck’s tune in the distance or the pleasure of purchasing a cold treat from the ice cream man! But we are hoping to help change this trend, thanks to the resurgence of food trucks and the popularity of frozen yogurt.
Can a Frozen Yogurt Truck Replace the Old Fashioned Ice Cream Man?
According to the website culinaryschools.com, “Food trucks, or mobile venues that sell food, are a staple in America’s culinary landscape and have become increasingly trendy in recent years. Nearly three million food trucks troll our streets.” Also, “If you have got the culinary skills and business acumen, consider starting your own food truck business to take advantage of this growing phenomenon.”
An article published on the website www.mlive.com entitled, “Froyo on-the-go: West Michigan frozen yogurt shops branch out with mobile operation,” refers to two frozen yogurt shops that recently opened mobile frozen yogurt operations. According to the article, “The mobile units augment a mini boom in self-serve frozen yogurt shops around the area.”
A mobile frozen yogurt business is a great choice if you are thinking of breaking into the food truck business. First, frozen yogurt does require preparation, but it does not involve actual cooking. Second, frozen yogurt trucks are obviously mobile, so they can be re-positioned and moved depending on the time of year, a specific event, or the current weather. Or, they can be driven around neighborhoods in search of children hungry for a yummy treat!
If you are considering a venture into the increasingly popular food truck business and want to explore your mobile frozen yogurt options, contact us today. We will provide you with all the guidance you will need to get started.
It’s mid-March, and you must know what that means! It means the warm spring and summer months are just around the corner. In areas of the United States where swimming pools are not open year round, Memorial Day usually marks opening day. Adults and kids of all ages swarm to swimming pools when the weather heats up. They spend countless days at the pool during their summer vacations. Essentially, a swimming pool is the place to be during the summer!
For people who do not have a pool in their neighborhood, the goal is usually to find a local public pool to frequent or to secure invitations to friends’ or relatives’ swimming pools as often as possible, especially when it’s unbearably hot outside. As long as the weather is hot, pools remain a top attraction – and they stay crowded until they either close for the season – usually around Labor Day – or when the weather begins to get cooler in the fall.
When children and adults spend hours and hours at swimming pools, they get hungry. Some swimming pools offer snack bars and others do not. If you or someone you know is in charge of a swimming pool’s concession stand, you might be interesting in knowing that the addition of a soft serve machine could prove to be an extremely lucrative investment!
Many swimming pools that sell treats to pool visitors have freezers in which the store pre-packaged ice cream choices. However, due to the extreme popularity of soft serve ice cream and frozen yogurt that can be dispensed into a cup or cone on-demand, a soft serve machine might be the perfect addition to the snack bar at your swimming pool.
We are happy to help you select a soft serve machine that will fit within your pool’s concession area. Some of our smaller machines require just a few feet of space. All of our machines are easy to operate and maintain, and it’s simple to train summer employees how to use, re-fill, and keep soft serve machines clean and in good working order.
When swimming pool concession stands add soft serve machines, kids and adults come to the pool with extra money – in anticipation of purchasing a cup or a cone at some point during their stay at the pool. This is just one reason a soft serve machine can essentially pay for itself in as little as one summer season.
If your swimming pool concession stand typically offers only high-calorie choices and pre-packaged ice cream, the addition of a soft serve machine will be exciting to pool-goers! Why not provide customers with what they want on a hot day… a cool, refreshing serving of frozen yogurt or soft serve ice cream. With a soft serve machine’s ability to provide a treat that’s pool-goers want, you’re sure to make a nice profit.
Questions, issues or concerns? I'd love to help you!