How to Start a Frozen Yogurt Business

Selling frozen yogurt successfully is more than just finding a frozen yogurt machine for sale. While ice cream, frozen yogurt, and other frozen dessert offerings remain among the most popular foods in America, retail sales of frozen yogurt have gone down about 10% over the last few years as the market is saturated with shops. Everyone is grabbing a frozen yogurt machine for sale these days; so how can you make your shop stand out and be successful?

Scope Out Your Competition

What kind of dessert offerings are already available in your area? Are there a lot of businesses that have an ice cream machine or soft serve machine in the nearby area, and how successful are they? If the market is busy in a particular area, but not yet saturated, this could be a good place to set up something unique. On the other hand, if the area is already pretty well covered for ice cream and frozen yogurt, it can be worth your while to find out if customers are all local or if they’re coming from other areas. If a lot of customers are traveling, then you could consider going to them.

Consider a Niche Idea

Everyone is pretty familiar with basic frozen yogurt and the traditional toppings. Is there way that you can stand out? Some suggestions include selling parfaits and smoothies, offering tart and unsweetened frozen yogurt that can then be sweetened up to the customer’s personal preference by various toppings, and experimenting with unusual flavors. You might also consider selling wholesale and in bulk rather than simply by the cone or cup. Finally, as people begin to wake up to the reality that low-fat isn’t actually healthier, you can really stand apart from the frozen yogurt crowd by offering full-fat frozen yogurt. (This will also make your product more delicious!)

Consider Buying a Franchise

While you could grab a frozen yogurt machine for sale and set up your own shop, it could also be worth your while to invest in a franchise opportunity with a well-established brand such as Sweet Frog, Yogurt Mountain, Pinkberry, or one of the many others. At the very least, you get some experience in the field. If you can make a real go of it, you might be able to sell your franchise later and start your own shop.

Make Sure You Understand the Legalities

It’s not enough to just buy a frozen yogurt machine for sale or a used ice cream machine and just start selling desserts. You can earn some pretty serious fines and even criminal prosecution for trying to conduct business without the right licensing. You’ll need a business license, food permit, insurance, certificate of occupancy for your building, federal tax identification number, and a permit for your alarm system at the very least.

Make Sure You Have the Money

In order to be successful you’re going to need to buy not just one frozen yogurt machine for sale, but five, one large refrigerator and one large freezer (both with two doors), a display with sneeze guard, a POS system, tables and chairs, kitchen equipment like sinks and basins, supplies, a menu board, rent for your building, signage, and whatever you might need for your opening promotion. At a minimum, a small scale frozen yogurt business should be budgeting about $25,000 to open. A large-scale operation should set aside a minimum of $300,000.

Think About How You’ll Promote Your Brand

It’s not enough to simply open the shop. You also need to promote your brand, and you can do that by hosting events, leveraging social media, taking out ads, and starting up a loyalty program that makes it worth people’s while to come back. It also doesn’t hurt to hold contests, participate in school fundraisers, send out coupon mailers, and develop flavor contests to get people invested in your particular brand. To keep your customers, you need to make sure your employees are friendly, your servings offer good value for the money, and that you are faithful to all your loyalty programs.

These are just some of the things it takes to start a successful frozen yogurt business. It’s not impossible, but it does take careful thought. Good luck!

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