There is a world-wide appeal to frozen desserts. They are universally loved in the way very few foods can claim. Whether it’s to cool people down, satisfying their sweet tooth, or just provide comfort after a rough day – everyone loves ice cream.
A 2016 poll in the US found that ice cream was in America’s top 3 comfort foods (along with Chocolate and pizza if you were wondering). ** Just image how chocolate ice cream with chocolate sauce would rank! From simple soft serve ice cream in a freshly made waffle cone to complex creations of fresh fruit and colorful toppings, people just love it.
So, let’s look at the industry in general, and consider some questions I get asked frequently from potential investors who want to be part of this exciting long term trend. We may love to eat Yoghurt and ice cream, but is it a good business? Are dessert franchises profitable? What is the best ice cream franchise? What does the future of the dessert industry look like? Let’s consider:
If you look at size, Baskin Robbins tops the list with more than 6,700 locations in 50+ countries worldwide. Dairy Queen also claims 7000+ locations in 28 countries. Following the 2 leaders, there are a slew of well-known brands like Ben & Jerry’s, Kona Ice, Yogen Fruz, Cold Stone Creamery, Rita’s Italian Ice, Dippin’ Dots, and Haagen-Dazs Shoppe. In addition to these long established concepts, exciting new brands like Yole, Orange Leaf, and Bahama Buck’s continually enter the world market.
Which is “best” is largely a matter of personal preference. There are many ways to define “best”. As a franchise broker and consultant, I want something a bit different. Dessert is not new in Asia, so any new brand looking to enter the market needs something that will set it apart from existing competitors to be successful. With the popularity of social sharing in Asia appearance is important. If it is worthy of an Instagram (or other app) photo and post, it is much easier to get traction in our region. Many of the developing countries are still price conscious, so while it is not the only thing to consider, concepts that are affordable to larger portions of population tend to work better. Of course it needs to taste great!
Before Covid, the global frozen dessert market was valued at $93.7 Billion USD (2018) *** Done right, it can generate high income in reasonable sized location, and generate decent ROI (return on investment). There would not be brands with 7000+ locations if they didn’t make money. The nice thing about desserts is that they do not require expensive kitchens, high salary chefs, and huge locations. All these things contribute to a profitable business model.
As mentioned above, I believe any brand needs to be unique in some way. One of our clients, Yole, from Spain, unique selling point is “Healthy ice cream, no sugar added with no compromise on taste”. They market 64% fewer calories and 59% less sugar. The natural organic materials do have sugar so they don’t say NO sugar. Without using additives like sweetener it wouldn’t be possible, but NO ADDED sugar is. The truly amazing thing is that they do it without losing the amazing taste.
In the past 20+ years people have cared about health. This need has finally hit Asia in the past 5-10 years. A few countries, like Vietnam, only in the last 3-5 years, but it is definitely a huge deal now. Particularly after the Covid related lockdowns of 2020 and early 2021. People will all be heading back to the gyms and watching what they eat. There is a lot of documented studies that show healthy is one of the key drivers in people’s culinary choices globally. Test it out for your market with a few Google searches and you will see what I mean.
Yole is a modern, natural, healthy, delicious ice cream and yogurt concept that is all about maximizing flavor, while minimizing calories and fat. It was developed over a 3 year period of research and development by the Spanish team. With 15 years of experience in the Ice Cream business for other brands, they decided to capitalize on this huge market need for healthy natural desserts. It is available in a wide variety of formats, including retail, providing its franchisees with flexibility and multiple revenue streams.
You can see a nice video about Yole here:
Additional information here:
Even though a young brand, it has expanded into a half dozen countries already with many more already in the works. Currently in Asia and the Middle East, it is available for Oman, Qatar, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Laos, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Korea, Japan, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Australia and New Zealand.
Several of these countries have groups in discussions, so please contact us if you are interested.
Yole as a company is looking at the long term, so they have very reasonable franchise fees and unit fees. Their dessert cafes are quite flexible in terms of size and design so reasonable to build and open. Their kiosks can be as small as 6sqm, which cost only around $15,000 + equipment to construct.
With the right development schedule, exclusive rights to a whole country can cost as little as $50,000 USD. More in depth cost analysis is available, please contact us for more information.
How to find out more?
In addition to the above links you may contact me at [email protected] or by WhatsApp/Zalo/Viber at +84 (0) 77 3039633.
Robert has over 25 year of F&B, including director level position in several well-known coffee franchises, and has lived in ASEAN for more than 13 years. He is currently the Director of Franchise Development & Operations at VF Franchise Consulting.