2150 Irving St
(between 22nd Ave & 23rd Ave)
San Francisco, CA 94122
2240 Chestnut St
San Francisco, CA, 94123
1515 Fillmore St
(between Geary Blvd & Ofarrell St)
San Francisco, CA 94115
138 E 3rd Ave
San Mateo, CA 94401
Ever so often, a major trend sweeps across the Bay Area food industry creating buzz and a cult following. This has lead to an insurgence of Asian entrepreneurs in the frozen yogurt market.
The new trend of frozen yogurt is derived from larger corporate frozen yogurt companies such as Red Mango and Pinkberry. While traditional frozen yogurt stores such as TCBY (The Country’s Best Yogurt) feature a creamy yogurt, the new trend offers the perfect level of tartness, just enough to excite the palate but without creating an overpowering sour taste.
A few operators have been able to harmonizing decor and delicious frozen yogurt.
Amongst the several Bay Area frozen yogurt shops I have tasted, there are common patterns. Most have minimalist decor and attract mainly consumers from students to young professionals. One major reason for the growth of the frozen yogurt is the relatively low financial cost to enter the industry.
The major investment is the frozen yogurt machine.
On the business end, high gas prices has resulted in slimmer margins for operators since the delivery for goods has increased. Bad weather has correlated to poor business as well. After interviewing a few operators, a few has shined on center stage while others have failed.
Frozen yogurt is more that just a sweet treat, it is also part of our pop culture. On past Sex and the City episodes, Carrie Bradshaw holds a frozen yogurt while she “unloads” her problems to hear dear friends. Frozen yogurt is the new excuse to be on dates or get together with friends.
Unless you’re on an extreme budget, skip the frozen yogurt at Quickly’s. Attractively priced at only fifty nine cents, the texture is on the creamier side. The yogurt, developed with a joint partnership with Dreyer’s, misses the mark. On two occasions, the yogurt has bites of minature ice pieces making the yogurt watery in texture.
After graduating from UC Berkeley, Roy Lam worked for a hi-tech company but was not happy. He started Tuttimelon, which now has several locations in the Bay Area. Lam believes that his fat free yogurt helps improve an individuals’ daily diet with the aids of probiotic (dietary supplements containing potentially beneficial bacteria or yeasts).
Lam said, “The hardest part of being an entrepreneur is to know every aspect of a business including technical, legal issue, marketing, strategy, finance, and operations. Patrons can enjoy a cup of frozen yogurt (more on the tart side) while relaxing to vibrant green walls.
Attempting to stand out from the rest of the pack, Andy Choi started Jubili (frozen yogurt and cereal shop) derived from a business project in his class while attending UC Davis. Jubili imports and manufactures its own private label frozen yogurt and sorbert mix from Italy .
The smooth texture excites the palate pairing well with the trendy minimalist decor. Only twenty four years old, Choi’s entrepreneurial itch began early starting his first business at age fourteen. Currently already on his seventh business venture, Choi admits that finding proper funding and partners as the hardest challenge. As the son of a pastor, Choi learned from his father that creativity is paramount but business structure is critical.
Located on San Mateo restaurant row, owner Katherine Chen (UCLA alumni) is an innovator integrating a refresh bar into her hi-end optometry. Patrons relax in a modern elegance at their 16 foot communal table or designer ottomans. Chen serves natural fat free yogurt with active cultures and antioxidant-rich teas.
The noticeably frosty temperature and full bodied texture makes this place one of my favorite frozen yogurt. Aside from offering fresh fruits, her custom made flavored cubed mochi steals the show. Fresh shaved dark chocolate further adds to the experience.
As a mother of three, her flexible hours have helped her to balance being a mother, entrepreneur, and optometrist. Chen advises entrepreneurs to choose their employees wisely since they represent the company. Additionally, Chen believes the key to keeping employee turnover minimal is to create a positive and fun working environment. Chen said, “With a soft economy, high gas and food prices, and fierce competition, making your store stand out is key.”