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Menchie is a nickname that Menchie’s founder Adam Caldwell gave to his wife Danna as well as his frozen yogurt chain; it is a self-styled variation of the Yiddish word “mensch,” meaning a good, decent person. The definition also permeates the philosophy of the company, according to franchisee Rich Ryan.
“The philosophy they inspire at the store level is very much in line with the meaning of the word,” Ryan said. “It was one of the things that really attracted us to the brand.”
Ryan described the Menchie’s company culture in his own words: “It’s to be good people and to spread that goodness to others — not just your guests, but your suppliers, your vendors — everybody you deal with.”
In partnership with his 26-year-old son Kevin, Ryan, 57, has been a multi-unit Menchie’s franchisee since mid-2012 after signing a three-store deal for Lehigh County, Pa. He opened his first 2,400-square-foot Menchie’s store in Allentown in July and his second unit is scheduled to open by the end of March 2013.
Introduction to the Brand
He was introduced to the brand in 2011 when he visited Kevin in Los Angeles and they went to a Menchie’s frozen yogurt store one night after dinner. After that first taste, they returned for dessert each night during Ryan’s stay.
“I was blown away,” Ryan said. “It was just a great operation. I had never seen self-service frozen yogurt before.”
And the concept stayed with him even after he returned to Pennsylvania. Ryan said he had been exploring the idea of investing in a franchise for about 10 years. As head of a construction firm, he was looking for a family business that would supplement his income during periods when a sluggish economy led to a downturn in construction projects.
A graduate of Miami University in Ohio with an MBA from Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ryan had spent 22 years in the corporate milieu working for companies such as Borden, Tyco International, and Warner-Lambert in brand management. He had researched a number of franchisors, including Rita’s Italian Ice and Desert Moon Cafe, but “there always seemed to be something missing.”
“Menchie’s had everything on my checklist coming in at 100 percent,” Ryan said. “We were always looking for a strong, unique concept that Menchie’s developed very well.”
Plus, the Menchie’s corporate team exhibited knowledge for building a brand, Ryan said.
“That was always something that some of these other concepts were falling short on,” he said. “With Menchie’s, it just seemed that the franchise team that was in place had a very good sense of how to build this brand long term and how to sustain it. ”