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The frozen yogurt business has just gotten more competitive with the nationwide launch of Cold Stone Creamery’s own line of frozen yogurt in all of its locations. Cold Stone’s frozen yogurt will come in its signature flavors like Cake Batter, new flavor innovations like Pink Lemonade and Blueberry Pomegranate, and all-time favorites like French Vanilla, Strawberry, and Cookies N’ Creamery. The new line of low-calorie, low-fat, probiotic frozen yogurt was introduced in select locations in January 2011, and was apparently well received enough to justify a nationwide rollout.
Cold Stone’s frozen yogurt will be available alongside their super-premium ice cream to offer guests more options for creating the brand’s signature creations with fruit, nuts, and candy mix-ins. Cold Stone’s proprietary sweet and creamy yogurt mix can produce both sweet and tart varieties and all stores will feature at least one flavor of yogurt.
The brand also launched this past January a new retail format called the Cold Stone Creamery Yogurt Bar — a soft-serve, self-service frozen yogurt concept with seven current locations (Chesapeake, Va. – Virginia Beach, Va. – Scottsdale, Ariz. – Greensboro, N.C. – Charlotte, N.C. – Dublin, Calif. – Orange, Calif.). Additional stores are in design and construction.
It’s nice to see Cold Stone tapping into the current frozen yogurt trend. The additional investment on the part of franchisees appears to be limited to the product itself, and will give their customers something new to try. However, this new product line still doesn’t solve the perceived weakness of the concept, which is a labor intensive business selling low ticket items. Perhaps the self-service frozen yogurt bars are an attempt to address the issue of high labor costs. But I think Cold Stone is several years too late to the party, with most cities already blanketed with countless frozen yogurt shops.
It remains to be seen if this new frozen yogurt line will help revive the brand and bring back its sizzle. I do wish them all the best and commend them for being open to redefining the brand to suit their customers’ taste preferences today.