John and Jaime Coffman, the husband and wife team behind Fro Yo Spot, have owned their own contracting company since 1993. They opened their self-serve frozen yogurt shop in Parker, Colorado in February of 2011, and have since launched a franchising program to grow the Fro Yo Spot brand across the country.
Franchise Chatter (FC): Can you tell us a bit about the history of Fro Yo Spot?
John Coffman (JoC): We have some dear friends in San Diego that had opened a self-serve frozen yogurt shop years ago and we had been asking them to open one here. The summer of 2010, we decided to just open our own in Colorado. We set out looking for a location and opened on Feb. 1st, 2011. Combined with the help of our six children, our friends and family, it’s been an awesome experience.
FC: What are you doing to differentiate your franchise from all the other frozen yogurt franchises that have come before you? Is there anything unique about your product?
Jaime Coffman (JaC): Our goal is to be the “franchisee friendly” franchise. We want others to be as excited about their shop as we were, and to succeed in their business. Part of the way we are achieving this is a lower initial investment as well as lower royalty fees.
We use Yo Cream, which we feel is the best product out there. Fro Yo Spot has a few “exclusive” flavors that we mix ourselves.
FC: What kind of infrastructure do you have in place to support your future franchisees?
JoC: We have our own internal technologies and structure as well as the experience and resources of our franchise development consultant team. We are committed to the success of every franchise owner and continue to bring new growth tools to our system.
JaC: Through Tweets and coupon offers.
FC: What complementary products do you think make sense for frozen yogurt shops?
JoC: We offer a larger variety of frozen yogurt flavors with 16 individual options as well as the eight mixed flavors. We also offer a great selection of fresh toppings and drinks. We will watch trends to see if other products make sense for our business model.
FC: What can you tell us about your marketing strategy?
JaC: When we first opened, we advertised everywhere to get the word out, as well as test the waters to see who would come through. Those that brought in the most customers, we’re still with.
JoC: We use social media to increase brand awareness and keep our customers loyal. We use Twitter and Facebook mostly and update our flavors and send out discounts. We give incentives for referrals.
We also encourage local schools and nonprofits to have fundraiser nights at the store. It helps to support the community as well as bring in new customers.
FC: Frozen yogurt is seasonal by nature, at least relative to other food concepts. What are you doing to drive traffic during the colder months of the year?
JaC: We try to have better offers during the cold season. We have a few ideas for new products to test this winter and see if it increases sales. Stay tuned!
JoC: There is no doubt there are competitors out there as in most areas of franchising. As people get to know us and see our desire for them to succeed, as well as speak with our franchisees, they’ll see that we stand above the rest.
FC: How do you think things will shake out in the next 2-3 years?
JaC: Just as it has in San Diego, we expect the product to continue to bring the customers in. The dessert business will never go out of style. Even with all the money that goes into the “diet” industry, people will always buy treats! We also offer many healthy options for those who may be on a healthy kick. We have something for everyone.
FC: What are your growth plans for Fro Yo Spot?
JoC: We are aiming to open 5 new locations by the end of the year.
JaC: Although it’s not a franchise, we admire Chick-fil-A for their stand for integrity.
FC: What advice can you offer prospective franchisees who would like to open a franchised frozen yogurt shop?
JoC: Do your research, weigh your options, and get ready for a fun adventure; our whole family loves it!
FC: Is there anything else you wish to share about Fro Yo Spot?
JaC: We have created a model that provides the best product and environment at a fraction of the cost of the competition. This enables our franchise owners to open multiple stores for the cost of one of some of our competitor’s units. This increases overall revenues for the franchisees.