Franchise Chatter’s favorite frozen yogurt franchise is embarking on an aggressive, long-term growth initiative.
Founded by Phillip Chang in 2006, Yogurtland is recognized as a leader in the self-serve frozen yogurt sector. Yogurtland stores feature 16 original sweet and tart flavors of self-serve frozen yogurt from a rotating menu of more than 50 selections that include both classic and exotic flavors, including no sugar added choices. The thing that sets Yogurtland apart is its extensive selection of proprietary favors developed in-house. Unique flavors like Chocolate Coconut Trufle, Devil’s Food Cupcake Batter, and Guava Pineapple Tart keep customers loyal to the brand.
Today, Yogurtland has over 170 locations throughout the U.S., Mexico and Guam. The company expects to have 75 additional locations either open or in development by the end of this year.
Tony Ozelis, a Long Island native with more than 25 years of experience working in franchise real estate in the East Coast, recently joined Yogurtland as director of real estate for the East Coast region. With a primary focus on New York and New Jersey, the first item on Ozelis’ agenda will be to help the franchise system expand, with plans to open 20 new stores throughout the East Coast by June of this year — a very ambitious goal, indeed.
As the real estate developer responsible for bringing franchise giant 7-Eleven to New York City for the first time in 2005, Ozelis brings an impressive franchise real estate background to Yogurtland. His career began in 1985 when he worked for Pizza Hut, Inc. as a senior real estate representative. Ozelis later became the real estate manager for Boston Market (which was known as Boston Chicken at the time), before joining Best Friends Pet Resorts, a national pet care chain, as its national director of real estate. He was later recruited by Wendy’s International where he oversaw franchise development for the state of New York.
As part of Yogurtland’s plan to expand to more than 1,000 total locations by the end of 2017, Ozelis will focus on expansion in the Tri-State area surrounding New York City.
“I’m looking forward to joining the Yogurtland team and helping the company achieve its goals for franchise growth on the East Coast,” Ozelis said. “This is an exciting time for Yogurtland and I’m hoping to lend my expertise in real estate selection and franchise development to the continued expansion of this brand across the country and beyond.”
Outside of the Tri-State Area, Yogurtland’s growth is focused on existing markets in Texas (Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston and Austin), Atlanta, Portland and Seattle. Targeted new markets include Chicago, Alabama, Maryland, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.
Growth will come from a combination of single and multi-unit operators. Restaurant, food service or retail experience is a plus, but is not required.
Is the frozen yogurt trend sustainable enough to justify opening more than 800 new stores for a single brand over 5 years? Only time will tell. But my bet is that Yogurtland will be among the last brands standing.