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FDD Talk: The Ben & Jerry’s Franchise Opportunity (Financial Performance Analysis, Estimated Costs, and Other Important Stuff You Need to Know)

by Franchise Chatter on March 4, 2016

in FDD Talk 2017: Food Franchises, Franchise Earnings, Frozen Dessert Franchise, Ice Cream Franchise



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Ben & Jerry's Photo by saschmitz_earthlink_net

In this FDD Talk post, you’ll learn the following:

  • Section I – Background information on the Ben & Jerry’s franchise opportunity, including relevant news updates
  • Section II – Estimated initial investment for a Ben & Jerry’s franchise, based on Item 7 of the company’s 2015 FDD
  • Section III – Presentation and analysis of Ben & Jerry’s financial performance representations, based on Item 19 of the company’s 2015 FDD, including information on the:
  • number (and percentage) of franchised Ben & Jerry’s scoop shops that operated continuously during the 52-week period ending December 31, 2014, and achieved 2014 gross sales of $600,000 and above; $500,000 to $599,999; $400,000 to $499,999; $300,000 to $399,999; $200,000 to $299,999; and less than $200,000, respectively (by venue type: “community center,” “fun to walk,” “quick fix,” and “tourist dream”)
  • number (and percentage) of franchised Ben & Jerry’s seasonal scoop shops that operated for an abbreviated number of months during the 52-week period ending December 31, 2014, and achieved 2014 gross sales of $600,000 and above; $500,000 to $599,999; $400,000 to $499,999; $300,000 to $399,999; $200,000 to $299,999; and less than $200,000, respectively (by venue type: “community center,” “fun to walk,” “quick fix,” and “tourist dream”)
  • number (and percentage) of franchised Ben & Jerry’s special venue scoop shops that operated during the 52-week period ending December 31, 2014, and achieved 2014 gross sales of $600,000 and above; $500,000 to $599,999; $400,000 to $499,999; $300,000 to $399,999; $200,000 to $299,999; and less than $200,000, respectively

Section I – Background Information

Do you remember the jingle from back in the day? “There ain’t no Häagen, there ain’t no Dazs, there ain’t no Frusen, there ain’t no Glädj, there ain’t nobody named Steve at Steve’s, but there’s two real guys at Ben & Jerry’s.” Well, except there isn’t now.

Ben and Jerry sold the company in 2000, making it a wholly-owned subsidiary of Unilever. However, through a unique acquisition agreement, an independent Board of Directors was created to provide leadership focused on preserving and expanding Ben and Jerry’s social mission, brand integrity, and product quality.

But let’s go back to the beginning. Ben and Jerry’s has a long and storied history in the ice cream franchise business. Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield were childhood friends from Merrick, Long Island. In 1978, they took a $5 correspondence course from Penn State on how to make ice cream, and renovated an old gas station to open their first scoop shop in downtown Burlington, Vermont. They also started selling pints to local restaurants and grocery stores from Ben’s Volkswagen camper van.

They started franchising the scoop shops in 1981, and now have more than 586 locations in the U.S., Canada, and 27 other countries around the world, as well as a presence in most major grocery stores and convenience stores everywhere.

Here’s how Ben and Jerry’s keeps things chilled out in the ice cream segment:

Free Cone Day

Ben and Jerry’s pioneered the concept of Free Cone Day, which they invented for their first anniversary and continue to celebrate every year to this day.

Innovative Flavors

Ben and Jerry’s was the first to get really creative with their ice cream flavors. Their first flavor named after a rock legend was Cherry Garcia in honor of the Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia.

The chain was the first to introduce the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough flavor which has become a staple for all ice cream brands. And it originated as an anonymous note scribbled on a scoop shop suggestion board!

From Chunky Monkey to Chubby Hubby, Ben and Jerry’s has come out with the craziest of flavors that customers love.

Social Responsibility

The Ben and Jerry’s Foundation was established in 1985 to give away 7.5% of the company’s annual pre-tax profits to fund community-oriented projects. In 2004, the company used Free Cone Day to register 11,000 voters with Rock the Vote, which was the group’s biggest one-day grassroots voter registration event ever. The company supports the Occupy Movement’s stand against economic inequality.

Environmental Responsibility

The company has always been deeply involved in the environmental movement, from taking a stand against Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH) in 1989, to teaming up with the Dave Matthews Band and SaveOurEnvironment to establish the One Sweet Whirled ice cream flavor and eco-action website to fight global warming, to protesting oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge with a 900-pound Baked Alaska on the capitol lawn.

Corporate Responsibility

Ben and Jerry’s is a B Corporation, which is the highest standard for corporate responsibility. A B Corp is a new type of corporation that uses the power of business to solve social and environmental problems.

Section II – Estimated Costs

  • Please click here for detailed estimates of Ben & Jerry’s franchise costs, based on Item 7 of the company’s 2015 FDD (updated).

Section III – Financial Performance Representations (Item 19, 2015 FDD) and Analysis



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