In this exclusive Q&A, we learn about Churned Creamery from its co-founder and vice president, Jay Yim. Jay is an Orange County native who has over twenty years of experience in the restaurant industry and enterprise-level organizations. Throughout his professional career, Jay has been responsible for the establishment of over ten successful businesses including restaurant operations, equipment sales, and real estate. Currently, Jay is the owner of Creamistry Franchise, Inc. Jay also co-founded and is an active partner at Churned Creamery International, Inc. and Innovative Food Systems, Inc.
Franchise Chatter (FC): What was the spark that made you bring Churned Creamery to life?
Jay Yim (JY): I was on a business trip to Italy in 2015. While exploring the country, we came across a new ice cream churning machine. I was impressed with this machine because it was something I hadn’t seen before yet. The machine made small-batch, freshly churned hand-crafted ice cream right in front of the customer and served right out of the barrel.
We saw the potential of this kind of technology and how it was going to revolutionize the ice cream industry, so we took this opportunity and decided to bring the concept to America. In doing so, we created Churned Creamery.
FC: Why take the churned ice cream route amongst the other dessert options available these days?
JY: At Churned Creamery, we take tremendous pride in our ice cream and churning process. Our advanced machinery eliminates lengthy wait time and manual labor, while giving us the freedom to simultaneously create and scoop small, fresh batches of ice cream. It also adds a new element to the in-store experience – tasting ice cream fresh from the barrel!
We took the churned ice cream route because we wanted to do something different and innovative. We incorporated the traditional method of making ice cream and put a modern twist to it. We do not store our ice cream in freezers. Additionally, our ice cream is not shipped in from another vendor. It’s the first time customers can enjoy ice cream right out of the churned barrel.
We also saw that made-to-order ice cream is increasingly becoming popular nowadays. At Churned Creamery, customers can customize their order by adding whichever freshly churned ice cream scoops or toppings they want in their orders.
FC: We are told that Churned has one corporate location with the rest being franchises. Why go the franchise route?
JY: Churned Creamery in Tustin, CA is our corporate store and we have another corporate store soon to open in Rancho Santa Margarita, CA. We have chosen to franchise because of the rapid growth that franchising allows. Additionally, it allows us to open stores where we cannot operate due to distance.
We are passionate about what we do and want to share it with everyone else. With franchising, we can reach more people and, in return, both our franchisees and customers are able to indulge in our freshly churned ice cream.
FC: Prior to founding Churned Creamery, did you have experience in franchising or restaurant operations?
JY: Yes, I have experience in franchising and restaurant operations through Creamistry Franchise, Inc., which is Churned Creamery’s sister company. Creamistry is another ice cream franchise I own, which utilizes liquid nitrogen to freshly produce made-to-order ice cream in front of the customer. Creamistry has been around since September 2013, and since then, I’ve learned a great amount of what works and what doesn’t work. I’ve applied much of what I learned from owning Creamistry to what I am doing now at Churned Creamery.
FC: Do you have plans to open additional franchise locations this year and beyond?
JY: Yes, Churned Creamery is on track to have 10 stores in California, Texas, and Florida open by end of 2017 and projected to open another 20, possibly with some international locations, in 2018. Our goal is to have 30 open stores by end of 2018.
We see ourselves as one of the fastest growing innovative brands within the frozen dessert industry segment. Though we are looking to grow quickly, we are also making certain that we are growing strategically with our own capabilities to ensure the success of the franchisees and making certain that we provide the level of ongoing support that is needed in each market.
We see quick, but efficient and strategic growth in the next 5-10 years, domestically and internationally. Backed by a team with robust backgrounds in entrepreneurship, franchise consulting, restaurant management, design, and marketing, Churned Creamery is at the forefront of the industry, and prepared for tremendous growth.
FC: What is your management style for ensuring your franchisees are engaged overall?
JY: We offer comprehensive corporate support, in-depth training, and access to the best equipment. Our Franchise Program is streamlined and efficient whether you have a single store or multiple locations. We have a system and follow protocols to ensure consistency and protect brand identity. From site selection, to training, grand opening, and on-going support, we support our franchisees for success.
We also offer all the necessary marketing tools to optimize our presence in the market. We utilize the most effective marketing tools and platforms to keep Churned Creamery relevant in the marketplace, reach new and expanding customer bases, and leave people craving more of our fresh churned ice cream.
FC: What do you enjoy the most about this business?
JY: The ice cream, the experience, interacting with our customers, and working with our team and our franchisees. Having a passion for ice cream, I get to enjoy something that I love each day. Being a part of the ice cream industry has been very rewarding. It’s always great to see our customers’ reactions when they taste our ice cream.
I also work with amazing individuals and many friendships come out of working in this business.
FC: Do you have any advice for anyone looking to purchase a franchise that is new to the game?
JY: I think that it’s important to consider what your day to day life is going to be like. Not just the investment and returns. You want to make sure that you’re doing something that you enjoy so work doesn’t have to be work.