Q and A: How Many Self-Serve Frozen Yogurt Machines Do I Need?
The number one question new self-serve frozen yogurt shop owners want the answer to is how many soft-serve ice cream machines does one shop really need? Although there is no “right” answer there is a method to the madness and that can lead to substantially increasing profits for your business.
Instead of taking a wild guess with the amount of machines you’re planning to order, let’s look at five main driving factors.
1. Start-up money: Understandably this tends to be the number one factor. Thanks to growing completion in the self-serve frozen yogurt industry over the last few years, a few new companies have emerged offering frozen yogurt / ice cream machines at about half the cost what a new Taylor machine would be (Forte Supply is one of those companies). This gives even the “smallest” guy a chance to be extremely competitive with today’s major players.
2. Competition: Who is your competition? Where are they located? How many machines do they have? What are they offering to their customers? You don’t have to go machine-for-machine and you can get creative with your menu. You may find that by offering fewer flavors than your competitor, your customer will appreciate not having to choose from such an extensive list
3. Location size: Obviously size matters. You are going to need at least 6 inches in-between machines and at least one foot clearance behind the units.
4. Size of the Menu: This is where your uniqueness will shine through. You could have 1 machine dedicated to the tried and true chocolate and vanilla combo, another machine for sorbets, another for gluten free, another for vegan, a dedicated machine for “sugar free”… The options are endless but you should have an idea of what type of frozen yogurt mixes you are planning on using. This will help determine how many machines you need to serve the type of frozen yogurt mix you want.
5. Type of Machine: Air-cooled machines are completely appropriate if you are considering purchasing 1-6 machines. However, once you go past six, room temperature will be affected. You may find that you need to discuss this with your A/C contractor prior to construction. Refer to “Location Size” for an idea of how much room you will need for your ice cream units.
Since the re-emergence of froyo is relatively still new, there isn’t much data available that would suggest a shop with 12 froyo machines will out preform a shop with only 6.
As I suggested earlier, many consumers are not looking for a menu that contains everything under the sun. Rather, a few machines with today’s best frozen yogurt mix and a plethora of toppings could be the key to your success.
In closing I encourage you to shop around and find a company that will not only provide you with high quality frozen yogurt machines but also pay attention to the service offered. Frozen yogurt machines are similar to cars in the sense that maintenance is required. It is my personal suggestion to stay away from companies that demand you exclusively use their service techs when they are few in number and slow to fix your issue.