TCBY Review ~ The Inside Stories

TCBY Review

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TCBY "The Country's Best Yogurt" Review
Posted by Karl Keller
Business Owner & Franchise Wisdom Editor

TCBY Enterprises Inc. was founded in 1981 by Frank Hickingbotham. Hickingbotham got the idea after he tried frozen yogurt for the first time, exclaiming, "This can't be yogurt!" The initials of that outburst became the name of the company. Now renamed to stand for "The Country's Best Yogurt," TCBY has locations across the United States and in more than 60 countries.






















Startup Costs, Ongoing Fees and Financing

Total Investment:  $143,800 - $343,400
Franchise Fee:  $19,900
Ongoing Royalty Fee: 6%
Term of Franchise Agreement: 10 years, renewable

Financial Requirements
Net Worth: $200,000
Liquid Cash Available: $100,000

- Number of employees needed to run franchised unit: 3-6
- Absentee ownership of franchise IS Allowed
- Less than 10% of all Franchisees own more than one unit
- 60% of current Franchisees are owner/operators
- Training is available at Headquarters (11 days)

There's nothing more that my kids like on a warm summer afternoon (heck, in the winter for that matter) than taking a trip to our local frozen yogurt shop (the nearest to us is a Sweet Frog Premium Frozen Yogurt store).  Not only is the yogurt great tasting and healthy for you, the kids love the wide assortment of toppings (to be honest, they're not so healthy).  So how does this relate to this review?

Well, the frozen yogurt trend has definitely hit the U.S.  Considered to be the grand-daddy of the frozen yogurt chains, TCBY is the first and longest running franchises which started in 1981.  However, more recently, in the past 10 years, the number of frozen yogurt chains has exploded.  Whether it's TCBY, Pinkberry, Sweet Frog, Yogurtland, Red Mango, or Orang Leaf to name just a few, they're all trying to position themselves in the "Premium Frozen Yogurt" niche.

As a general rule, most of these chains will be a decent franchise for a potential Franchisee to consider.  Part of the decision on which on to look at will be which ones are available for purchase in the area(s) you're interested in placing one.  Most of the franchises, are located in about 20 or States and have a regional flavor to them and all are between 100 and 200 franchises in total (the exception is TCBY which is in 47 States and over 450 franchises).

In TCBY's case, as you can see they are located pretty in just about every State (Alaska, Vermont, and Rhode Island were the only States without one at the time of this review)  If not, and you have your heart set on opening a yogurt shop, you'll need to consider one of the other chains that are located in your area or be willing to wait until TCBY expands into your area (see graphic on the right for States with an TCBY franchise). Interestingly enough, it appears that Texas is one of the few, if not the only one, that appears to have all of the different chains I've mentioned in this review with outlets in their State.  So, if you live there, you definitely have choices.

Every one of the yogurt franchises I mentioned above would be a good choice for an enterprising entrepreneur.  Yogurt is one of the higher-profit products you can sell, so as long as you select a good location you should do pretty well. My two concerns are: 1) premium yogurt shops are the cheapest place to buy yogurt and during difficult economic times may not make the cut since it is discretionary money, not a "must have or need" item, and 2) how long will the yogurt trend last.  Does it have staying power?  Will the market get crowded with too many chains offering basically the same product?  Right now that isn't a big problem but all of the chains mentioned above (TCBY not so much) have all experienced rapid growth and expansion over the past five years.  So far, not that big a deal as they're still regionalized but if they continue to grow and expand into each other territories... well, something's going to give.  Again, not a concern today but something to look out for in the next five years.

So, if you want to get into the frozen ice cream... err, I mean yogurt, business, TCBY (or one of the others if you're ine one of the three unlucky States) will work today, and hopefully into the future.  They've re-invented themselves and are able to better compete with the young "upstarts" that are challenging their market share.

No matter what though, as I always say, please do your Due Diligence so you can make the most informed decision.  There are other options out there and you owe it to yourself to make sure that you're putting your money, time, and effort to best use.  After all, it is YOUR money.  Take a look around... literally look around on this page, specifically to the right of this review.  Take a moment to fill out the form and find out what's behind the proverbial door.  You just might be surprised at what you find.

Key "Pros" Of This Business

The original frozen yogurt franchise... still going strong
Largest number of franchises and in almost every State
Green Business
Quality Product
Few Employees

Key Headaches ("Cons") To Consider

Moderate to High Start Up Cost
Seasonal Demand
Limited Product Mix

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