Saturday, February 7, 2009
Zuckersüss Q & A
Fro-yo girl here. I have the utmost admiration and respect for entrepreneurs like Matt Kimball (owner of Zuckersüss) who care about providing quality fro-yo to the public.
FYG: How would you describe Zuckersüss and how is it different makes from other fro-yo shops?
Matt: I would describe Zuckersüss as a self-serve, all-natural frozen yogurt bar. The biggest difference between us and the vast majority of other fro-yo places is that we serve actual yogurt (400 million cultures per gram) and not "original" or "original tart" or anything else masquerading as real yogurt in taste alone. I really wanted to focus on healthy and fun, so having a really good yogurt that is really good for you, as well as really good produce, was paramount.
You'd be surprised how many fro-yo spots use cheap, cheap stuff that isn't all that good and pretend it's good for you. Same goes for the fruit, which isn't always fresh at lots of places (especially self-serve ones). Our produce jobber is the best in the Bay Area and most produce is sourced from local farms.
As for the fun part, I tried to make the interior as fun and inviting as possible without copying the cheap plastic furniture model and bright green scheme. I wanted it to be plush and swanky and fun.
FYG: How does live music fit into your vision for Zuckersüss?
Matt: As an independent musician, I have a passion for music and an understanding of the business and industry. What I want to do is to have a place where customers can be exposed to good music that they wouldn't normally encounter. To this end, I hope to select a handful of high-quality local musicians with CDs to sell for $9.99, while incentivizing customers to try them out by offering them their yogurt free (same as with the shirts). We get to offer something unique to our customers, the musicians get exposure and a sale they wouldn't normally get, and the customer gets a great value and a chance to find the best music they might have never heard otherwise.
Of course live music is another point, and we've had a few really great pianists in the store already. Perhaps we'll get to the point where we can have a regular open mic night for musicians and other artists, and I'd also like to get a white acoustic guitar soon. We give people 10% off when they play a good song.
FYG: Any plans to add another flavor of yogurt?
Matt: I'm on the lookout for real, all-natural product...so if another flavor makes itself available, I'll certainly give it a try, but I want it to be real.
FYG: What inspired you to open a fro-yo shop?
Matt: I was inspired by Pinkberry. I'm not ashamed to say it. I visited Pinkberry when they had just opened their second store and immediately wanted to do something similar up here. It's been almost three years trying to get this store opened. I was down in Hollywood on music business and my brother, who lives down there, insisted I go to this amazing new store (Pinkberry), so we went. We stood in line for 30 minutes. The thought of good yogurt with fresh fruit was what inspired me (even though I was duped and it turned out I was eating junky yogurt with fresh fruit). What I wanted to change was the fact that I stood in line for 30 minutes and couldn't even decipher the menu, and then only to get a stingy amount of blueberries and at that with a gaping hole in the bottom of my cup--self-serve was the solution to all three.
I guarantee that if you took a cup of our yogurt side by side with the same cup and with the same toppings as a Pinkberry, we'd be cheaper - even though we have better, more expensive yogurt...better, more expensive fruit...green cups & spoons...and no economies of scale since we're a small, local business.
Matt, congratulations on opening Zuckersüss and thank you for taking the time to share your fro-yo vision with the readers of Fro-Yo Girl Speaks.
You know you love me. X0 X0, fro-yo girl.
* ZUCKERSUSS: 1081 B St., Hayward, CA