Tuttimelon opened its first location on February 2, 2008 at 2015 Irving St. in San Francisco. I was there on day one when they only had one flavor, original tart. By Feburary 2010, they had 16 locations in the Bay Area and one in Canada. By August 2010, they had 25 locations. The next year they opened more locations in the US and added locations in Hong Kong and the Philippines. At one point, it seemed like there was a Tuttimelon in almost every neighborhood in San Francisco. They had more locations in San Francisco than any other froyo company (a record that still hasn’t been broken).
Sad times followed as locations started to close. What happened? I can only speculate. The frozen yogurt tasted great and they developed their own flavors. Their gelato was good too.
The main reason that so many Tuttimelon locations closed is probably legal. The California Corporations Commissioner ruled that Yoogo Corporation violated Corporations Code section 31110 by selling franchises which they called trademark license agreements but that were franchises under California law. A desist and refrain order was issued in October 2011 whereby Yoogo Corporation was ordered to desist and refrain from the further offer or sale of Tuttimelon franchises, or any other franchises, unless and until the offers have been duly registered under the Franchise Investment Law, or exempted thereunder. The Yoogo Corporation has been dissolved. The fees and penalties associated with selling a disguised franchise are quite high and likely this is what led to Tuttimelon and Teaway's demise. Interestingly, Tutti Frutti was also found in violation of franchising laws though they offered licensing agreements to shop operators.
As a customer, I noticed two other factors:
(1) Lack of marketing and community involvement beyond the grand opening. Their grand opening celebrations always attracted big crowds and they were generous about giving out free froyo and prizes. But after the grand opening, I didn’t notice much marketing. I didn’t hear about community outreach and involvement either. They stopped updating their Facebook page for Tuttimelon and Teaway in 2013. Their website looks like it hasn't been updated in years.
(2) Inconsistent customer experience and product quality. I noticed that some locations didn’t accept coupons and gift cards from other Tuttimelon locations and the stamp cards only worked for certain locations. There wasn’t a consistent policy across locations. I also started to notice that the fruit and toppings weren’t always fresh. The Chinatown location froyo texture always seemed runny. I assume that they grew so fast that they weren’t spending enough time on quality control.
I went to Tuttimelon in Alameda, CA last year and had a cup of the Original Tart. It was still tuttilicious, so that made me happy.
The remaining Tuttimelon locations in the US are:
- Alameda, 2402 Central Ave, Alameda, CA 94501 (also a Teaway)
- Fairfield, Solano Town Center, 1350 Travis Blvd F13, Fairfield, CA 94533
- Novato, Vintage Oaks At Novato, 132 Vintage Way #F-9, Novato, CA 94945
- Ontario, Ontario Mills, 4449 Mills Cir, Ontario, CA 91764
You know you love me. X0 X0, fro-yo girl.
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