Thursday, May 30, 2013

Introducing Three New Yogurtland Summer Refreshers Flavors

Fro-yo girl here. I love, love, love the idea of seasonal frozen yogurt flavors. Yogurtland has just introduced three new limited time only "summer refreshers" fro-yo flavors: Root beer float, Orangesicle, and Hibiscus Passion Fruit sorbet. 

Hibiscus passion fruit sorbet is the most refreshing of the three but my favorite is the very creamy Root beer float. The root beer flavor is quite pronounced and it's followed by a mellow vanilla flavor. The creamy Orangesicle flavor didn't have enough orange flavor for me but I found it interesting that they combined a sorbet with a yogurt.

I've included the Yogurtland press release below. Remember to use your Yogurtland mobile app to find the new flavors.

You know you love me. X0 X0, fro-yo girl.

Yogurtland Kicks Off Summer with New and Nostalgic Refreshing Flavors

New Hibiscus Passion Fruit Sorbet, Orangesicle and Root Beer Float Frozen Yogurt Available for a Limited Time

(IRVINE, CA) May 30, 2013 – Nothing beats summer heat like an old-fashioned root beer float, a frozen orange-cream pop or the cool refreshing taste of hibiscus and passion fruit.  Beginning today, Yogurtland will offer these three (non-fat) flavors - Orangesicle Frozen Yogurt, Root Beer Float Frozen Yogurt and Hibiscus Passion Fruit Sorbet - for a limited time only.

Yogurtland’s new Hibiscus Passion Fruit Sorbet is a non-fat, dairy-free take on a popular and refreshing drink and contains real hibiscus and passion fruit for a fresh tropical taste.

Orangesicle is Yogurtland’s version of the classic treat that combines tangy orange sorbet with creamy vanilla yogurt.

Yogurtland’s Root Beer Float flavor blends old-fashioned root beer with creamy vanilla yogurt for a nostalgic taste.

“These cool and refreshing flavors remind us of the carefree days of our childhoods, and bring an emotional connection to Yogurtland’s variety of refreshing and delicious frozen yogurt flavors,” said Charlotte Lucich, director of marketing at Yogurtland. “Our tropical Hibiscus Passion Fruit Sorbet and the nostalgic tastes of our Root Beer Float and Orangesicle are the perfect way to kick off the summer.”

Since the opening of the first location in 2006, Yogurtland has been known for its smooth and creamy yogurt that combines authentic flavors for a delicious taste that’s also good for you. Naturally occurring calcium and vitamin D make Yogurtland yogurt a healthful, refreshing treat. Fruit flavors are also fortified with vitamin C. All of Yogurtland’s frozen yogurt flavors meet the National Yogurt Association criteria for “live and active culture frozen yogurt” and are produced in a kosher-certified facility. Yogurtland features non- and low-fat yogurt flavors as well as dairy-free and no-sugar-added choices.

Yogurtland’s premium custom flavors come from real ingredients sourced from their original locations – Madagascar vanilla beans from Madagascar, Dragon Passion Fruit with Dragon Fruit from Thailand and Passion Fruit from Ecuador, Maqui Berry from Patagonia. Yogurtland locations serve 16 different flavors daily and offers more than 15 different kinds of seasonal real fruit and more than 45 choices of other premium toppings to customize your refreshing yogurt creation.

Fans can use the Yogurtland app to find the nearest location and also search the app’s Flavor Finder feature to find which Yogurtland location is serving their favorite flavor. To find the app, search Yogurtland in your mobile app store.

About Yogurtland
Yogurtland leads the industry with proprietary flavors and superior toppings where customers create and control their own flavor experience, all served in a clean, bright environment. Presently there are more than 220 locations across the U.S., Guam, Mexico, Venezuela and Australia with more than 50 additional locations scheduled to open over the next six months. For more information, visit or

Fro-yo Shop Dislikes

Fro-yo girl here. In my last post I discussed tactics for drawing me back to a fro-yo shop. On the flip side, I now look at tactics that discourage a return visit. These are my top frozen yogurt shop dislikes:

1. Of course the main offense is bad frozen yogurt - frozen yogurt that tastes artificial and isn’t the proper texture.

2. The shop isn’t squeaky clean

3. The shop is stingy about samples. Some places even limit how many samples you can ask for. Also, when the shop has many fro-yo flavors and only gives you one sample cup, they’re sending the message that they’re stingy.

4. Toppings aren’t on display. This isn’t an issue with self-serve shops because the toppings are accessible. Some full serve shops don’t display their toppings. I like to see how fresh the fruit is before I have it added to my fro-yo.

5. Toppings aren’t labeled. While most toppings are obvious, some aren’t so obvious.

6. Price isn’t displayed. I shouldn’t have to ask what the price is.

7. Uncomfortable environment - e.g., bad music, too many kids, ugly decor

8. Toppings aren’t fresh

9. Only gigantic fro-yo cups are offered. It's harder to make your fro-yo look pretty in a gigantic cup.

10. Promotions and/or gift cards are location specific even though the shop has multiple locations

11. Fro-yo flavors don’t or very rarely change

12. No tart fro-yo flavor offered

13. Cash only

14. Styrofoam cups can have old school charm but they aren’t eco friendly

15. Artificially colored bright frozen yogurt

You know you love me. X0 X0, fro-yo girl.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Giving Customers a Reason to Return

Fro-yo girl here. I eat a lot of fro-yo as you know and I visit many fro-yo shops. Sadly, most of the fro-yo shops I visit are places I’ll only visit once. There are certain things frozen yogurt stores can do to increase the likelihood of a return visit. These are things that draw me back to a frozen yogurt shop:

* New fro-yo flavors: This is the main reason that I revisit a shop that I haven’t been to in awhile. If I hear of a new flavor that I haven’t had there before, I’m immediately interested. On a related note, frozen yogurt shops should announce new flavors. Usually I don’t want to pick up the phone to call and ask about new flavors. Make it easy for customers to learn about your new flavors. While new toppings are nice, they don’t interest me as much as frozen yogurt flavors.

* Seasonal flavors: While the fro-yo flavor might not be new (that is it’s never been offered at the shop), I do look forward to the return of certain seasonal fro-yo flavors, especially pumpkin.

* Favorite flavors: If my favorite fro-yo flavor is part of the line-up, I’m definitely inclined to revisit a shop.

* Promotions, contests and special events: Discounts should only be used sparingly but they can be effective. Events are fun and include celebrating shop birthdays, fundraisers, special limited edition frozen yogurt spoons, happy hour, etc.

* Reward programs: They do work. When I get closer to filling up the card, I go more often. I hate rewards that expire. If I don’t think I can fill up the card in time, I won’t even try.

* Having a strong social media presence: If I like a frozen yogurt store, I’m interested in knowing what’s going on and the easiest way to track a fro-yo shop is through Twitter and Facebook.

You know you love me. X0 X0, fro-yo girl.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Best Fro-yo Shops in the Bay Area

Fro-yo girl here. It’s time to update my list of fro-yo shops that deserve recognition for their excellent fro-yo. Some of the best shops on my 2008 list are still around but they’re not as good as the shops on 2013 best of list.

* EASY BREEZY FROZEN YOGURT (4028 24th St., San Francisco, CA): EB brought a ray of sunshine to Noe Valley about a year ago with its higher quality self-serve frozen yogurt. They offer some organic frozen yogurt flavors and frozen custard. I love their creative flavors like Cucumber, Mint Mojito and Lime Breezy. They also have great toppings too, like bacon, potato chips, waffle cookies and more. The shop is adorable.

* YOGORINO (2 locations in SF): This Italian import only has one flavor of fro-yo (plain) and the flavor and texture are like no other. It’s super creamy yet not heavy. The toppings, including their signature dessert sauces, and cups are also from Italy.

* BLUSH ORGANIC FROZEN YOGURT (locations in the Bay Area in Dublin, Burlingame and Walnut Creek): Once you taste some of their proprietary flavors like Blush (pomegranate-dragonfruit), Gingerbread, Pumpkin, Green Tea and others, you’ll understand why Blush made the list. All of their fro-yo flavors taste like real yogurt. They’re not overly sweetened. It’s fro-yo for fro-yo lovers. They’ve had creative toppings like Choco Pie and madeleines.

I wanted to put Fraiche on the list since they make their own yogurt and it’s usually fantastic but it hasn’t been consistent. I’ve encountered fro-yo texture issues many times and sometimes their housemade mochi is dried out. I’ll always go there in October for their pumpkin fro-yo (it’s amazing).

You know you love me. X0 X0, fro-yo girl.

Looking for more frozen yogurt news, discussion boards, and resources? Check out the International Frozen Yogurt Association website at The IFYA is the independent voice of the frozen yogurt industry.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Walgreens with Frozen Yogurt Bar Opens in San Francisco

Fro-yo girl here. SF has its first flagship Walgreens store. The expanded and fancified two story Walgreens opened in Union Square last week. I’d been to the location prior to the renovation but hadn’t been often because there are so many other Walgreens locations in SF.

What’s new? The “upmarket” area features pastries from CafĂ© Madeline, grab n’ go sandwiches, sandwiches and yes, self-serve frozen yogurt. I spotted three Stoelting machines but one didn’t have fro-yo (not sure if it was out of order or not). There were two cups sizes, the small 8 oz. cup ($3.99) and large 12 oz. cup ($4.99). With the flat rate pricing you pay by the size of the cup and can add as much fro-yo and toppings as you want to the cup.

The frozen yogurt flavors and toppings had cute sticker labels. The toppings bar featured fruit (the berries looked like they had been frozen and were defrosting), popping boba, cheesecake, nuts, candy, cookies, chocolate chips, etc. The toppings in the refrigerated toppings bar area were covered. They had about 16 toppings. I didn’t see mochi.

I was disappointed that they didn’t have any tart flavors. They had basic flavors (chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, cookies n’ cream, birthday cake) and one sorbet. I tried the Tahitian vanilla fro-yo. It was very sweet, smooth and icy. There wasn’t much yogurt flavor. I found the texture and flavor disappointing.

I didn’t see any employees in the fro-yo area, nor did I see sample cups. You get a cup, do your thing, pay and get a spoon at the register. I asked if they planned on rotating flavors and apparently they don’t plan to rotate, so they won’t be carrying tart flavors.

I did like the counter area at the front of Walgreens where you can put your cup of fro-yo down and eat while standing.

You know you love me. X0 X0, fro-yo girl.

* WALGREEN’S: 135 Powell St., San Francisco, CA

Looking for more frozen yogurt news, discussion boards, and resources? Check out the International Frozen Yogurt Association website at The IFYA is the independent voice of the frozen yogurt industry.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Worst Fro-yo Shops in the Bay Area

Fro-yo girl here. Now it’s 2013 and time to update my best and worst of the Bay Area lists.I’ll start with the worst shops in the Bay Area. Like their counterparts in 2008, the worst frozen yogurt shops feature fro-yo with horrible texture and flavor. Their toppings are worse than average too (including some stale toppings). 

I’ll sometimes receive a note from the owner saying that they were having machine problems on the day that I visited. Since I’m not inclined to revisit such places, things may have improved at the shops on this list (and I hope that they have).

Fro-yo texture problems are quite common. The shops that made the list are the worst offenders at the time of my visit. It’s important to take care of frozen yogurt machines. Even good mix can be ruined by a poorly maintained frozen yogurt machine.

* YOGURT NET (1445 Foxworthy Avenue, San Jose, CA): I encountered runny, too soft frozen yogurt and limited toppings.

* 1ST TREAT YOGURT (2124 1st St., Livermore, CA): The awful frozen yogurt was clumpy, gritty, soft and filmy, not sure how the texture can be that terrible but I don’t think I want to know. The fruit toppings did not look fresh.

* FRESHENS (inside the Golden Bear Cafe, Cesar Chavez Student Center, Berkeley, CA): Old school frozen yogurt that tastes like plastic

* YOLATEA (600 Main St. Suite F, Pleasanton, CA): I can’t eat fro-yo with texture this bad: soft, runny and fluffy

* TUTTI FRUTTI CONCORD (3375 Port Chicago Highway Suite A, Concord, CA): The worst TF location, it feels like no one is maintaining the machines. All the frozen yogurt is super icy. They didn’t even have any fresh fruit toppings. A few machines were out of order.

* RUBY FROZEN YOGURT (1160 N. Capitol Ave., San Jose, CA): The frozen yogurt has too much flavor syrup and it’s too soft

* POLAR ICE (96 E. San Salvador St., San Jose, CA): Machines were out of order and the fro-yo was very fluffy

* YOGURT WALK (6601 Dublin Blvd. Ste 1., Dublin, CA): Fluffy and clumpy fro-yo, yuck. Looking at some newer pictures, it looks like their frozen yogurt texture has improved.

I’ve noticed that the worst time to visit a frozen yogurt shop is right before they close. The texture seems to be the worst at that time. However I did not visit the shops that made this list late at night.

You know you love me. X0 X0, fro-yo girl.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Best & Worst Fro-yo Shops of 2008: Where Are They Now?

Fro-yo girl here. Back in 2008, I named the best and worst fro-yo shops in the Bay Area. Ever wonder what happened to those businesses?

Of the 7 worst shops, all 7 have closed. The places with below average fro-yo have usually stayed open two years or less. Even large chains haven’t been able to make it in the Bay Area (e.g., Golden Spoon). There are plenty of average frozen yogurt shops. The worst ones had fro-yo with horrible texture and flavor.The toppings were often stale or rotten as well.

Of the 10 best shops in 2008, 5 are still open, though a few of those have moved (e.g., Harmony Yogurt, Tuttimelon) or changed ownership. Poco Cafe closed after being open for years because the owner decided to retire. The best frozen yogurt shops offered consistency, cleanliness, freshness and superior customer service. You could tell that the owners cared about offering quality frozen yogurt.

Out of curiosity I looked at my old frozen yogurt reviews, the first 300 frozen yogurt shops that I reviewed. These reviews were written between December 2007 and 2010. Of the 9 shops with a 1 star rating, all have closed. Of the five star shops, 50% are still open.

You know you love me. X0 X0, fro-yo girl.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

SweetXO: Innovative Fro-yo Shop Spotlight

Fro-yo girl here. SweetXO’s tagline captures the spirit of this innovative fro-yo shop: “Life in full color, full flavor and full fun.” SweetXO is much more than a fro-yo shop. It’s a sweets-focused experience. Bring your sweet tooth and plenty of time to explore.

Their displays of candy are dazzling...reminiscent of Dylan’s Candy Bar. 
I’m sure my eyes widened several times. There’s so much to take in, including candy in bins all around the large shop (sold by weight), display cases with cookies, brownies, make your own float machine with 125 flavors, mini and full size cupcakes, fudge, tea bar, hot chocolate, hot roasted nuts, ice cream sold by the scoop, and fro-yo. That’s just the edible portion of their offerings. They also have merchandise, like casual clothing for everyone in the family including pets, candles, toys, baby stuff, laptop bags, bath salts sold by weight, dishes, home decor, jewelry, colorful socks, quirky books, etc. There are several rooms that you can wander in and out’s almost like a mini department store.

Back to the fro-yo, they must have at least 200 toppings. Of course they are particularly abundant in the candy department.You can add specific flavors of Jelly Bellies to your fro-yo. The warm syrups are all natural and from Sanders in Michigan. A wondrous machine dispenses fresh whipped cream (who can resist?) They have three flavors of pretzels: yogurt, chocolate and blueberry. You’ll find mochi, fresh fruit, popping boba, cookies (even Blue Oreos), many types of gummy candies, cereal, nuts, dried fruit, chocolate covered things, sugar free toppings, and more. You can add freshly roasted hot nuts to your fro-yo or a warm cookie or brownie. The fro-yo and toppings are 42 cents an ounce.

As for the fro-yo, they have 18 self-serve flavors a day. The LCD displays provide nutritional info and allergens. The flavors were chosen with care and included a vegan option (soyalicious vegan chocolate), no sugar added flavor, sorbets, 1 tart flavor, and a soft serve ice cream. The fro-yo I sampled had very good texture - smooth, creamy, not too airy, and firm. The vegan chocolate flavor tasted odd to me but I think soy and chocolate aren’t complementary flavors. I did like how it was creamy and not too sweet. The country vanilla flavor was very much like a vanilla soft serve ice cream and a wonderful base for candy toppings. I found the Euro tart too lemony.

Once you’ve selected your sweets, you can wander over to the lounge area which has fancy wallpaper, mirrors, a flatscreen TV and music.

You know you love me. X0 X0, fro-yo girl.

* SWEETS XO: 5825 Kanan Rd., Agoura Hills, 91301

Monday, May 6, 2013

Yogurtland Billboard in San Francisco

Fro-yo girl here. I spotted this new Yogurtland billboard near City College SF and SF’s first and only Yogurtland location. I love fro-yo ads! Yogurtland’s radio spots on Pandora were the only radio ads that didn’t annoy me.

You know you love me. X0 X0, fro-yo girl.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

New Flavor Alert: Cookies & Cream Pinkberry

Fro-yo girl here. Pinkberry introduced a new frozen yogurt flavor on May 3, Cookies & Cream. It’s described as “smooth and creamy chocolaty yogurt blended with tiny bits of cookies...indulgent without being overly sweet.” The description is accurate. I liked how the flavor had a strong “cookie” flavor so that it tasted distinct from a chocolate flavored frozen yogurt. It was thick and rich and tasted like an Oreo cookie. There aren’t that many visible bits of chocolate cookie. The flavor was sweeter than I expected and didn’t have much “yogurt” flavor. It’s a good ice cream alternative but might not be satisfying for people who strongly prefer tart frozen yogurt that tastes like yogurt.

I asked about new toppings to accompany the new flavor but the location I went to didn’t have any. I would have loved to have the Cookies & Cream Pinkberry on a chocolate cookie cone.

You know you love me. X0 X0, fro-yo girl.

Looking for more frozen yogurt news, discussion boards, and resources? Check out the International Frozen Yogurt Association website at The IFYA is the independent voice of the frozen yogurt industry.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

A Visit to Yogurtland’s Original Location

Fro-yo girl here. The year: February 2006. The location: Fullerton, CA. Phillip Chang, founder, CEO and president opens the first Yogurtland location in Orange County in a busy shopping center near several high schools and colleges, including Cal State Fullerton. It shared a space with Chang’s other business, Boba Loca, a bubble tea shop. They offered 16 self-serve, non-fat fro-yo flavors a day and toppings for 30 cents. They had plain styrofoam cups at first and then clear plastic cups. The fro-yo machines were lined up but not behind a wall with cutouts.

Though this location’s look would evolve over the years, the basic Yogurtland formula was already there: 16 self-serve fro-yo flavors a day and a low value pricing.

The location was remodeled in 2008. The new look featured a new logo and the now familiar green tiled wall with 8 fro-yo machines. They also brought in new sleeker looking white and orange chairs.

Another logo change occurred in 2009 when the company switched to the current logo. They changed the chairs again, to white and grey ones and brought in small white tables to replace the wood tables.

The original location doesn’t have a special plaque (it should). It’s on the smaller side and the fro-yo and toppings are now 35 cents an ounce.

You know you love me. X0 X0, fro-yo girl.

* YOGURTLAND: 501 N. State College Blvd., Fullerton, CA 92831