Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Yumilicious, Dallas fro-yo chain, branches out from yogurt to shakes
Seeking innovation in the world of frozen yogurt.
Yumilicious, the Dallas-based frozen yogurt chain, is introducing a fro-yo spin-off called Shake-a-licious that allows customers to consume their frozen yogurt and toppings in a shake form.
The format is identical to the usual self-serve, except that instead of squooging your yogurt and toppings into a cup, you squooge it into a shake cup. You present it to a Yumilicious staffer who adds 2% milk, then blends it into a shake.
In addition to the usual per-ounce charge for yogurt and toppings, you pay another $1 to make it Shake-a-licious.
In an industry whose expansion options are limited, it's a novel twist that utilizes ingredients already in stock. The only investment has been the installation of soda-fountain-style stand-up blenders -- and fatter straws, said spokeswoman May Wong.
They did a fair amount of testing to achieve a texture that was creamy yet retained bits of topping, Wong said.
"We did want to keep the toppings as a presence, whether it's fresh fruit or gummy bears," she said. "We don't blend it so much that the gummy bears are completely pulverized -- there are still bits. The straws are fatter than regular straws so that you get sippable chunks of fruit or gummies."
Yumilicious, which began under the name Yogilicious before changing to Yumilicious in 2009, launched in Dallas in September 2008. There are 15 branches, with 12 in Dallas-Fort Worth, one in Austin, and two in South Carolina; a branch opens in Irving this summer, and another in El Paso later this year.
In 2011, they introduced dairy- and gluten-free Tropical Mango, Strawberry Lemonade, and Pomegranate-Raspberry sorbets at the Greenville Avenue and Lakewood stores only; they're now available at six stores and can be made into sorbet shakes with orange juice. Yumilicious lists all of its store flavors weekly on its Facebook page.
Frozen yogurt is an innately volatile field. Figures from market research firm NPD show the first surge in frozen-yogurt sales 2008-2009, followed by a 15% drop in 2010, with a mild rebound in 2011. The product has a faddish nature, and vigilant frozen yogurt companies look for ways to expand their profile, with spin-offs like Red Mango's smoothies and parfaits and hot chocolate.
Shake-a-licious will launch at all locations on Thursday, May 24.