Saturday, March 20, 2010

Are Make-Your-Own Frozen Yogurts shops a fad that is dying?

After reading Fast Food Maven's blog regarding the closing of Red Mango fro-yo shops in California, I realized that the same thing is in danger of happening here in Central Florida. I was very excited when Menchie's opened up here a while ago and thought it was an unique concept - essentially a "make-your-own" dessert place where you can choose as many frozen yogurt flavors and toppings as you want to create your own tasty masterpiece. Well, apparently others thought so as well as I have now seen a proliferation of frozen yogurt shops opening. Menchie's is rapidly expanding, there is a Hi-5 in Clermont, an Orange Leaf coming to Ocoee and the Pinkberry website even says there is a location coming near SeaWorld. I predict that we will soon see an oversaturation in the market and one-by-one these locations will start shutting down -- first the smaller mom-and-pop locations and then the big chains.

I think this is similar to what has happened to the meal preparation market in Central Florida. Remember when we had Let's Eat, Dinner Afare, Supper Supers, and others in the area? Everyone wanted to go make a month's worth of dinners in one afternoon so they'd have healthy, easy-to-prepare meals for their family. I'm pretty sure all of the locations near us closed now. What exactly happened? Not really sure. I think Publix Aprons meals really stepped up and showed consumers how to make an easy meal tonight, just by coming into their local Publix store. Also, more frozen food and other manufacturers developed more products that helped shave time off meal preparation.

For the Fro-Yo shops, it may be just a matter of time before consumers become disenchanted with this latest fad. Too bad, because I like the idea, there are just getting to be too many cooks in the kitchen.

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