It’s got a catchy name and options out the wazoo, and it’s popping up on every corner. There’s no denying that frozen yogurt — or froyo, as it’s commonly referred to — is in, and no one seems to do it better than Oklahoma City-based Orange Leaf, now with nine metro-area stores.“The draw to self-serve frozen yogurt is you get it any way you want,” said Karley Hofer, director of brand development at Orange Leaf. “We’ve seen it in other categories. Customization is where customers are ultimately going.”
Mass customization is not new. Nearly anyone can construct a sandwich, running shoes or a car from a set of predetermined options. But unlike other categories, the mass customization potential for froyo seems endless because of the cost of the products and versatility froyo establishments can provide.
“Part of the reason Orange Leaf has been so successful is our options,” said Hofer. “We can be as healthy or as decadent as we want. Ultimately, the choice is up to the customer.”
Once only popular on the West Coast and in warmer climates, the yogurt craze has spilled over into the rest of the country, building momentum like a snowball in colder states.
Orange Leaf recently entered the competitive New York market, and Hofer said they’re pleased with the response.
“We just opened our third store in Manhattan, with two more scheduled by end of the year,” Hofer said. “The froyo trend is really picking up in the Midwest and on the East Coast.”
In addition to New York, Orange Leaf has seen growth in other “cold” states like Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio, an impressive feat since the company has only been around since 2008, operating first as Orange Tree before being bought and moved to OKC as Orange Leaf in 2010.
“When we bought the company, there were only 15 stores across the country,” Hofer said. “We’ve expanded to 300 stores in about three years, including three in Australia.”
Fast expansion, new markets and dedication to quality aren’t easy for businesses to handle, but Hofer says Orange Leaf plans to continue to set the bar with new options like cup dividers to keep flavors separate, fall flavors like pumpkin pie and caramel apple and a to-go container that will preserve the quality of froyo for those wanting to save their treat for later.
Orange Leaf has also partnered with Share Our Strength, a nonprofit organization that aims to end childhood hunger, and will offer in-store and online promotions through September to help Share Our Strength raise money for its mission.
“It gives us the opportunity to bring all our franchises together for one cause,” said Meredith Lynn, Orange Leaf’s director of public relations. “We’re so excited about it we can hardly control ourselves.”
Orange Leaf said it will continue to evolve as a company by adding more customization to the sweet treat that consumers can’t seem to say no to. Hey, it’s almost healthy!
Orange Leaf isn’t the only contender vying for the affections of frozen yogurt aficionados.
• Pink Swirls, several metro locations
• Roxy’s Ice Cream Social, mobile
• Braum’s Ice Cream and Dairy Stores, several metro locations
• Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers, several metro locations