Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory last week announced plans to launch a new nationwide franchise concept called Aspen Leaf Yogurt.
Tight lending markets continue to affect the companys new and longtime franchisors, company executives said Tuesday in a conference call with investors. But they think the new concept may prove profitable despite the slow economy and weak lending systems.
It will attract a different kind of franchisee, said Franklin Crail, CEO, the kind with start-up capital already on hand and no need for financing.
Crail and Chief Operating and Financial Officer Bryan Merryman told investors the company hopes to cash in on a new self-serve frozen yogurt craze thats sweeping parts of the country.
Just about everyone in the frozen yogurt business now is looking at the concept, the pair said.
Besides the business allure to a self-serve concept, its a healthful alternative for folks with a sweet tooth that fits well with the image of the company and the community where its corporate operations are based, the executives said.
Customers will personalize their purchase by topping their selected yogurts however they wish and will pay a flat fee per ounce for their creations.
Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory executives say they have the tools and market know-how to roll out the concept better than the mom and pop companies already in the business and other would-be competitors that might come along.
Theyll offer more frozen yogurt flavors than competitors. And they have the Rocky Mountain Chocolate lines to offer on the extensive topping bar that the concept will offer.
No one else can knock that off, Merryman said.
The first Aspen Leaf Yogurt stores will open in Farmington and San Antonio. Negotiations are under way for additional stores in Boulder; Boise, Idaho; and another small town in Colorado that company officials declined to name.
Theyll open the option elsewhere in the country to new and existing franchisees during the second half of 2011, a company release said.