US frozen yoghurt franchise Tasti D-Lite will open its first Australian store at the end of the month, calling for expressions of interest from potential franchisees to help build up its network.
New York-based Tasti D-Lite was established in 1987 and became best known for its healthy frozen yoghurt, with an aggressive campaign promoting its products as low calorie and low fat.
However, the company came under fire in 2002 when research suggested it may have exaggerated health claims about its product.
Tasti D-Lite was acquired in 2007 by private equity group SPG Partners, which led to a redesigned website listing nutritional information for more than 100 flavours.
Tasti D-Lite announced in 2008 that it would begin a franchise offering to facilitate the growth of the brand in domestic and international markets.
The company has confirmed it will open its first Australian store on Chapel Street in Melbourne by the end of the month.
Tasti D-Lite plans to establish 30 units within five years, and is embarking on a franchisee recruitment drive to see these plans come to fruition.
John Crawford, managing director of Tasti D-Lite Australia, believes the brand’s “almost cult-like following” in the United States will translate to Australian consumers.
“Australians are the world’s third largest consumers, per capita, of ice cream and that – combined with a growing market in this country of health and fitness – made us confident that the time was right for Tasti D-Lite.”
“In 2010, we commenced negotiations with Tasti D-Lite in the US to acquire the master franchise rights for Australia.”
Tasti D-Lite is now on the lookout for Australian franchisees, with opportunities available for single or multi-unit ownership. Franchise costs start from $250,000 for a single-unit franchise.
The company said a Tasti D-Lite franchise would appeal to entrepreneurs who are “excited by the opportunity to be part of a new, innovative and well-differentiated product”.
Jeremy Crawford, director of business development at Tasti D-Lite Australia, says the offering is particularly attractive for first-time franchisees, with affordable entry-level investment.
Australia’s frozen dessert market is becoming increasingly crowded, with US ice cream franchise Baskin Robbins announcing its own plans to ramp up franchisee recruitment efforts.
Ian Martin, general manager for Baskin Robbins Australia, said in a statement he is confident the chain can add to its Australian network, which consists of more than 85 stores.
“Baskin Robbins is currently under-penetrated here in Australia, which provides an outstanding opportunity for future growth,” Martin said.
While Tasti D-Lite will kick off its operations in Melbourne, Baskin Robbins has identified boom state WA as its next major target.