Brand President talks about the future of the iconic ice cream franchise
Despite all the challenges that 2020 brought to the restaurant industry, for Cold Stone Creamery franchise, 2020 was a year full of silver linings.
Cold Stone Creamery began the year by launching an online ordering platform, which allowed customers access to the full menu for the first time ever for online ordering, takeout and mobile delivery.
This investment in new technology was fortuitous, as when the outbreak of COVID-19 happened in early March, Cold Stone Franchise owners were able to continue driving sales to their stores amidst lockdowns and social distancing.
“There’s no question that putting the menu online has helped our franchise owners through these unprecedented times.” says Blake Borwick, VP of Operations for Cold Stone Creamery. “Customers no longer needed to walk into our stores, wait in line, look at the menu boards, talk to a crew member, and make a decision. Now, they could do it from their couch or from their office, and it’s really helped to drive sales. In the middle of the pandemic, we saw a sharp increase in online ordering sales, and now, even as our customers are returning to our stores, it’s continued to play an integral part in our business. It’s had a tremendous impact.”
Another silver lining that Cold Stone Creamery discovered in 2020 is the fact that people really do want comfort food during less than optimal times. As an iconic ice cream brand for over 30 years, Cold Stone Creamery is a destination for families, friends, first dates, and anyone who needs a reason to smile or make a great day even better.
“A lot of customers couldn’t take a big vacation this year, but they all could take a 10 minute vacation with their families,” Borwick says. “That’s really the reason Cold Stone Creamery exists. We’re the go-to place for guests who want to forget about the world for 10 or 20 minutes and just have a joyful experience. Our franchise owners are exceptional in their ability to provide that experience day-in and day-out.”
One of the big positives in launching an online ordering program is that Cold Stone Creamery had a new way to connect with fans and build customer relationships.
“We already had a large loyalty program to engage with our fans, but this online ordering platform allows us to market directly to people who are new to us,” Borwick says. “Our marketing team does an incredible job with engagement, and since we’re so innovative in our new products and promotions, we’re always able to be relevant with our guests. Ultimately, our ability to generate excitement has kept the brand top of mind during this time.”
Another silver lining for Cold Stone Creamery is that entrepreneurship is back in style. With millions out of work or furloughed, owning a business is an option for those who want a way to take control of their future
Cold Stone Creamery is highly experienced in helping entrepreneurs realize their dreams of going into business for themselves. Our parent company, Kahala Brands™, is one of the largest franchisors in the world, and Cold Stone Creamery franchise owners benefit from robust support, including everything from site selection assistance and buildout, marketing, research and development, access to state of the art technology, and much, much more.
“When you own a business, you’re driving the ship,” Borwick says. “Our goal is to help you excel as an entrepreneur. We have an incredible support infrastructure, and our franchise owners benefit from access to one of the largest franchisors in the world.”
As Cold Stone Creamery heads into 2021, the brand is looking forward to another year of continued growth and innovation.
“We are optimistic for 2021 to be a really bright year,” Borwick says. “We’re doing a lot of innovative things, from online ordering, to developing new products, and new marketing promotions. In fact, we recently launched a promotion with Nintendo, which is just phenomenal. This is a great brand to be a part of, and we’re ready to welcome more entrepreneurs into the Cold Stone Creamery family going forward.”
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