Eight new countries for yogurt chain

unnamed-11A Melbourne-based frozen yogurt chain has earmarked the opening of up to 50 new stores over the next five years.

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Yo-Chi is vertically integrated, producing all natural fermented frozen yogurts, with each store having around eight flavours and a rotating variety of 12 different toppings on display at any given time.

Manny Stul, owner of Yo-Chi, remains tight lipped on the chain’s expansion plans, but told Inside Retail PREMIUM the business will definitely open outside of Melbourne, and in as many as eight other countries.

“I can’t name the countries. I could, but I won’t,” Stul said.

“There are several international countries that are ready to go, but we need to ensure the integrity and quality of the product is maintained. That’s the number one criteria,” he said.

Yo-Chi has four Melbourne stores in Balaclava, Carlton, Yarraville, and Hawthorn with footprints ranging from 112sqm to 232sqm. All stores include internal seating, wi-fi, and are designed to be a destination.

Yarraville, Victoria. Credit: Karen Photography

“Our basis has been to go for sites a little bit off location because the product is so upmarket, and trying to do stuff that’s a little bit different with innovative designs,” said Stul.

The stores were all created by design studio, Projects of Imagination, with the simple brief to present “innovation”.

Each store is a product of its environment, tailored to appeal to the demographic of its location. The only common thread throughout all stores is a giant Yo-Chi koala statue.

According to Stul, a common mistake made by retailers is to become too big, too fast, sacrificing quality along the way.

“I wouldn’t be beholden to a timeframe or a number,” he said.

“Something that we want to maintain is a AAA grade quality on every level in terms of quality of product, service, and ambiance. We’ll roll it out based on that criteria rather than speed.

“We’ve just got to make sure that we don’t do anything at all which is detrimental to the brand. In the long run, quality will always come out in any category and that’s where we want to be.

“The key to everything is innovation, and ultimately we will go completely organic. Money is not the criteria, the criteria is to offer the customer the best possible product and the healthiest product. That’s where we want to be and we’ve always maintained that.”

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Hawthorn, Victoria. Credit: Karen Photography

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Balaclava, Victoria. Credit: Karen Photography

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Balaclava, Victoria. Credit: Karen Photography

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