Ice Cream Franchise Opportunities in 2021

It’s difficult to think of a more universally loved treat than ice cream. Whether it’s a hot summer evening and you need something to cool you off or you’re rained in with a list of your favorite movies, a bowl of ice cream never disappoints. With seemingly endless toppings and flavors, there is an ice cream combination out there for everyone. Not to mention all the different types of frozen desserts. There’s traditional hard and soft ice cream, flash-frozen ice cream, frozen yogurt, frozen custard, gelato, sorbet, shaved ice, and more.

Just how beloved is ice cream, though? A 2016 Harris poll found that ice cream is America’s third favorite comfort food. The stability of ice cream’s popularity has made it an excellent option for those looking to become an owner of a franchise, as due to its popularity, ice cream franchise opportunities have become very prominent (and profitable) over the years.

But, just like many other industries, frozen dessert franchises were hurt during COVID. Over the summer of 2020, ice cream sales were reportedly down by 80-90%. This was not the case with Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers which saw a year-over-year sales growth of 21.2% during the pandemic, as well as an Average Unit Volume growth of 6.5%.

Keep reading to find out what makes Freddy’s one of the best, most reliable ice cream franchise opportunities on the market today! 

The Top Ice Cream Franchises

As you’ll see in the list below, there are many different types of frozen treats that make up the ice cream sector. There are also many brands below that operate in more than just the ice cream sector. For example, Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers offers a wide range of foods on its menu. This includes sandwiches, hot dogs, and lots of sides which helps keep the restaurant thrive even in the winter months, when ice cream sales are traditionally lower.

This diversity of products is one of the reasons why Freddy’s was named the #1 high-investment franchise by Forbes magazine in both 2018 and 2019 (with “high-investment” meaning an overall initial investment that exceeds $500,000). With a retro look and customer-centric service philosophy that makes Guests feel welcome and cared for, Freddy’s franchise model is one built for sustained success.

To help you get an idea of all the different options out there, here are the top ice cream franchises with how many locations they currently have:

  1. Baskin-Robbins – 7,981
  2. Dairy Queen – 7,034
  3. Yogen Fruz – 1,400+
  4. Kona Ice – 1,375
  5. Cold Stone Creamery – 1,252
  6. Culver’s – 765
  7. Mr. Softee – 624
  8. Rita’s Italian Ice – 570
  9. Ben & Jerry’s – 562
  10. Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers – 400+

Evaluating Ice Cream Franchise Opportunities

There are many different variables and characteristics to consider when evaluating a dessert franchise opportunity. For example, does the franchise have a history of profitability? Checking its financial statements will ensure you choose a franchise that is growing.

Does the franchise train owners and their employees well, setting them up for long-term success? A franchise that wants its Franchise Owners to succeed is a franchise worth investing in.

You should also look at the franchise territory and whether there is room for expansion in your place of residence, as well as franchise fees—both initial and recurring. It’s important to make sure that you choose a franchise that works for you practically and financially.

Here is a full list of the different areas to research when narrowing choosing the right franchise opportunity for you:

  • Franchisor Management and Support – Does the franchise help support its owners?
  • Franchise Territory – Is there room for you to open a franchise in your state or city?
  • Franchise Fees – How much can you expect to pay for fees each year?
  • Financial Statements – Is the franchise profitable and showing growth in its revenue?
  • Required Vendors and Suppliers –Does the franchise have reliable partnerships with vendors, making it easy for owners to get the supplies they need?
  • Franchisor Training Programs – Does the franchise take the time to make sure owners and employees have the knowledge and tools to succeed?
  • Intellectual Property – Are there trade secrets or other confidential, proprietary information the franchise owns that helps distinguish it from the competition?

Freddy’s Frozen Custard vs. Ice Cream Franchises

So, what makes Freddy’s such a great ice cream franchise opportunity when compared to the field? We already talked about how Freddy’s offers a wide range of quality products, but what else helps make it one of the most reliable franchise investments out there today?

Here are some of Freddy’s key differentiating points that help it stand out:

  • Frozen Custard is Superior – Okay, we may be a little biased, but there is no denying that custard may be the best frozen treat option. Custard offers more creaminess, doesn’t melt as quickly, and has a better taste (in our humble opinion).
  • Growth Opportunity – Freddy’s is still ripe for expansion. See available territories.
  • Corporate Support and Training – Freddy’s has a long history of ensuring the success of its Franchise Owners. Both owners and Team Members will receive Freducation®, which will help set you and your team up for success as new members of the Freddy’s family.
  • Passionate Fanbase (FredHeads™) – Known as FredHeads, Freddy’s has a large base of Guests who sign up for Freddy’s Rewards by downloading the Freddy’s app. Because Freddy’s creates such loyal fans, you can expect your own franchise location to develop a following. This will help you maintain a consistent sales floor.
  • Vendors – Another key feature of Freddy’s is that vendor partners enjoy working with us and continue our partnerships for life. Franchise Owners have the luxury of not worrying about finding their own vendors. Freddy’s is committed to making that process easy for Franchise Owners.

If you’re interested in learning more about becoming a part of the Freddy’s team, fill out the lead form below to start the conversation!

Here are some additional resources to learn more about Freddy’s and what helps separate us from other ice cream franchises:

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