Pinkberry: Wikis

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Pinkberry Corporation
Type Franchise
Founded January 2005 West Hollywood
Headquarters Los Angeles, California, USA
Key people Ron Graves, CEO
Hye Kyung (Shelly) Hwang, Co-Founder
Young Lee, Co-Founder
Industry Restaurants
Products Frozen yogurt style
Smoothies
Shaved ice
Website Pinkberry.com

Pinkberry is a franchise of upscale frozen dessert restaurants headquartered in Los Angeles, California. There are currently 73 stores, mostly located in Southern California with thirteen in New York City.

The first store opened in January 2005 by Korean Americans Shelly Hwang and Young Lee.[1] The tart, frozen dessert has a groupie-like following who sometimes refer to it as "Crackberry"[1]. The company acknowledges its cult-like following by maintaining a "groupie corner" on its website. Wealthy middle-aged women enjoy frozen yogurt at Bloomingdales, and wealthy young women (and men) enjoy Pinkberry. When the company was the subject of an American Express commercial for a new "Plum Card" aimed at mid-sized business owners in 2007, the commercial stated that "it's amazing how in just three years, [Hwang and Lee] created a cultural phenomenon."

Contents

History

Original Pinkberry restaurant on Huntley Drive near Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood, California

Hwang's first business venture was to open a formal English teahouse on a tiny residential street called Huntley Drive in West Hollywood, California. However, after the city refused to approve a permit for Hwang and her business partner, architect Young Lee, they decided to go with their second plan, which was a frozen yogurt concept reviving the craze of the 1980s.[2] People were soon driving across town and standing in line for up to 20 to 30 minutes to get their fix of "the taste that launched 1,000 parking tickets."[1] The second store opened in September 2006, and since then, stores have been springing up all over Southern California and also branches in New York. In October 2009, Pinkberry opened its first overseas branch in the State of Kuwait at the Avenues shopping mall, and in November it opened a branch in Dallas.

On October 16, 2007, the firm took in an $27.5M investment from Maveron, the venture fund founded by Starbucks founder Howard Schultz, to expand the firm's concept nationwide.[3] Beginning in late 2007, Pinkberry began appearing in advertisements for American Express' new Plum Card, with Pinkberry and the card described by actress Lauren Graham in a voiceover. In an attempt to add an air of exclusivity to its new product, Amex claimed to create an initial run of only 10,000 of these cards.[4] Pinkberry (according to the ad) was issued card #1170.

On May 1, 2009, Pinkberry announced its plans to expand its market both internationally and domestically, after receiving $9 million in second-round funding from investors. As part of its plans, Pinkberry has partnered with M.H. Alshaya Co. to open stores in several countries in the Middle East and signed with HMSHost to open locations in airports nationwide, the first of which will open in the late summer 2009. [5]

Menu

Medium-sized Original flavored frozen dessert

Pinkberry's menu consists of Original, Green Tea, Pomegranate (introduced on November 11, 2008), Coffee (introduced in January 2008, for their third-year anniversary), Coconut and Passion Fruit (both introduced on June 26, 2009) flavored frozen yogurt style desserts, in three sizes: Small (5 US fl oz (150 ml)), Medium (8 US fl oz (240 ml)), and Large (13 US fl oz (380 ml)). Other products offered include Shaved Ice, with fresh fruit or green tea, a fruit parfait (introduced on June 27, 2009), and two types of smoothies. (Note that their "shaved ice" is not the same as the Hawaiian "shave ice.") Pinkberry dessert contains per 1/2 cup (120 ml) 70 calories (for Original), 90 calories (for Coffee), and 50 calories (for Green Tea), zero grams of fat, and 5 grams of sugar (1.4 tsp; 7 ml). Fruit toppings, cut fresh on-site, include: strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, blackberry, banana, kiwi, mango, and pineapple. There are also a variety of dry toppings to choose from, including: almonds, carob chips, chestnuts, chocolate chips, Cap'n Crunch, Cocoa Pebbles, coconut shavings, cookies 'n cream, Fruity Pebbles, granola, mochi (rice cakes), shaved milk chocolate, shaved white chocolate and yogurt chips. Three wet toppings were introduced June 26, 2009: Italian caramel, honey and pomegranate juice. Pinkberry has introduced seasonal flavors like pomegranate seeds, lychee and bing cherries for holiday and summer seasons. In August 2009, the company introduced a new fruit parfait. [6]

Nutrition facts

A single serving of Pinkberry "Original Frozen Yogurt" is 1/2 cup. All offerings on the menu are larger than a single serving.[7]

Size # of Servings Cups mL Calories Sugar (g) Sugar (tsp)
Small 1.4 0.7 168 98 16.8 About 4
Medium 2.2 1.1 264 154 26.4 About 6
Large 3.6 1.8 432 252 43.2 About 10

The following nutrition information applies to a half-cup of original Pinkberry frozen yogurt:

  • Calories 70
  • Calories from Fat 0
  • Total fat 0g
    • Saturated fat 0g
    • Trans fat 0g
  • Cholesterol 5 mg
  • Sodium 55 mg
  • Total carbohydrate 14g
    • Dietary fiber 0g
    • Sugars 12g
  • Protein 3g
  • Vitamin A 0%
  • Vitamin C 8%
  • Calcium 10%
  • Iron 0%[7]

Pinkberry's Original Frozen Yogurt is fat-free. The addition of toppings adds calories, sugar, and fat.

Competitors

The company's success has led to the launching of several competitors including kiwiberri, fiore and many others. This emergence of competition is fueled in part by companies such as Cielo USA, which manufactures and distributes the Frozen Yogurt Mix to businesses aspiring to be the next Pinkberry.[8] This is unsurprising, given industry estimates that a single store receives more than 1,500 customers per day and can bring in $250,000 a month.[9] Many frozen yogurt aficionados suggest that Pinkberry itself is a copycat of South Korean frozen yogurt giant Red Mango, which recently entered the United States with locations in Westwood Village, Venice, Northridge, Irvine, San Diego, Palo Alto, Las Vegas, Seattle, Evanston, and New York City.[10] It is also considered a copycat of Iceberry that originated in Korea years before Pinkberry was created, with flavors such as pomegranate, blueberry, original, and green tea.

Store design

Some attribute the company's success to its appealing combination of low-sugar, low-fat cool dessert in a designer environment with Philippe Starck furniture and Le Klint lighting.[11] A pastel color palette is used for the walls and natural pebbles line the floor. The official website is designed by LA-based design firm Ferroconcrete.[12]

Controversy

Originally marketed as frozen yogurt, Pinkberry has recently faced complaints that its product does not meet the California Department of Food and Agriculture's definition of frozen yogurt because it does not contain the necessary amount of bacterial cultures per ounce. The Los Angeles Times sent samples of Pinkberry's product to a lab and revealed that Pinkberry did contain active yogurt cultures, but it does not contain the minimum amount of culture to call itself frozen yogurt, according to California state law.[13] According to the Los Angeles Times, Pinkberry's product had only 69,000 bacterial cultures per gram, compared to 200,000 for Baskin-Robbins. The National Yogurt Association (NYA) established its own criteria for live and active culture yogurt. In order for manufacturers to carry their Live and Active Culture seal, refrigerated yogurt products must contain at least 100 million cultures per gram at the time of manufacture, and frozen yogurt products must contain 10 million cultures per gram at the time of manufacture. This level was based on a survey of leading research scientists involved in clinical studies of the health attributes associated with live and active culture yogurt.[14]

Pinkberry appears to have altered its dessert recipe and has now earned the right to call its product real yogurt. Pinkberry officially received the Live and Active Cultures Seal from the National Yogurt Association on April 17, 2008, almost 3 years after the initial "real yogurt" lawsuit was filed.[15]

The Pinkberry jingle heard on its Web site is sung by the '80s musician Tigra, from L'Trimm. Apparently in response to the recent lawsuit against Pinkberry claiming that its product is not "real yogurt," for a while Pinkberry had removed all lyrics to this jingle on its Web site except for the word "Pinkberry," which repeats over and over again at the chorus (prior to this change, the jingle had lyrics that characterized Pinkberry's product as "yogurt," and compared its product as better than ice cream).[16] The original jingle is now playing again on the Web site.

The unproven health benefits attributed to yogurt that were previously posted on the walls of Pinkberry (e.g., cures colon cancer, fights yeast infections) have been removed.[17]

Interior of a Pinkberry store in Rancho Cucamonga, CA.

Publicity and advertising

Most of the advertising for Pinkberry has been through word of mouth. The company has received recent publicity with an advertising spot on a commercial for the American Express Plum Card. The product was additionally spotlighted by Ellen DeGeneres in January 2008 when each of the 600 guests in the audience of The Ellen DeGeneres Show were treated to cups of Pinkberry. Many celebrities such as Jonas Brothers, Miley Cyrus, Skip Bayless, and Lil' Wayne are known to rave about Pinkberry.[18]

References

  1. ^ a b c Netburn, Deborah (2006-08-04). "The Taste That Launched 1,000 Parking Tickets". Los Angeles Times. http://www.latimes.com/features/lifestyle/la-et-pinkberryaug04,0,7985455.story?coll=la-home-style. Retrieved 2007-01-25.  
  2. ^ Pinkberry's Success Story - Small Biz Scene (usnews.com)
  3. ^ Pinkberry Raises $27.5M | socalTECH.com
  4. ^ American Express Launches Plum Card for Small Business Owners — Careersthatdontsuck.com
  5. ^ Jennings, Lisa (May 11, 2009). "Fro-yo chains in heated battle to ice competition". http://www.nrn.com/article.aspx?id=366634&utm_source=MagnetMail&utm_medium=email&utm_term=dmaurer@nymag.com&utm_content=NRN-News-NRNam-5-12-09&utm_campaign=May%2012,%202009%20-%20Fro-yo%20chains%20in%20a%20heated%20battle%20to%20ice%20competition.  
  6. ^ "Chains Gone Right". Zagat.com. August 26, 2009. http://www.zagat.com/Blog/Detail.aspx?SCID=42&BLGID=23195.  
  7. ^ a b Pinkberry website
  8. ^ Steinhauer, Jennifer (2007-02-21). "Heated Competition, Steaming Neighbors. This Is Frozen Yogurt?". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/21/dining/21pink.html?pagewanted=1&ei=5070&en=a00d7832469101c0&ex=1175313600. Retrieved 2007-03-29.  
  9. ^ Boyle, Matthew (2007-05-25). "It Came From Los Angeles". Fortune Magazine. http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2007/05/28/100033688/index.htm. Retrieved 2007-06-20.  
  10. ^ Los Angeles Business Journal Online - business news and information for los angeles california
  11. ^ Feldman, Lindsay (2007-02-26). "'Pinkberry Concept' of Yogurt Gets Set To Infuse Manhattan". The New York Sun. http://www.nysun.com/article/49253?page_no=1. Retrieved 2007-04-21.  
  12. ^ Ferroconcrete
  13. ^ Yoshino, Kimi (2007-06-21). "Pinkberry passes test, but cold war goes on". The Los Angeles Times. http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/latimes/access/1292047851.html?dids=1292047851:1292047851&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT&type=current&date=Jun+21%2C+2007&author=Kimi+Yoshino&pub=Los+Angeles+Times&edition=&startpage=C.1&desc=FOOD%3B+Pinkberry+passes+test%2C+but+cold+war+goes+on%3B+A+lab+says+the+treat+has+yogurt+in+it.+Attorneys+are+not+impressed.. Retrieved 2007-06-21.  
  14. ^ AboutYogurt.com : Live & Active Culture Yogurt : Live and Active Culture (LAC) Yogurt Facts
  15. ^ "After Three Years, Pinkberry Finally Approved as 'Frozen Yogurt'". seriouseats.com. 2008-08-17. http://www.seriouseats.com/required_eating/2008/04/after-three-years-pinkberry-finally-approved.html. Retrieved 2008-08-17.  
  16. ^ Dessert Trend: What's In Pinkberry? : NPR
  17. ^ "Pinkberry's Legal Jam". LAObserved.com. 2007-06-14. http://www.laobserved.com/archive/2007/06/pinkberrys_legal_jam.php. Retrieved 2007-06-14.  
  18. ^ Chris Crocker has also highlighted the chain, in his video entitled "Where's the Pink Berry ?", which documents a visit to one of the franchises in Los Angeles.Company Doctor: Is Pinkberry a fad or a trend? - Small Business Times

External links

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