If you’re in search of a unique twist on a classic dessert, you may want to check out Subzero Ice Cream. The company, founded by Jerry and Naomi Hancock, allows customers to watch employees create their ice cream and frozen yogurt right before their eyes thanks to the use of frozen nitrogen. Below, you’ll find everything you need to know about Subzero Ice Cream’s menu, prices, and other vital information.
What is Subzero Ice Cream?
The Hancocks had long been drawn to the concept of customizable food but were struggling to come up with a way to best implement their ideas. They eventually realized that they could apply their customizable food concepts to the dessert industry. Jerry, who had a background in chemistry, began working on coming up with a way to create ice cream instantly with frozen nitrogen.
The couple opened their first store in 2004. A year later, the couple filed a patent that protected their method of freezing ice cream instantly. Subzero continued growing, but it wasn’t until 2013 that their business gained national attention. This was primarily thanks to an appearance on the hit ABC show, “Shark Tank.”
At the time they went on the show, Subzero had 18 franchise locations and two corporate locations. After the show aired, they grew to 50 franchise locations, even though they did not partner with any of the investors on the show. Forbes went on to name the business one of the “10 Best Franchises to Buy From ‘Shark Tank.’”
Part of what makes Subzero Ice Cream so unique is the fact that it requires minimal overhead in stores. Most ice cream and frozen yogurt stores require freezers or other types of machines to ensure the ice cream remains frozen. However, the flash-freezing methods practically eliminate the need for this, helping to cut down on the cost of operating a store.
How Does It Work?
Many find Subzero’s flash freezing methods often lead to one of the most delicious desserts they’ve ever had. That’s because when the ice cream is flash frozen with nitrogen, water does not contaminate the product. This means that there are no large ice crystals when consuming the product, as you may be accustomed to finding in other ice creams.
Some customers admit that they were a bit skeptical when they heard that their ice cream was flash-frozen using liquid nitrogen. However, nitrogen is entirely safe to use in this capacity. It is colorless, odorless, and tasteless, meaning it does not impact the product at all. Furthermore, liquid nitrogen is non-toxic. In fact, it makes up three percent of our body weight!
Because of the lack of water, many customers say that Subzero desserts are creamier and smoother than other ice creams and frozen yogurts. Furthermore, every order is unique as customers can choose from various mix-ins, toppings, and cream bases. The flexibility to do so again has a lot to do with the flash-freezing process that the ice cream goes through before a customer eats it.
This also gives the company a competitive advantage because they can cater to practically any dietary restrictions. For example, customers who are lactose intolerant often only find one or two selections in a traditional ice cream parlor. Because customers create their Subzero ice cream instantly, those with allergies and dietary restrictions still have access to a full range of flavors.
Although the nutritional value of your order will range significantly depending on numerous factors, such as the size and the type of cream you use, you can get a general idea of the product’s nutritional value by taking a look at this chart. Customers can also rest assured that the company uses fresh ingredients when crafting their desserts.
Create Your Order
When a customer is ready to order, they begin by choosing the size they prefer. Most stores offer three different sizes: small, medium, and large. After selecting a size, customers then pick the type of cream they’d prefer. Options include original, low-fat, sugar-free, vegan, and non-dairy. There are also other custom options available depending on which store a customer visits.
Next, customers choose their flavors. There are more than 30 different flavors from which customers can choose. Options range from Amaretto to Bubble Gum to White Chocolate. Whether you’re looking for a fruity taste or something to satisfy your sweet tooth, there’s a good chance that you’ll be able to find the perfect flavor.
Lastly, customers choose which mix-ins they’d like to add. There are also more than 30 different mix-ins available. These not only include fresh fruit, such as mangos and peaches but also include more “traditional” toppings like M&M’s and sprinkles as well. Once they’ve chosen their options, customers can watch as their creation goes through the flash-freezing process right before their eyes.
Choose a Sundae from the Menu
If customers would instead not come up with a custom creation, they could choose from pre-selected “Sensations.” These are much like treats that see at other ice cream shops. According to the Subzero website, there are more than ten different selections available. Additionally, different stores may have local offerings and “Sensations of the Month” as well. Sensation options include:
Featuring chocolate ice cream served over a brownie and then topped with chocolate flakes and fudge
Featuring fudge & cake batter ice cream topped with sprinkle & cookie dough bits
Featuring marshmallow & banana ice cream topped with cheesecake bites, crumbled graham cracker, hot fudge, and whipped cream
Featuring peanut butter ice cream topped with brownie bits, chunks of Reese’s peanut butter cups, and fudge
Featuring chocolate and mocha ice cream topped with almonds and bits of a Heath bar
Featuring mint ice cream topped with Oreo bits and Andes Mints
Featuring vanilla and strawberry ice cream topped with marshmallow cream, fresh strawberries, and a dollop of whipped cream
Featuring black raspberry and coconut ice cream topped with shredded coconut flakes and fresh mixed berries
The cost of ordering ice cream from Subzero is a bit cheaper than the cost of desserts at other ice cream and frozen yogurt shops. For example, an ounce of frozen yogurt is 39 cents. A single scoop of premium old-fashioned ice cream is $2.49. These prices increase up until the largest size, a pint, which costs $5.79. The soft serve prices peak at $1.99 for a large.
In 2008, the Hancocks opened their first franchise location. Since then, they have expanded to more than 50 stores across the United States. The best way to find a place near you is with the interactive map on the company website. A good majority of the stores are in Texas. However, there are Subzero locations in other states, including:
Not only does the company continue to grow domestically, but they are also expanding internationally as well. Their unique ice cream-making process makes them an immediate attraction anywhere in the world. They are currently three Subzero ice cream locations abroad, although the company is looking to open more in the coming year.
If you’re looking to open a Subzero franchise location, there are a few criteria you’ll need to have first met. For example, if you’re looking to open a new store, you’ll need to demonstrate that you have verifiable liquid assets of at least $100,000. Also, you’ll need to prove that you have a total net worth of $300,000 or more. Business partners can combine assets to meet these requirements.
If you are interested in purchasing an existing Subzero location, you must be able to provide a down payment equal to at least 10 percent of the total purchase price. You and your partners must also demonstrate verifiable liquid assets equal to at least 30 percent of the selling price and the cost of any remodels that the store will need within the next two years.
After opening a franchise location, you will be required to pay ongoing fees to the corporation. Required payments include a 6 percent franchise royalty fee. The company calculates the percentage based on the gross sales revenue. Franchisors must also pay an advertising fee that helps contribute to the national corporation’s advertising campaigns. Franchisors must pay both fees monthly.
According to the company’s website, the initial franchise fee is $35,000. If you are interested in opening multiple franchise locations, it may make sense to do so at once. That’s because the initial franchise fee drops to $15,000 when you are purchasing more than one unit at the same time. In addition to the initial franchise fee, the company estimates development expenses to cost up to $276,000.
The company recommends that you find a high-traffic shopping center for your new Subzero location. A shopping mall would also suffice. They also suggest that the store range between 800 and 1,300 square feet. However, Subzero is also willing to work with their franchisor and can adapt the corporate design so that it can meet reasonable dimensions.