Rise & Fall (and Evolution?) of Pinkberry and Other Counter Service Fro-Yo Shops

Food trends can fade as fast as yogurt melts. It was SO 2008 to have to stand in a line stretching around the block just to get your Pinkberry fix.

Not too long ago, there were only a half-dozen flavor options and maybe three sizes to choose from when you went to get fro-yo. Worst, your order was often prone to inconsistent portion-size. If your server was having a bad day--texting while pulling that yogurt handle maybe--then you could be seriously screwed out the full swirl of your $4 order.

But now control is often in your hands. The new era of fro-yo is one of pay-by-the-ounce, pull the handle yourself, let-me-sprinkle-my-own-damn-peanuts yogurt shops.

A new generation of frozen yogurt shop owners are not only allowing the customer to choose how much yogurt and topping they want, at about 35 cents an ounce, but there's double digit flavors to choose from. Aside from the standard tart, strawberry, chocolate and generic fruit concoctions, there are now colorful and interesting flavors too indulge in. Root Beer fro-yo anyone?

Rise & Fall (and Evolution?) of Pinkberry and Other Counter Service Fro-Yo Shops
Photo Credit: Diane Cu

The new self serve frozen yogurt business model is simple: you grab your cup/cone, swirl yourself silly with the generous selection of flavors and toppings, and weigh your finally assembly at the register. Pack it, pound it and stuff it if you want. It's fro-yo emancipation.

Self serve frozen yogurt shops, both corporate and independent, are plentiful in Southern California. See Yogurtland, Menchies and Tutti Fruitti for a list of locations.

Diane Cu also co-writes White On Rice Couple with her partner.

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