While fro-yo pioneer Pinkberry has experienced a chill in the Los Angeles market over the past year or so (the West Hollywood, Venice, Hollywood and Los Feliz locations have all closed), two of its imitators are making inroads: Yogurtland and Menchie's.

Yogurtland improved on Pinkberry's model by charging less, adding more toppings and flavors (many of them noxiously far from plain yogurt) and allowing customers to serve themselves, then charging them by the ounce. The customization has proven to be a crowd-pleaser.

Menchie's is the up-and-comer with a mere 60 locations in the U.S. — but 40 of those were opened within the last year. The chain, which is unsurprisingly similar to Yogurtland, has been around for three years and has about 20 locations throughout Southern California.

While Pinkberry has scaled back its L.A. footprint, it continues to expand in other parts of the country and the world. Both Yogurtland and Menchie's have to avoid hitting a saturation point while trying to distinguish themselves from a host of nearly interchangeable competitors like Red Mango (the Pepsi to Pinkberry's Coke), CeFiore, Snowberry, Tutti Frutti and Cantaloop.

LA Weekly