Blimpie, Cold Stone parent plots three-year green push

SCOTTSDALE Ariz. Kahala Corp., franchisor of such quick-service chains as Blimpie, Cold Stone Creamery, Ranch*1 and Samurai Sam’s, said it is drafting a three-year plan to incorporate more sustainable and green practices at all of its 12 brands.

The plan, according to executive vice president Chris Prasifka, could include such initiatives as incorporating more water- and energy-efficient equipment at the company’s headquarters and eventually at chain units; challenging suppliers of food and paper products to provide more sustainable and fair trade goods; and remodeling or developing stores to incorporate more ecofriendly features.

Referring to possible new unit formats, Kahala spokeswoman Kate Guess said: “Green is certainly top of mind. We are exploring sustainable products, including flooring, lighting, paints and more.”

“We will ask for their support and share with them things they can do right now to work towards producing a more sustainable environment,” he said.

Prasifka added that it was too early to determine how much the implementation of the ecofriendly initiatives would cost franchisees.

"Going forward [the plan] will include stores, once we’re able to identify materials we will use to modify store build-outs,” he said. “As it relates to store remodeling, we’re at the infancy stages.”

Prasifka declined further comment on costs, but noted, “Rising costs are certainly an issue for all small business owners and will have to be assessed by the company and its franchisees working together.

“My gut [feeling] is we’re going to find a number of things we can do right away with little or no cost and then take on [projects] that may have costs attached to them,” he continued. “We’ll address that when we get to them in partnership with our franchisees.”

Prasifka said that Kahala, whose brands generate collective systemwide sales in excess of $1 billion, is “very excited about this. We’ve been very concerned about what’s happening right now [to the environment]. However, as a billion-dollar foodservice company, we need to take a strategic view [of how best] to make an impact.”