Schlotzsky’s Franchise LLC is co-branding with TCBY at five company-owned locations in the Austin, Texas, area in a six-month test, representatives from both companies said.
Schlotzsky’s is a subsidiary of Focus Brands, which also franchises Carvel, Cinnabon, Moe’s Southwest Grill, Auntie Anne’s Pretzels, McAlister’s Deli and Seattle’s Best Coffee.
TCBY is franchised by Famous Brands, which also franchises Mrs. Fields’ Cookies.
“This is a small, single-market test in an area where we don’t really have Carvel,” said Debbie Gardner, vice president of franchise services for Schlotzsky’s, adding that the test started about a month ago.
“[Schlotzsky’s is] just looking for ways to incrementally drive ticket and drive sales,” Famous Brands chief executive Neal Courtney said, adding that Schlotzsky’s president Kelly Roddy contacted him with the idea. “They approached us and said, ‘Hey, frozen yogurt’s hot. You have a national presence. So do we. Can we try a test?’ and of course we said, ‘absolutely.’”
The test units have self-serve yogurt stations and topping bars, but Courtney said they were working to develop ways to incorporate frozen yogurt offerings into Schlotzsky’s drive-thru service, which is an important part of the sandwich chain’s business.
“The whole idea is to provide an incremental co-branded opportunity for franchisees going forward,” he said.
He added that he hoped the co-branding would increase check averages by having customers tack on yogurt to their sandwich purchases and increase traffic.
“You go to Schlotzsky’s at lunch for a sandwich, and you might not get a TCBY, but you go home at night and get the family and say, ‘We’re going to go to Schlotzsky’s and get a TCBY’,” he said. “So it’s mixing up their daypart a little bit [by adding nighttime sales],” he said.
Courtney also pointed out that that both Schlotzsky’s and TCBY brand themselves as offering healthful menu items, as opposed to Schlotzsky’s co-branding with Carvel, a brand with more of a focus on indulgence.
“As a consumer, you’re kind of all health [by using both brands]. You have a sandwich and you don’t feel guilty, but you have ice cream and you feel guilty,” he explained. “With our product you can have the sandwich and the yogurt and not feel guilty.”
Gardner reiterated that the test was small and just in its preliminary stages.
“We still love Carvel,” she said.
Contact Bret Thorn at [email protected] .
Follow him on Twitter: @foodwriterdiary