Reporter's Notebook
Frozen yogurt goes 'on demand'

Frozen yogurt goes 'on demand'

This post is part of the Reporter's Notebook blog.

Pinkberry became the latest brand to launch delivery via Postmates, though the program is only available in Los Angeles and New York for now.

The Los Angeles-based frozen yogurt chain has been experimenting with delivery over the past few years using GrubHub/Seamless to take the orders and the fro-yo chain’s employees doing the actual delivering. Now Postmates will handle everything from the ordering to the courier side, said Laura Jakobsen, Pinkberry’s senior vice president of marketing and design.

“Postmates is so smart on the technology front, and they were able to meet our customer service standards,” said Jakobsen.

Not being a self-service concept works in Pinkberry’s favor when it comes to delivery. Because the yogurt is “swirled in store,” the integrity of the package is protected, she said.

Through Postmates’ app and website, guests can customize their order. If the store is out of a requested topping or flavor, the driver will call or text to ask for a substitution.

Postmates charges a $4.99 fee, plus a service charge based on the order.

You might wonder how yogurt travels. In the name of investigative journalism, I ordered three servings of Pinkberry to see how it worked.

The closest store offering delivery was a good 40 minutes away, and I ordered on a day when temperatures in Los Angeles topped 100 degrees. Why make it easy?

The driver texted to let me know the flavor I selected (passionfruit) was out that day, so I made a last-minute switch to pomegranate.

About 45 minutes later, our yogurt cups arrived, wrapped in a bag with ice, and looking as freshly swirled as if we had just walked out of the store.

Postmates drivers use an insulated cold-storage bag that keeps the product fresh and unmelted, said Jakobsen.

Three medium cups of yogurt with toppings cost $24.99. The yogurt was $18.35 and the delivery fee was $4.99 with an additional 9-percent service charge of $1.65.

Party packs are also available, serving up to 10 people.

As restaurant companies rush to become on-demand brands, many say customers are willing to pay to have their favorite meal brought to them – at least for now.

If the New York/LA test goes well, Pinkberry may roll out delivery to other markets where both the 250-unit fro-yo chain and Postmates operate, Jakobsen said.

“We look at it as a convenience lever,” she said. “We’re looking for ways to make it easier for people to have access to Pinkberry.”

Contact Lisa Jennings at [email protected].
Follow her on Twitter: @livetodineout

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