Food and Drink International - Winter 2016 Volume 1 - 29

Sub Zero Ice Cream & Yogurt

within the burrito restaurant in 2004, but it took a large learning curve before the second location, and first stand-alone,
could open in 2008.
Early on, Hancock couldn't persuade liquid nitrogen suppliers to deliver to him so he handled the supply himself.
"We were such a new idea the big companies didn't want
to take the risk of trying it out," he says. Hancock started by
taking 50-liter tanks down to the local nitrogen plant.
Manufacturers wouldn't sell to him directly so he bought
the gas under a third-party name then lugged the tanks back
to the burrito restaurant in his car. Passing motorists would
honk a warning, worried the trail of vapor coming from the
tanks in the backseat was industrial equipment getting ready
to burst.
"When you're convinced you've got something that's going to work, you've got to do whatever you can to make it
possible," he says.
Hancock eventually purchased a larger Air Force military
surplus tank and cut his resupply trips down from daily to
every two weeks. A few niche suppliers began delivering to
stores, but had to restrict sales after their corporate lawyers
found out. It wasn't until last year that Sub Zero Ice Cream
was able to secure a contract with national vendor Air Liquide, a feat that was only possible because of the company's
10-year record of safely handling liquid nitrogen.
With a national liquid nitrogen supply contract in place,
Sub Zero is now better positioned to bring its ice cream experience to a wider audience.

up to 1,700 square feet, but Sub Zero will soon introduce a
600- to 700-square-foot model.
In addition to ice cream, stores sell Italian ice, yogurt and
custard. Hancock says this allows Sub Zero to stay nimble
and capitalize on trends in the market. If customer tastes shift
toward custard, many yogurt places will be left behind. But
because Sub Zero doesn't freeze its product until the time of
order it can easily accommodate those market changes.
The company is also looking to add products that complement ice cream. At its flagship store in Provo, Utah, Sub
Zero is introducing a soda lab that allows guests to customize their beverage. If someone wants a strawberry soda or a
coffee-flavored Coca-Cola, Sub Zero can make it.
Solidifying its supplier agreements and refining its process improved the Sub Zero brand and enabled the company
to better market itself. Store sales are on the upswing as customers become familiar with the Sub Zero name and owners
better understand their product. "What I think is exciting is
we're getting some very experienced franchisees in the system that are getting better and better," Hancock says.

Growing Brand
Walking into a Sub Zero location is about more than getting
a good bowl of ice cream. It's an entire experience. Most ice
cream shops have a white motif, but Sub Zero brings color
and light intensity to its counters to make them a focal point
for the guests.
The making of the ice cream is a spectacle all to itself.
Employees whisk the ingredients around in a steel bowl before bathing it in liquid nitrogen gas. The gas is then vented out toward the customer, turning them into a participant.
"Making that customer experience a show is paramount to
what we're trying to do," Hancock says.
Today, there are 54 Sub Zero locations, including franchises in China and the United Arab Emirates. The company is on pace to add between 15 and 20 new stores a year.
Most of its current locations are found in strip centers, but
reductions in counter space are enabling the company to
expand its range of footprints to support a wider variety of
markets. Stores today range in size from 1,200 square feet
food & drink international * winter 2016 volume 1 * www.fooddrink-magazine.com

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Food and Drink International - Winter 2016 Volume 1

Contents
Food and Drink International - Winter 2016 Volume 1 - Cover1
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Food and Drink International - Winter 2016 Volume 1 - 1
Food and Drink International - Winter 2016 Volume 1 - Contents
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