BARRINGTON – Appealing to customers’ taste buds long has been a calling for brothers Ted and Andy Zatos, whose next step on the culinary road is a trending sweet treat.
Ted Zatos, of Bloomingdale, and Andy Zatos, of Addison, owners of Brunch Cafés in McHenry, Roselle and Fox River Grove, recently opened BlueCherry Frozen Yogurt in Barrington. A second BlueCherry is set to open in McHenry by month’s end, and a third and fourth are planned for Huntley and Lake Zurich, said Alexa Ulrich, general manager.
“They are workhorses,” Ulrich said of her bosses. “They’re always thinking ahead.”
The Zatoses have leapt into a competitive market with their latest endeavor. While theirs is not a franchise, frozen yogurt franchises such as Red Mango, Pinkberry and others have expanded nationwide.
Ulrich said the Zatos brothers did not care to disclose their investment in the venture. According to industry literature, though, they can anticipate sweet returns – if they can develop customer loyalty in the sea of consumers’ fro-yo options.
Business Insider, quoting a CBS New York report, noted a roughly 500 percent markup in a 10-ounce serving of frozen yogurt at shops charging 59 cents an ounce (BlueCherry charges 47 cents). And overhead is relatively low, given the self-serve concept employed.
The challenge is standing out from the competition. And Ulrich said BlueCherry is up to the task.
“Everyone loves [frozen yogurt],” Ulrich said, noting the fare is low- to non-fat and the yogurt options contain live, active cultures, appealing to the health-conscious crowd. “You just kind of have to really differentiate yourself and go the extra mile.”
For BlueCherry, which opened in June in Barrington to a waiting crowd that rounded the block along Hough Street, differentiation equates with community involvement.
The shop sponsors local high school and youth sports teams, and keeps an eye out for collaborative opportunities large and small.
Along with offering an ever-changing array of flavors such as Georgia peach, cake batter and peanut butter, and a dizzying choice of toppings, BlueCherry has set about developing customer loyalty through simple good deeds, Ulrich said.
Take it from Barrington residents Julia Stegvik, 12, and Reilly Ramsey, 11, who, with permission, stood in front of the store Aug. 19 selling lemonade for $1 a glass to benefit victims of the Moore, Okla., tornado.
“This is our third time here, and they said whatever we make here, they’ll match it,” Reilly said.
BlueCherry Frozen Yogurt
Location: 115 S. Hough St., Barrington (and opening soon at 400 S. Route 31, McHenry)
Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday; noon to 9 p.m. Sundays
Specialty: Self-serve frozen yogurt shop featuring a dozen flavors, dozens of toppings
Information: bluecherryfroyo.com; 224-848-4090