Four Lower-Cost Franchises to Watch

By Callie Evergreen

Jan, 27 2021


Frios Gourmet Pops

The concept: CEO Cliff Kennedy touts Frios as the “easiest and simplest franchising company I can imagine out there.” The brand started as a brick-and-mortar concept, but transitioned to a mobile, tie-dye wrapped popsicle truck when COVID-19 hit. “If you look at it, it screams fun, and that’s what we are. We sell happiness for a living,” Kennedy said. “You don’t have machines to clean up, you just have to unplug a freezer to unthaw it sometimes. There are no complicated systems to learn, which is what people are attracted to.”

The stats: Founded in 2013, Frios started franchising in 2018. There are more than 40 franchise locations in the U.S., including seven vans and four more on the way. Though focused on pushing mobile, a brick-and-mortar store is 1,500 square feet. The total investment costs $35,000 to $40,000 for a mobile franchise.

The competition: “We compete with the ice cream man and shaved ice companies out there,” Kennedy said. “We also have added revenue streams. I give my franchisees a bunker freezer, what you see at a gas station, to set up wholesale accounts. You can’t do that with a shaved ice company—sell in bulk and not actually have to be there.”

The challenge: As it expands, Frios will need to separate itself in the food category, as its products are made in a manufacturing facility and prepackaged. “The franchisee never touches it, they’re shipped out to franchisees on a weekly basis with a variety of flavors that rotate seasonally,” Kennedy said. “You’re not really in the food business, you sell a popsicle.”

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