TRURO - Just grab a cup and dispense your own frozen yogurt.
And so the idea of FROZÜ was born. Three months later it is becoming reality in the shape of a prototype franchise being developed in Truro.
"That's the speed of light in terms of within the restaurant business, to take something from concept (to the marketplace)," in such a short time, said Michael Whittaker, of the Capt. Submarine and Greco Pizza brands of the FROZÜ shop under construction at the Capt. Submarine shop on the Esplanade.
"Usually it takes four or five years to develop a concept and open it. We did it in like three months. It's amazing," Whittaker said, from inside the Capt. Sub shop on the Esplanade, which is being renovated to accommodate the FROZÜ franchise.
"And it offers a nice alternative too," he said. "If people want to come in and have a sub for lunch, they might want to have a frozen yogurt for dessert."
"Typically though," he added, "the frozen yogurt experience is totally separate from any other meal." Such as an after-dinner treat for the whole family on a hot summer's night, Whittaker suggested.
Customers get to serve themselves from a choice of four dispensing machines, each of which will offer two individual flavours (such as vanilla or strawberry) and a centre flavour tap that offers a combination of the two.
About 20 individual flavours are available overall on a rotating basis.
"As they run out we will put in a different flavour," Whittaker said.
As well, a wide array of about 100 different toppings, including caramel or chocolate sauces, Smarties and fresh fruit will also be available.
"So you'll have everything from pineapple to mango to raspberries to strawberries, everything," he said. "And it's all fresh fruit, it's not frozen."
Careful research has also been conducted Whittaker said, to ensure the yogurt itself is of top quality.
"It's all low fat and no fat alternatives."
Customers will dispense as much frozen yogurt as they want and then put on their own toppings. The cost per serving will be based on weight.
FROZÜ is the "brainchild of Grinner's Food Systems (which owns the Capt. Submarine and Greco Pizza brands among others, and of which Truro businessman Bill Hay is a major partner).
"It kind of came out of a strategic planning meeting that we held at the White Point Lodge about three months ago," Whittaker said. "It just came up in conversation that this is a really hot, excuse the pun, hot concept that's growing really, really quickly.
"We all came to the conclusion, ‘you know what, this is a really good fit for us."'
The FROZÜ name itself was conceived by Mary Jane MacPhee, an administrative assistant at the company's Truro offices.
"The staff, our executive team over here on Walker Street, they're brilliant, just brilliant," Whittaker said.
With a wide food distribution system and a host of Capt. Submarine and Greco Pizza franchises located throughout Atlantic Canada, Whittaker said the company already has a built-in investor base and he anticipates the FROZÜ concept is going to catch on quickly.
"We have purchasing power. We sell probably $40 (million) to $50 million a year in Atlantic Canada,"
he said, of the overall food group.
"We're pretty excited about it. It's going to go pretty well."
The Truro shop is expected to open Aug. 12.