KaleidoScoops was formed in 1999 by several former Baskin-Robbins franchisees after the latter company terminated approximately 200 domestic franchisee agreements in Southern markets they deemed "nonstrategic." Over forty of the former franchisees united to form the new company, KaleidoScoops, which operates as a cooperative based in Austin, Texas. These people formed the co-op to improve the quality of the ice cream, lower the cost of overhead and pass the savings on to long time neighborhood customers. They also wanted to bring back the friendly neighborhood ice cream store and eliminate the impersonal, faceless, corporate type store.
The first stores to be converted experienced an initial drop in sales of about 20 percent. But as customers tried the new ice cream, sales rose above pre-conversion amounts. Between 2000 and 2003, KaleidoScoops doubled in size, with many of its members entering the cooperative with no prior experience owning ice cream shops. These new owners brought in fresh prospectives and new ideas to Kaleidoscoops that have allowed the company to expand into 20 states. Kaleidoscoops is still expanding and is still having franchisees convert from other ice cream chains.
The co-op takes no percentage of sales revenue, although it does levy a $2 surcharge per each tub of ice cream, which made up the bulk of its earnings in 2001. Even with the surcharge, ice cream costs about 30% less for store owners buying from KaleidoScoops than from Baskin-Robbins, according to Fletcher. Because of this, Kaleidoscoops is able to offer higher quality ice cream to customers for the same price as competitor's lower quality ice cream. Also, layers of management and bureaucracy have been removed to lower costs and create a more efficient company. The co-op offers help with site selection, construction, and advertising. They also offer decades of help from experienced ice cream store owners. A portion of any profits generated by the co-op is split among members in the form of patronage dividends. KaleidoScoops members are given significantly more freedom in running their store than Baskin-Robbins permits its franchisees. Co-op members are allowed to choose their own operating hours, decor, and menu, apart from ice cream. All Kaleidoscoops Ice Cream and More shops serve supreme hand dipped ice cream. Most shops also serve smoothies, Sundaes, banana splits, ice cream cakes and shaved ice. Besides the supreme quality ice cream, Kaleidoscoops is also known for its friendly owner/operators, reminiscent of old time ice cream parlor operators. Often the owner of the shop works along side employees. These owners are usually active in the community and often donate some of their profits to local charities. The current president is Boyd Harris, a former Baskin-Robins owner.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 Spector, Amy. "Ex-Baskin-Robbins franchisees sue chain, open scoop shops." Nation's Restaurant News, 2001-06-18, p. 4.
- ↑ Gallun, Alby. "Upstart ice cream co-op seeks scoop of Baskin-Robbins' biz." Crain's Chicago Business, 2001-07-16.