From the Yoforia CEO: Customers help create the vision
March 7, 2012
Here at Yoforia, our customers are at the center of every decision we make, from store layout and locations to new flavor introductions to the ingredients we use in our products. As the first in what will be a somewhat regular series of entries, I’d like to give you a look behind the counter, starting with a brief overview of Yoforia’s history along with some views that are important to our company and to me personally.
Yoforia was founded in 2007 and opened with three stores in the Atlanta area. The idea was to bring the new wave of frozen yogurt to the Southeast – but with the added benefit of organic milk and organic yogurt. Even as a new concept, Yoforia refused to cut corners and buy the pre-made mixes that are commonplace in the industry. After much R&D, consisting of literally weeks and months of trying new recipes in our founder’s garage, the base formula for Yoforia was perfected.
The first self-serve store was introduced in 2009 in the Vinings area of Atlanta to an overwhelming success. This was clearly the model for the future and provided Yoforia with the ability to build a few more stores. Several new stores were added over the next year and a half, enabling Yoforia’s entrance into North Carolina. It was at this time, in mid-2010, that I was first introduced to Yoforia on a date with my 3-year-old daughter. We loved the product and I wanted to be a part of the company.
At the time of my first Yoforia experience, I was looking to transition careers. Somewhat serendipitously, I received a call from a friend that knew Yoforia was looking for a CEO. Call it fate, but just a few short months later I was officially a part of the Yoforia team.
I not only loved the design of the store and the idea of a fun, young, growing company, but I loved that Yoforia’s roots were grounded in providing a superior product with the intention of using the best possible ingredients. As a father of three young girls and a very health conscious person myself, I appreciated what Yoforia was trying to do. I also knew that with the existing foundation of the company, I had an opportunity to continue to evolve the product and truly have an impact on the eating habits of a large number of consumers.
With no previous experience in the food industry and a strong passion for healthy eating, I was very naïve initially on how quickly I could advance the product. I thought that making changes would be simple, but I was quickly amazed at how difficult the industry standards made it to produce a perfect product. This is something that we battle daily and thus I anticipate this struggle being the basis for a large number of posts.
With 20 stores (and counting) currently in the US along with one of our first international stores opening shortly (I am actually writing this initial post from Kuwait while up early from jet lag for our initial opening), we have stayed busy since my first day here. We have made significant strides in bettering the product and will continue doing so every day. Again, a perfect product is our goal we will never stop working towards this.
I hope to use this as a forum for questions, suggestions and a discussion on Yoforia specifically and the food industry in general. I would love to hear about what is important to each of you as well, so please leave your comments below.
Thank you for your time and for being a Yoforia customer. I look forward to a healthy discussion in the future.
Yoforia Chief Executive Officer