16 Handles Aims to Win in Frozen Yogurt Consolidation
April 24, 2013
NEW YORK (TheStreet) - Up and coming frozen yogurt chain, 16 Handles believes that it has what it takes to be successful in the crowded industry.
Founder and CEO Solomon Choi opened the first store in Manhattan's trendy East Village in 2008. It now has 37 locations across six states through franchising. It plans to more than double that amount by the end of 2014.
16 Handles has some big shoes to fill though. Frozen yogurt sales topped $760 million in 2012 with TCBY, Red Mango and Pinkberry controlling half of the industry, according to IBISWorld.
IBISWorld forecasts that while industry will see 4.2% growth in revenue over the five years between 2012 and 2017, margins are eroding, given the rising cost of milk, consumers' finicky preferences and competition.
Choi is optimistic about the company's prospects. He says 16 Handles was actually the first store to implement the popular self-serve model whereby customers create their own frozen dessert by pulling the "handle" of one of the store's 16 daily flavors. Self-serve models now make up the largest segment of frozen yogurt stores (at just under 40%).
Go ahead, indulge. The weather’s getting warmer and you’re running out of excuses, anyway. Tangier and lighter than that radioactive-colored stuff you got as a kid, today’s FroYo is more sophisticated and flavorful than ever. Grab a spoon and enjoy the healthier way to chill out – these are your best bets for frozen yogurt in New York City. Now, go on – you’re all out of excuses. By Yvo Sin.
16 Handles - With multiple locations across the East Coast, 16 Handles has made an impact on the frozen yogurt scene with its self-serve model. With sixteen kosher-certified flavors and and a ton of toppings to make it your own, there’s hardly a better way to celebrate frozen yogurt month.
Deciding from more than 23,000 options can be daunting even for a local, but some of the Big Apple’s digs are so distinct that they shouldn't be missed. The latest trend in the city? Well, let's just say selfservice is the new black.
While every local has their favorite pizzeria, sushi stop, or frozen yogurt takeout joint, hands-on dining and drinking spots where customers participate in the experience are worth a visit. In a single day-trip visitors can cook their own hibachi, top their frozen yogurt, concoct an original cocktail, and sing with Broadway stars over drinks.
Start with Japanese barbecue at Gyu-Kaku where you are the chef, followed by drinks at Ward III, where you can name your own cocktail to be created. For dessert there is 16 Handles for self-serve yogurt, and Murdered by the Mob's riffs on the traditional dinner theater shouldn’t be missed.
In the mood for a cooking class? Then Miette Culinary Studio is the place for themed menus or AOA Bar and Grill for learning how to make pizza. So next time you’re headed to the big city, get your hands dirty at one of these interactive dining destinations.
Environmentally-friendly frozen yogurt chain 16 Handles, which has 28 locations across New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland, and Florida, has rolled out a couple of new flavors just in time for the holidays.
Available only for the month of December, fat-free frozen yogurt in eggnog and peppermint stick flavors will join the rotating roster of options at the chain’s locations, which launched in 2008 and is best known for introducing self-serve frozen yogurt to New York City. After filling up your cup, you can then top it up with a wide variety of fruit, nuts, candies, cakes, sauces, and other toppings.
"Eggnog and Peppermint Stick are both iconic flavors of the holiday season, so we decided to bring them back to our handles to help frozen yogurt fans say cheers to the most wonderful time of the year. Enjoy them before the 'handles' run out," said Solomon Choi, 16 Handles founder.
The chain also is committed to being eco-friendly, and uses biodegradable packaging and spoons. Each store also plants 16 trees every day, with more than 87,000 new trees planted to date.
1) Hell's Kitchen: The latest wine bar to open in Hell's Kitchen is Kilo, which Zagat reports is now open. Open nightly at 4:30 p.m., the kitchen stays open till midnight, offering a menu of small plates like gnocchi, meatballs, and salads, plus cheese and a couple of larger, shareable plates. Status: Certified Open; 857 Ninth Ave., (212) 707-8770 .
2) Murray Hill: A new location of the frozen yogurt chain 16 Handles has opened, pcsvtBee reports. The hours are Monday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., Friday to Saturday 11 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. Status: Certified Open; 428 Third Ave.
3) Long Island City: The owners of Queens Thai restaurant TUK TUK have opened a Vietnamese restaurant, according to DNAinfo. Called Cyclo, the restaurant serves pho, salads, banh mi, bo luc loc and more. Status: Certified Open; 5-51 47th Ave. at Vernon, (718) 786-8309.
4) Williamsburg: A few tipsters write in to note that Ramen Yebisu had its soft opening earlier this week. Yakitori Totto alum Akira Kiratsuka is serving up Sapporo-style ramen. Cash only. Status: Soft Open; 126 N 6th St., (718) 782-1444.
People, this is getting ridiculous: Doesn't everyone know that frozen yogurt isn't real food? That it's merely cobbled together out of skinny-jeans dreams and whipped air? Evidently not: Zagat has it that Über-popular 16 Handles
is on the march, out to feed the frozen-dessert slobbering masses in Murray Hill, Soho, and the West Village. And here we'd started thinking un-frozen yogurt was the only dairy threat these days.
SoulCycle Owner Julie Rice Finds Bliss at 16 Handles
December 07, 2012
New York Magazine
As any of her cult followers will attest, Julie Rice, co-founder and co-CEO of SoulCycle, is obsessed with happiness through spinning. But a little-known fact: She's almost as passionate about sweets. Rice cops to having a dietary duality: lots of vegetables paired with "a ton" of sugar. "My whole life is about snacking," the 42-year-old mother of two tells Grub Street. "My husband says if I were a superhero, my name would be the Nibbler." Read all about her chocolate-drizzled Pop Chips, concession stand candy, and incredible quantity of frozen yogurt in this week's New York Diet.
Friday, November 30
Three weeks before my 41st birthday, I snuck in another baby; now, besides my 7-year-old, Phoebe, I have a 19-month old, Parker. So, naturally, coffee starts between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m. It's always the same: coffee from Porto Rico or Ninth Street Espresso, with Sweet 'n Low and almond milk. Parker says "button" and presses start.
In what may be a first for the platform, a New York frozen yogurt chain is leveraging Snapchat for a promotion that presents users with a coupon that self-destructs within 10 seconds.
The idea came about when the chain — 16 Handles — noted that a lot of its young users were using their Snapchat handles to interact on social media. The program works like this: If you snap a pic of you or your friends at a 16Handles location tasting one of their flavors, you can send it to
Love16Handles on Snapchat. In return, you'll get a coupon for anywhere from 16% to 100% off on your purchase. You have 10 seconds to let the cashier scan the coupon, though.
Obviously, 16 Handles could have run a standard promo in which it sent a coupon in return for a photo. Jarrod Walpert, director of marketing for 16 Handles, says this adds an element of novelty. "It's a litmus test," Walpert says. "Our core user is a Snapchat user."
The Big Apple’s first self-serve frozen-yogurt concept may be a New York City brand, but it has its roots planted on the West Coast. Founder Solomon Choi learned the quick-service ropes while working for a gelato concept in his native California.
“That’s how my exposure to frozen desserts started in 2005,” he says. “But I began to notice an increase in the popularity of frozen yogurt. The idea for a self serve came from a family friend.” That friend operated America’s Cup in
Costa Mesa. “It was a one-unit neighborhood gem started in 1988,” Choi says. “I reached out and said, ‘I don’t want to spy, and I won’t open a store near you if you teach me how to do this.’”
Choi learned the business, but decided the frozen-yogurt market in California was too crowded. “Dessert is a great platform—very social and fun,” he says. “I had the idea to turn it into a lifestyle brand, but I couldn’t do that in Southern California.”
16 Handles Toasts Holiday Tradition with December LTOs
November 30, 2012
16 Handles toasts holiday tradition with the return of two limited-edition flavors: Eggnog and Peppermint Stick. Both flavors, offered in a limited holiday run, will be available for the month of December at 16 Handles.
16 Handles’ seasonal Eggnog flavor offers a nonfat take on a beloved winter beverage that is steeped in holiday tradition. The flavor fuses the creamy taste of Eggnog with perfect hints of cinnamon and nutmeg. It pairs well with a number of toppings including Apple Pie Crumble and white chocolate
sauce. Nonfat Peppermint Stick offers a wintry cool sensation that packs a minty bite reminiscent of the “candy cane” treat many of us grew up with during the holidays. The flavor pairs well with dark chocolate sauce and 16 Handles' new Cool Peppermint Bark micro-batch topping, available for a limited time at participating locations.
As with all 16 Handles’ flavors, both Eggnog and Peppermint Stick are Kosher certified and carry The National Yogurt Association’s seal of approval.
16 Handles Dishes Up Limited Time American Apple Pie Flavor
November 12, 2012
16 Handles announces the return of a seasonal favorite: American Apple Pie, a limited edition frozen yogurt crafted with all the flavor and tradition associated with Thanksgiving.
With American Apple Pie 16 Handles dishes up a nonfat frozen yogurt take on a cherished seasonal dessert. The flavor fuses orchard apples and “cinnamony-goodness” with hints of buttery crust. It pairs well with a number of toppings including just crumb cake crumbs and caramel sauce.
As with all 16 Handles flavors, American Apple Pie is Kosher certified and carries The National Yogurt Association’s seal of approval.
“American Apple Pie is an iconic holiday dessert that appeals to everyone—from the young to the young at heart,” says Solomon Choi, 16 Handles founder and CEO. “We love to bring back this limited-edition flavor each year because it conjures up memories of good times with family and friends, and it makes the holidays that much more delicious!”
Frozen yogurt continues to be a hot industry and all signs point toward continued growth as we head into the warmer days of summer. In honor of National Frozen Yogurt Month, which takes place each June, we spoke with Solomon Choi, founder of 16 Handles, to find out what’s sizzling hot in the world of one of America’s coolest snacks and desserts – Fro-Yo!
What’s trending in the frozen yogurt/ confection industry?
The self-serve business model continues to dominate. More QSR/food-focused concepts are realizing that when you bring the guest into the experience magic happens. Today it’s all about letting guests choose what they want how they want it.
We Try the New Flavor, Mocha Java Chip, from 16 Handles
February 22, 2013
I thought I was a java fiend before I moved to New York. But if there was any doubt then, there certainly isn't now, as my daily coffee intake has rocketed to dizzying heights in the Empire State. If there's one universal truth about me and my fellow espresso guzzlers, it's this: we coffee lovers hold out hope for all things coffee-flavored. We want them to blow our java-craving minds with how true the flavor is to the art of brew. 16 Handles recently released a new flavor, Mocha Java Chip, that touts the addition of "fresh,
micro-ground coffee beans." Sure enough, there they were, studded in my (less than gracefully) swirled fro-yo. The coffee element was reminiscent of my pour-over from earlier in the morning, and the grounds added tiny moments of sharp, roasted coffee bean flavor. As taken aback as I was by this, the most impressive part was what the coffee grounds did for the chocolate flavor.
I think I might be a 16 Handles believer. I had never even been inside the trendy weigh-it-and-buy-it frozen yogurt chain that now boasts 12 locations (with more on the way) in New York City alone when Sweets editor Carrie asked me to check out the return of their fall flavor American Apple Pie. Now, don't get the wrong impression. I harbor no ill will towards frozen
yogurt; like Carrie, I grew up on Tasti-D-Lite and continue to indulge on hot summer days. I don't see fro-yo as a substitute for rich, dense, calorie-heavy ice cream, but rather as a delightful addition to the pantheon of frozen desserts.
How do you say hello where you’re from? “Salut.” What is your Starbucks order? Frappucino light, soy cappuccino, or orange-ginger tea during the winter. What are you wearing right now? Stella McCartney pants, Isabel Marant sweater, and a YSL tote filled with my Adidas by Stella gear.
The places you always visit in New York: Koreatown. Juice Press. 16 Handles. Favorite destination you have traveled to so far: Cape Town, South Africa. Where would you like to go on your next vacation? Kenya. What is the best advice (professional or personal) you’ve ever been given? Sleep on it, and use an eyelash curler.
Suppose, like school buddies Gregg Heubach and Josh Heller, you are young, ambitious, armed with a fresh master's in real-estate finance from NYU and have some serious dough to invest. Where would you start? Messrs. Heubach and Heller have a genius idea. Wait for it…self-serve
frozen yogurt. This spring, the two opened Off the Wall yogurt shops in Chelsea and Union Square, complete with a launch party featuring vodka-root-beer fro-yo. July will bring a new store to Times Square. Next stop: Brooklyn.
16 Handles Continues Expansion With Four New Stores
August 14, 2012
Some folks have complained about the crazy amount of frozen yogurt stores taking over Manhattan, but those folks really should just go and get themselves some soft serve. Mini-chain 16 Handles has just announced expansion plans, with three new stores in the works. They will join the just-opened Chelsea location, which recently started to dish out frozen treats on Eighth Avenue and 19th Street. A branch will open by the end of august in
Murray Hill (428 Third Avenue) followed by a SoHo outpost between Prince and Spring in October. A West Village location is also in the works, that one will be at 245 Bleecker Street and will open in November. These will join the 26 shops that are currently open in five states - say what you will but people clearly want some fro-yo action!
Win a Year of Free Fro-Yo at New 16 Handles Flagship
December 14, 2012
Attention, fro-yo addicts: tomorrow, 16 Handles is opening a new, 1,500-sq. ft. flagship store in SoHo with 16 (!) rotating flavors and a fully-loaded toppings bar. To celebrate the new space - which will surely be a hot spot among neighborhood fashionistas - the store is giving away one year of free yogurt to the first 16 people who visit. If you're one of those people who pops
into 16 Handles after SoulCycle class every day, this could just be your Powerball. In order to be eligible, you have to check in on Foursquare and show the cashier your phone at check-out (240 Lafayette St.).
Founded in 2008, 16 Handles is big on expression, encouraging people to "flaunt their flavor" and personality, all while keeping it eco-friendly. Their flavors are kosher-certified, fat-free, and packed with protein and calcium. They use cornstarch spoons and biodegradable cups, and they partner with Trees for the Future, planting 16 trees a day. The chain offers more than 75 flavors, feature 16 on tap that rotate daily, along with more than 50 toppings, including Cap’n Crunch, crushed Snickers, cheesecake bites, and crumb cake crumbs. Their head chef, Robynne Maii, works to introduce new gourmet ideas, like their Artisan collection with yogurts like Tahitian vanilla and toppings like bananas Foster chips. Other flavors include caramel popcorn, cinnamon doughnut, cotton candy, eggnog, green tea vanilla, and New York cheesecake. In a 83-gram serving, their original tart flavor contains 90 calories, 0 grams fat, and 15 grams of sugar.
The FroYo Mogul: Solomon Choi of 16 Handles on Building a Dessert Franchise Phenomenon
August 12, 2015
Success in business depends on coming to market with the right product, at the right time, in the right place. It’s not an easy trick to pull off — though Solomon Choi made it look easy.
In 2008, the former restaurant entrepreneur moved from Los Angeles to New York to create 16 Handles, the city’s first self-serve frozen yogurt brand. The concept caught fire immediately, and has since grown to 40 locations throughout the East Coast, with three locations set to open next month in Saudi Arabia.
Choi took notice of the frozen dessert market after visiting America’s Cup Yogurt in Costa Mesa — a thriving self-serve operation run by a friend of his named Steve Song. After three months spent learning the business from Song, Choi left California to create a brand of his own.
10 Frozen Yogurt Toppings That Are Worth Your Money, Ranked
May 26, 2015
For some, a trip to a frozen yogurt shop is a lighter way to satisfy a sweet tooth. For others, it's basically a visit to a build-your-own-sundae bar.
With options that are endless, piling on loads of toppings comes at a price. Which made us wonder: which options provide the most bang for your buck? We reached out to 16 Handles, a well-known frozen yogurt shop with locations across the east coast, to inquire about the most popular toppings at their franchises. We measured 0.6 ounces (a rather unscientific amount, just because it looked good in pictures) of each topping to determine which of the most popular treats had the highest volume or number of individual pieces.
Ah, 16 Handles, the frozen yogurt chain which so many of us love. It lets you enter a real life Willy Wonka factory and perfectly hits the spot when you need to fulfill those sweet tooth cravings. However, there are always people who will threaten your 16 Handles experience, which you have been longing for all damn day. (Yes, daily trips are totally normal. You are not alone.)
Next time you pay a visit to 16 Handles, don’t let these people that everyone secretly hates ruin your experience.
Skinnygirl™ Sparklers “Cool” Partnership with 16 Handles
August 25, 2015
Following the successful launch of the Skinnygirl™ Sparklers line, Bethenny Frankel and AriZona Beverages is partnering with 16 Handles to create a limited edition Skinnygirl™ Sorbet.
Fans of the sparkling water will now be able to enjoy it as a light and refreshing treat on one of the frozen yogurt chain’s 16 Handles. Skinnygirl™ Sorbet will be available in the most popular of the Skinnygirl™ Sparklers flavors, Strawberry Lemonade. At only 20 calories and 5.5 grams of sugar per serving the sorbet is fat free and vegan friendly.
Bethenny Frankel, founder of Skinnygirl™, says of the partnership, “I am thrilled to be partnering with 16 Handles to turn Strawberry Lemonade Skinnygirl™ Sparkler into an entirely new experience of low cal sweet snacking for the Skinnygirl™ fanbase.”
16 Handles CE-yo Solomon Choi adds, “We are thrilled to have come up with a flavor that fans of both brands will truly love. It’s refreshing, tangy and sweet, a marriage made in fro-yo heaven.”
Strawberry Lemonade Skinnygirl™ Sorbet will be available at most 16 Handles locations for a limited time only beginning August 27th.
There is some creamy competition in town that will have you saying, “Oh My, Pumpkin Pie.”
16 Handles is launching a brand new pumpkin frozen yogurt and it’s unlike any other pumpkin soft serve. The Artisan creation is made at 16 Handles creamery with real pumpkin, spices and actual bits of freshly baked graham cookies. It’s as if the popular fro-yo chain took your grandmother’s classic homemade pumpkin pie recipe and turned it into a creamy frozen yogurt treat.
16 Handles founder/CEO Solomon Choi says, “We know pumpkin’s popular and we got tired of tasting all the artificial flavorings out there. Nobody could get pumpkin right – so we decided to perfect it!”
The team worked closely with their chef to create the best tasting pumpkin flavor on the market. “Compare ‘Oh my, Pumpkin Pie’ to any of our competitors and I guarantee you’ll be coming back for more!,” says Choi.
16 Handles is proud to announce the opening of three new locations in Saudi Arabia. This is part of a development deal that calls for 150 stores to open in the Mideast over the next 10 years. 16 Handles founder/CEO Solomon Choi says “the Middle East is a great opportunity for the company to bring frozen yogurt to a year-round hot climate. Right now as much of the US is starting to feel the Fall weather set in, temperatures in Saudi Arabia are hovering in the 100’s during the day. What better way to cool off than a cool treat?”
Digiday – How 16 Handles Scoops Out Good Content on Snapchat
FroYo monger 16 Handles was on Snapchat back when most adults assumed it was for sexting.
Back in 2013, 16 Handles asked Snapchat users to snap them a photo of them tasting its yogurt in exchange for a coupon. (Users had to open the snap at the register since it would disappear in 10 seconds.) The effort was heralded as the first brand to use the app.