Creamistry is dedicated to freshness and quality with its made-to-order
liquid nitrogen ice cream treats.
By Staci Davidson
The average American consumes more than 23 pounds of ice cream each year, and the ice cream industry contributes more than $39 billion to the economy and 188,000 jobs, according to the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA). The group notes there is an increased demand for premium ice cream, and Creamistry is ready to answer that call, coming to many communities with a concept that is a little different from the standard scoop shop.
Offering made-to-order liquid nitrogen ice cream treats, Creamistry is dedicated to freshness and quality. Customers start by choosing a portion size and then an ice cream base: signature premium, organic, vegan coconut or non-dairy sorbet. Next, they choose one of more than 30 flavors and topics from a list of more than 35 options, including candy, cookies, cereal, fruit and sauces. The ice cream is then made right in front of the customer. When the liquid nitrogen hits each ice cream mixture, it freezes so quickly that large ice crystals don’t have a chance to develop, resulting in a rich and creamy treat. The ice cream is then scooped and served directly to the customer.
“Creamistry opened the first store in 2013 in Irvine, Calif.,” Marketing Director Kenny Cho explains. “After a year into it, it was such a successful business model and product that the owners wanted to make it available to others across the region. The first franchise location opened in 2014. It was amazing, the amount of foot traffic those stores had. Lines wrapped out the door, and some customers were driving 15 to 20 miles to get to the store. The demand was just huge.”
The demand came from the uniqueness of the process, Cho notes, as well as Creamistry’s dedication to high-quality ingredients. The company takes pride in using high-quality, premium ingredients, with many being all-natural and organic flavors and toppings. The liquid nitrogen is -321 degrees Fahrenheit, and once it is injected into the mixing bowl, it quickly evaporates into a big cloud of smoke. Within seconds, the liquid nitrogen has dissipated and customers are provided with a creamy, hand-crafted treat.
Mindsets of Success
Founded Jay Yim established Creamistry after being introduced to liquid nitrogen by a street vendor who was using it to make ice cream during a trip to South Korea. Yim was from a family of bakers, so he and his wife, Katie, made their first liquid nitrogen ice cream at home, while his father helped with quality control. For two years, the Yim family experimented with more than 100 flavors and ingredient combinations, the best of which became the base of Creamistry’s menu today.
Creamistry is now one of the fastest-growing liquid nitrogen ice cream concepts in the nation. In fact, Entrepreneur has named it one of the Top 200 Food and Restaurant Franchises of 2018, coming in at #12 within the frozen desserts category. The company has more than 55 locations in six states, and has more than 80 domestic franchise agreements sold. Cho explains the concept is nearly saturated in Southern California, so it is focused on expanding in Texas, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana and New York, with a goal of opening in Florida soon.
Additionally, Creamistry has an international master franchise agreement in place in China, with a plan to open 100 stores in the country by the end of 2022. Right now, the corporate team is working closely with its international partner to ensure the product and Creamistry branding meets its high-quality standards, while also making adjustments for the Chinese market, such as with interior décor and flavor options.
“Anyone who has a passion for ice cream or desserts can do well in this business,” Cho says. “Beyond that, we really look for owners and managers who have a mindset of success, regardless if they plan to be more hands-off or on-premise. As long as they are in it for long-term success and have a willingness to make an effort to grow this brand, they can do well.”
Creamistry created an online portal for owners and franchisees, providing them with all the materials they need to successfully run a store, such as operational manuals, a brand identity guide and necessary artwork for marketing. Compliance teams work closely with franchisees to maintain the brand’s high standards, as well as minimize waste in labor and food. Cho notes the corporate team is always available to assist franchises.
“The franchisees’ success is our success, so we make sure they have all the tools and training necessary to have a successful business,” he says. “Especially as we grow, liquid nitrogen is still a somewhat new concept, and that gives our franchisees an advantage. There is a lot we can do to help – any operational questions or customer-related issue, we are always here. We can help them crunch numbers to find areas of improvement and we have an in-house design team if a franchisee has an artwork request. If a franchisee wanted to release a localized flavor, we would work with them on R&D. We want to make sure all aspects of the business are consistent and successful.”
Right now, Creamistry is getting ready to launch more vegan and non-dairy options on its menu, in response to the market demand for those products in recent years. The company already has water-based sorbets and a coconut-cream base, but next month it plans to launch a cashew-based ice cream that is vegan and non-dairy. Its focus, of course, is to ensure any new products are at the same level of quality as its existing menu.
“The product is just so great,” Cho says. “Even amongst similar concepts, ours is still so much better. We really hold ourselves to high standards in terms of ingredients and the products. Everything is fresh and everything is done right in front of the customers, and customers are looking for that level of quality.”