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Tasti D-Lite Swallows Planet Smoothie

Outside Tasti D-Lite's head office window
Outside Tasti D-Lite's head office window, photo/bmm

FRANKLIN, Tenn. — A small franchisor of frozen yogurt treats, Tasti D-Lite, has gobbled up Planet Smoothie, LLC. The acquisition closed on November 30.

Tasti D-Lite has 60 stores scattered throughout the United States and two other countries. Planet Smoothie is a franchising firm of some 100 franchised stores located mainly in Georgia and Florida. In a December 1 statement, Tasti D-Lite said the acquisition of Planet Smoothie will allow both brands to broaden product offerings, improve retail sales and accelerate unit growth through co-branding initiatives and non-traditional development opportunities.

"This acquisition presents an opportunity to combine two iconic brands to create a winning combination for both the customer and the franchisee," said Jim Amos, chief executive officer of Tasti D-Lite.  "The consumer profiles of Tasti D-Lite and Planet Smoothie are very similar, so combining the two complementary brands will provide both brands an opportunity to increase the scale of the combined store network as well as sales at the store level."

Amos is no stranger to controversy. He was recently chair of franchising firm Sona Medspa of Tennessee, which was found guilty of negligent misrepresentation. As the CEO of Texas-based I Can't Believe It's Yogurt, Amos was judged by a court years ago to be guilty of conspiracy (pdf). He quietly disappeared from Proctor & Gamble leadership after being appointed to help lead in one of its first attempts at franchising. Amos is best known for leading and selling franchisor Mail Boxes Etc to United Parcel Service, which became The UPS Store. Since then, the system has been embroiled in years of lawsuits from franchisees, who allege deception in converting from mail box rental stores to parcel delivery services of The UPS Store. Besides frozen yogurt, Amos is currently active in selling healthcare franchises in Kenya.

Over the coming months, Tasti D-Lite products will be added to select Planet Smoothie stores and likewise, Planet Smoothie menu offerings will be made available to Tasti D-Lite locations.  Tasti D-Lite's core frozen dessert products will be made available to Planet Smoothie customers utilizing self-serve machines.  "We are giving our consumers even more reason to visit our stores," Amos said. "By adding a product line that enhances Planet Smoothie's menu, we are adding a new component that broadens the offering to the consumer."

This acquisition is Tasti D-Lite's latest initiative focused on increasing growth through the pursuit of non-traditional development methods.  Earlier this year, the first drive-thru Tasti D-Lite location opened in Columbia, Missouri, and the first on-campus store was opened at Duke University.  In addition, Tasti D-Lite introduced its first self-serve model to the brand's long-time full-serve model, and also introduced its first "store-within-a-store" location on Las Vegas Boulevard.  Following this transaction, Tasti D-Lite plans to offer new franchisees the option to own and operate in a co-branded store concept, which fully integrates both brands into a unique customer experience.

"Combining these brands will add value for our franchisees, which in turn will allow us to accelerate the growth of our store network," Amos said. "We are thrilled to have acquired such a compelling brand with great promise that complements our product offering."

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Staff reporter for Blue MauMau