Yorkshire gelato enterprise whips up a successful franchise brand using MGP support | Manufacturing Growth Programme

The Groovy Moo Ice Cream Co. Limited are a small family gelato manufacturing and sales business with a huge wealth of experience in the ice cream and gelato sector.

Ice Cream has been in the family business for decades. Before Groovy Moo, founder Michelle ran a successful ice cream parlour in Bridlington with her husband Sean. The couple dreamed of creating their own ice cream. Which is something that would be different and stand out from a sea of similar brands.

In 2013 Michelle’s husband was diagnosed with cancer so they sold the business in Bridlington to spend more time together at home. Whilst looking after Sean, Michelle with her son, started making Italian gelato.

With the encouragement from family and friends, they started planning a new business and developing their own brand of traditional artisan gelato.

The first shop in Malton opened its doors in 2015, at the start the building was derelict, but with a lot of vision and determination they worked hard and made the estate what it is today. The business started manufacturing in the working kitchen in the back of the shop where people would come to watch the gelato being made by hand. This became an instant hit with locals and visors alike. Word spread fast and the business grew quickly. A new shop opened in Howden and a restaurant across the region began to stock Groovy Moo.

Michelle couldn’t make enough gelato to meet demand and it soon became evident that they were running out of space, so production was moved up to a new larger unit on Showfield industrial estate where it’s been made to this date by loving Yorkshire hands.

The Manufacturing Growth Programme (MGP) provided Groovy Moo with grant funding towards the cost of a franchise consultant, who helped to promote Groovy Moo to all franchise networks and publications over the internet. The take up has been very good all over the country.

Shaughan Farrow, Manufacturing Growth Manager for MGP stated, “If there is one thing pretty much everyone likes, it’s ice cream. Although it’s hard to go wrong with basic ice creams and plain flavours, in recent years the UK’s sweet tooth has begun to get a little more sophisticated. No longer content with basic ice cream, today’s consumers want something a little more exciting and a little more indulgent but healthier for their money.

“Groovy Moo saw the opportunity to offer something with more flavour, less sugar and lower fat content in making Gelato. The business invested in high-quality gelato making equipment and use only the best raw ingredients to provide a product that is softer and packed with flavour.

“Moving a successful local business to a franchise model is extremely difficult as a proven business format franchise must provide an established market for the franchisor’s products or services. It also has to provide:-

  • Proven sales, marketing and operational procedures.
  • The benefit of an established business name.
  • Training, ongoing support and help in running the business.
  • And where appropriate, help in finding, fitting out and furnishing premises.

“I feel confident the quality of product and the team at Groovy Moo will prove successful in making the transformation from a small local business to an established franchisor.”

After all the T&C’s had been set up with the franchise consultant, the next step was to start a marketing campaign to potential franchisees, those that would have the same ethos and drive as Groovy moo staff have, to make sure the product is produced and looked after as they do. The franchise consultant promoted Groovy Moo to all franchise networks and publications over the internet. The take up has been very good all over the country, with a potential of people taking on the Groovy Moo Brand. This has been a very challenging process as they have had to take a small business and try and explain this to other people so they can replicate what Groovy Moo is all about.

The next challenge was working out how they would get the gelato to the franchisees. A decision was made to deliver the product in liquid form for the franchisees to make on site. This meant they had to set them up with the equipment and give training to produce the gelato to serve in their shops.

They have just instructed a contractor to increase floor space to add more first floor storage and room for a new pasteurising plant they have ordered to upscale the production in base mix to create the gelato. As they don’t need to freeze this product it has allowed them to open up far and wide with the option of taking the production over to the UAE.

Scott Green, Groovy Moo Ltd’s Operations Manager stated, “Without a shadow of a doubt get in touch and see how they can help and support your business, Shaughan Farrow has been a huge support to our business, and we feel privileged to have him to talk to.”

Despite the retail and entertainment sectors being hit badly with Covid-19, the power of the internet and social media meant that Groovy Moo still managed to finish the year with a good profit in 2021 and it looks promising that in 2022 they will have increased their profits by 80% on 2021. The franchise model will also be a great revenue stream as this will be pure profit with a small amount of cost.

With all of this in place it has enabled them to employ more staff in manufacturing to cater for the demand in the products. They have increased the wholesale side of the business by about 30% with taking on larger clients with more outlets in one location, also with the move over to franchising they will increase sales output by over 50%.

Groovy Moo will be recruiting for more production staff once the new plant gets installed. They have invested a large amount of funds on creating a more robust production system and will increased volume by over 400% on their base mix production ready for sending out to franchisees as they come onboard.

For more information on Groovy Moo Ice Cream Co Ltd visit www.groovy-moo.co.uk