Pic from Angelenic
Fad or not, expect to see a Pinkberry in every neighborhood across the country a la Starbucks. Fortune confirms today that Starbucks founder Howard Schultz's venture capital firm, Maveron, will dump not gazillions but $27.5 million into Pinkberry . That's a a lot of freakin' swirl. In a press release, Schultz called Pinkberry founders Shelly Hwang and Young Lee "visionary entrepreneurs" and labeled their brand "a cultural phenomenon." There's talk about employee stock options and "lifestyle environments" like Starbucks. Pinkberry now has 32 stores in NY and LA, and plans to grow to 50 locations by the end of the year, which means all those little wannabes are probably history, just like all the small neighborhood cafes Starbucks left in its wake. Nothing can stop the onslaught now.
Do you think Schultz asked or cares what the "secret ingredient" is in the powder? The people who keep shoveling it in really don't care, that's for sure. We took an informal poll last week. We asked the hostess of Robata Bar in Santa Monica what she thought about Pinkberry, her eyes got wide and she confessed, "I LOVE it!" When we asked what Pinkberry is exactly, she started to say yogurt, and we said, "nah ah ah...not yogurt." She rolled her eyes and said, "Well, fine. Not yogurt, but it's soo good." Don't you care what you're putting into your body? Don't you want to know? She kind of giggled and walked away. Our server said she liked Pinkberry but will not go to the one in Venice where she lives because it "should NOT" be on Abbot-Kinney: "I ban that one, but go to the one on Melrose all the time." She's the worst kind of NIMBY, a FYNIMBY: Frozen Yogurt Not In My Back Yard.
· Starbucks founder bites into Pinkberry [CNN/Fortune]
· EaterWire: Prepare for Even More Pinkberry [~ELA~]
· The Frozen Yorgurt War Chronicles [~ELA~]