While I remain absolutely loyal to my favourite Froyo place in Sydney, my froyo-free record was edging into 4+ months by the time J told us about Yo-Chi in Melbourne (honestly, I am very much over froyo). But after our Town Mouse dining adventure, we happened to walk past the branch near Lygon St. Sydney? You officially need to step up your froyo game.
I'm a firm believer in the power of aesthetics. And while it is not always proved right, any store that has a consistent, high-quality aesthetic, from its product branding to interior design of its stores, will probably have a product good enough to believe in.
And when that aesthetic is a very Japanese-inspired affair of light wood accents with stone/marble finishing and attractive typography, I'm going to be into it, hook, line and sinker.
And that's what sets Yo-Chi leaps and bounds ahead from any other froyo place to me.
It's a froyo place - but it's a froyo place with a clear idea of its appeal and what the customer might expect. It seems unbelievably fitting, then, that their froyo flavours include salted butterscotch, coffee and chai (oh yes, you need to try their chai) to its fruit piece toppings (yes, watermelon and fresh mint) and organic halva (also a good one to try).
With new flavours like lime and avocado, you really get a sense they're not afraid to keep reinventing.
The shameless hipster in me is unashamed (and it actually does taste good).
Forget the desperate scramble for more and more real estate space - if you're going to jump on any sort of food bandwagon or trend, you need to create a brand that will make someone stop and do a double take in the street.
It can be as simple as marketing your brand using organic textures and minimalist typography and concentrating on rare flavours and toppings: a stark counterpoint to the neon, new-age pop cute of its rival franchises. Nothing is wrong with the latter - it's just that thinking outside the box might get you further.
Now what will it take for a Sydney expansion, Yo-Chi?