Blake Daniel, Franchise Owner with Frios Gourmet Pops
Blake Daniel, a Frios Gourmet Pops franchise owner based in the Fort Worth/Tyler, Texas area, started franchising with the company in fall 2020. Check out the interview below, where Daniel weighs in on how being in business for yourself compares to a corporate job, the work/life balance of being a franchise owner, and the rewards of being a Happiness Hustler.
What did you do before franchising with Frios Gourmet Pops?
I had been the supervisor of a hospitality team. We took reservations for high-end hotels. Before that, I was an account manager. Before that, I’ve been many things. That’s kind of the reason I went into franchising. There were many layoffs, and I’d applied for jobs before where I walked out of the interview, feeling like I had it, then it went to a young college graduate. I had to find something to do on my own. I got on the computer, and I found Frios. The franchise coordinator called me back within about 15 minutes. She was super-high energy and happened to own a franchise not five miles from me. So I went down, tried a pop, and just fell in love with it.
What’s a typical day or week look like when you’re busy?
There’s not a typical day for us over here. There are a lot of festivals in East Texas. In all the little communities, you’ll have something like a strawberry festival or tomato festival. There are a lot of those going on over the weekends. Earlier days of the week are slower, so we’ll go park somewhere like a doctor’s office, or somewhere that will treat their employees to a pop for customer appreciation. Sometimes we can just set up alongside the street, and people will stop on the way home from school. We just try to market it all.
What is the work/life balance like with Frios?
It’s pretty heavy work, but we’re still so much in a startup place. Last year, it was 50-60 hours a week. But my wife and I are in this business together, and we’re very fortunate. Mondays are pretty slow, so most of the time we’ll take Monday off, and occasionally take a weekend off. It’s just you – but you’re your own boss, so if you need time off, you take time off. And you can always hire employees, which is the plan next year.
Has the franchise met your expectations and been an overall positive experience?
To me, it’s been 100% a positive experience. Having been part of a good franchising system, I can see where we’re going with it, and it’s always progressing forward. The franchise team will call us up and ask our opinion on things, and you may not always get what you want, but you can tell they’re listening to the franchisees and trying to meet the majority’s expectations.
Why do you think popsicles is a great industry to be in?
It’s mostly natural ingredients and natural sugars. Compared with lots of ice cream bars, they’re pretty low on calories, and people like that. Our strawberry mango pop, which is my favorite, is made with real mangoes and real strawberries. People look at the ingredients, and there’s not much to it – it’s a straight-up fruit pop, and it’s good. And for the franchisee, this is a nice, low-overhead business. It’s a really lean business with a good margin.
Do you have any advice for future Frios franchise owners?
If you’ve ever wanted to be in business for yourself, this is one of the most fun businesses you can run with daily rewards. If you’re driving through the neighborhood, it’s so much fun to watch some kids start jumping up and down. And even the adults – when they bite into a pop and you see the look on their face, you know that it’s not an ordinary pop. That smile is our reward. You know they call us Happiness Hustlers? It’s a pretty good analogy, because we’re dishing out happiness.
Learn More about Franchising with Frios!
If Frios Gourmet Pops sounds like the franchising opportunity for you, learn more about the brand and concept by visiting our research pages here. To start a conversation with our franchise team about investing in the Frios Gourmet Pops franchise opportunity, fill out our form here and we’ll be in touch!
Frios Gourmet Pops CEO Discusses Frios Opportunity
From its humble beginnings in a tiny garage to revolutionary mobile franchise, Frios Gourmet Pops has come a long way to become the brand it is today. In this interview, franchise CEO Cliff Kennedy offers a look at what Frios Gourmet Pops is all about, including why people love the Frios brand, what it takes to be a franchisee, and the popsicle that changed the course of his life.
How did you start your journey with the Frios Gourmet Pops industry?
Everyone has a weird story of how they fell into business with a franchise. Mine was just being super annoyed with traffic on my way home every day. On my route, I always noticed a lot of happy people outside a Frios Gourmet Pops. So one day, I stopped. I’ll never forget the moment I ordered a key lime pop, and it was just an experience like I’ve never had with a food product. The skies opened up, colors got more vibrant, the birds started singing, and there was a smile on my face.
As I got stuck in traffic every day, I kept trying more and more flavors, and over the course of several months, I became a franchisee. From there, I quickly realized it was a great product, but there was no infrastructure or support. Franchisees were on an island, so I took over as franchisor of the company in December of 2018. I’ve been there ever since.
Can you describe the Frios Gourmet Pops concept?
One of the modalities of how we sell Frios is just driving through neighborhoods, getting the brand out there. Because we sell a prepackaged product, we have a simpler platform than what some of our competitors have that operate out of food trucks. They have complex machinery, they have to make the product right there, and we don’t have complex machinery or food loss associated with our concept. We also have the ability to wholesale, which is a beautiful aspect to our business.
What is the Frios Sweet Ride?
We used to be a brick and mortar store, and then, during the pandemic, we realized we have to go to the people, we have to get out into the neighborhoods, and we have to go to corporate events. So Frios became a mobile franchise. I wanted a design for the vans that stood out; something that was fun and resonated with who we are. That was how the Sweet Ride came about.
Why is a Frios pop described as “happiness on a stick”?
Usually in my office here, I can hear music pounding through the walls, because our production team is jamming out, making popsicles by hand. They’re passionate about it. It’s an incredible team, and that’s why we have a great product and great flavors. I also recently lost a serious game of paper-rock-scissors to my seven-year-old son, so I had to make a blue raspberry flavor, and thank God we did, because it was our number three pop sold this year.
In this business, you know you’re going to put a smile on someone’s face and make them forget about the stress of life. That’s what I love about it. There was a pivotal moment for me when I had a 90-year-old neighbor, Miss Ruth, who told me that the pops I gave her for her birthday made her feel like a kid again – at 90 years old! Her words left a lasting legacy that helped shape our strategy and vision. That’s the feeling we need to promote.
I think we’re also well positioned to weather things like recessions or whatever it might be, because we have a product that everyone just loves that can add a little bit of happiness to their lives.
What are you looking for as an ideal franchise partner?
We’re looking for people with a sales background, and we’re an event-based business, so you need to be comfortable being an extrovert and involved in your community. You’ve got to be a sales warrior, because there’s competition out there. If you’re able to do that, you can be wildly successful.
Frios Gourmet Pops can be a great side hustle, but what about the full time business scaler?
You can scale this business however you want. We have people buying their second and third vans, looking at multiple territories. We just got a new territory mapping system that is incredible, so now we’re really dialed into what a successful territory looks like based on certain demographics. So our systems and processes are improving as well.
Where are you looking to expand?
We’re looking at the southeast a lot, in places like Miami, Tallahassee, Orlando, Jacksonville, San Antonio, Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Corpus Christi, Galveston – all those southern states and areas.
Learn More about Frios Gourmet Pops Franchise
If you’re ready to learn more about franchising opportunities with Frios Gourmet Pops, check out our research pages here for information about startup costs, franchisee support and the franchise’s mobile business model. You can also request more information and start a conversation with the franchise team by filling out our inquiry form here.