Top 250 Franchise by Entrepreneur – Rank no. 161 – Carvel – US
Products & Services: Ice cream & ice cream cakes
Number of Locations: 461
Total Investment: $249.38K – 364.54K
Began Franchising: 1947
In 1934 Tom Carvel opened his first ice cream shop in Hartsdale, New York. Over the years, he developed formulas and equipment for creating and serving his ice cream. The company started franchising in 1947, and by 1951 had opened 100 stores.Today the company distributes its line of ice cream, cakes, pies and other treats in its own locations and in stadiums, club stores and supermarkets.
Startup Costs, Ongoing Fees and Financing
Franchise Fee: $30,000
Ongoing Royalty Fee: $2.22/gallon
Term of Franchise Agreement: 20 years, renewable
Net Worth: $300,000
Liquid Cash Available: $100,000
25% of all franchisees own more than one unit. Number of employees needed to run franchised unit: 2 – 6. Absentee ownership of franchise is allowed. (99% of current franchisees are owner/operators).
How This Franchise Supports Franchisees
Franchise Ranking History
Carvel® provides an affordable ice cream experience and family fun for everyone by offering a variety of fresh made cakes, novelties and fountain ice cream products. This all-American favorite is the nation’s first retail ice cream franchise, and has become one of the best-loved and most recognized names in its industry.
Carvel has been making ice cream fresh daily for over 75 years and is home of the original all ice cream cake. Today, Carvel-lovers still seek out our creamy, crunchy treats in more than 500 Carvel stores and over 8,500 supermarkets nationwide.
Athanassios Karvelas, better known as Tom Carvel, was born in Athens, Greece on July 14th
Tom Carvel was brought to New York City by his parents
After borrowing $15 from his future wife, Agnes Stewart, Tom Carvel began his company by selling ice cream from the back of his mobile truck
Nation’s first retail ice cream company starts when Tom Carvel’s vending truck suffers a flat tire in Hartsdale, NY during Memorial Day Weekend, and he begins selling his melting ice cream from his broken down truck
Begins manufacturing equipment for sale to the ice cream industry
Forms Carvel Corporation
Opens first store on site of broken down truck
Patents “no air pump" super-low temperature ice cream machine
Develops secret soft serve ice cream formula
First to introduce the marketing concept “Buy One Get One Free"
Tom Carvel marries Agnes Stewart
Tom Carvel builds the first soft serve ice cream machine
Patents all-glass front building with pitched roof; later copied by McDonalds
First to franchise a retail ice cream store in the U.S.
Begins franchisee training seminar, Carvel College of Ice Cream Knowledge (franchisees affectionately refer to it as Sundae School)
Tom Carvel creates most complete franchise contract in industry; only franchise contract to survive the Federal Trade Comission and US Supreme Court
First in the industry with a round ice cream sandwich, the Flying Saucer®
Opens first prefabricated ice cream store in Glastonbury, CT
First in the industry with the gift certificate concept
Holds the first annual “Little Miss Half Pint" beauty pageant for children under the age of six; 15,000 entries received annually
First in the industry with a line of ice cream vending vehicles
First to use CEO in radio and TV commercials
Introduces the first ice cream supermarket on the site of original Hartsdale, NY store
First in industry to develop complete line of all-Kosher products
First in industry to introduce Lo-Yo frozen yogurt and Thinny-Thin frozen dietary desserts
Sells to Investcorp, an international investment bank
Tom Carvel passes away in his sleep
Relocates to Farmington, Connecticut
Begins Direct Sales Delivery (DSD) Supermarket Branded Freezer Market Program
Develops multi-pronged distribution business model including retail shops, stadiums, super club stores and supermarkets
Places Carvel branded freezers in 4,500 supermarkets
Introduces Lil’ Love® cakes
Sells to Roark Capital Group, a private equity firm
Relocates supermarket headquarters to Rocky Hill, CT
Relocates franchise headquarters to Atlanta, GA
Sets Guinness World Record™ for Largest Ice Cream Scoop Pyramid
Introduces 98% Fat Free Flying Saucers®, Uptown Smoothies®, and Slice Mmm’s®
Opens new store prototype in Vero Beach, FL
Celebrates 70th Birthday by setting Guinness World Record for the Largest Ice Cream Cake
2004 Focus Brands Inc. is created; Carvel® joins Cinnabon® and Seattle’s Best Coffee International to form new food service company
Introduces Sundae Dashers®
Celebrates Fudgie the Whale®’s 30th birthday
Introduces new Arctic Blenders® & Carvelattes®
Celebrates 75th Anniversary with the giveaway of free Icebergs
Introduces Oreo Lil’ Rounders®
Named “Best National Ice Cream" by readers of Long Island Press
Celebrates over 1 Million Oreo Lil’ Rounders® Sold!
Introduces Thick, Rich & Dreamy Low Fat Ice Cream with 75% Less Fat & 30% Fewer Calories than regular soft serve.
As the nation’s first retail ice cream franchise, Carvel® Ice Cream has over 500 franchised and foodservice locations serving delicious, high-quality ice cream cakes, premium soft serve, hand dipped ice cream, novelties and fountain items.
200 Glenridge Point Parkway
Atlanta, GA 30342
Carvel® is famous for its all ice cream cakes layered with chocolate crunchies. Our family of characters includes the popular Fudgie the Whale® and Cookie Puss®, as well as a line of other cakes that recognize birthdays, holidays, special occasions and the little things in life. Created in 1934, Carvel® is credited with developing premium soft serve ice cream products, served today in cups, cones, sundaes and shakes, as well as hand-dipped ice cream and famous novelty items such as the Flying Saucer®, Brown Bonnet®, Banana Barge® and Thick Shake.
Carvel franchise locations can be found in Washington, D.C., Aruba, Canada, Egypt, Jordan, Puerto Rico, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, and 25 states: AL, AZ, CA, CT, FL, GA, IL, MA, MD, MI, MO, NC, NH, NJ, NV, NY, OH, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, VA, VT, and WV.
Russ Umphenour, President and CEO, FOCUS Brands
Scott Colwell, President, Carvel Corporation
Melissa A. Smith
Public Relations & Communications Manager, Carvel.
Source: Carvel official website