New Zealand Natural Ice Cream (NZN) is a global franchise network based out of Auckland, New Zealand. It operates as the national and international franchisor of the New Zealand Natural ice cream, frozen yoghurt, smoothie and juice parlours and mini parlours. The company commenced franchising in 1990.
NZN began as a small ice creamery in Christchurch in New Zealand’s South Island in 1984. A South African entrepreneur, Rael Polivnick, living in Australia met the owner on a trans-Tasman flight shortly after it commenced ice cream production, and this chance meeting led to him opening a store at Bondi Beach in 1985. The parlour proved so successful that he went on to buy first the Australian and then the world franchise rights to the concept. The first franchised store was opened in 1990.
Since 2005 NZN has been 100% owned by New Zealand’s Emerald Foods, run by local entrepreneur Diane Foreman. The Auckland factory produces all of the ice cream for the company’s franchised network of over 600 branded outlets in 23 countries worldwide across Asia, the Middle East, the Pacific and the USA. Today the brand has diversified to include a range of ice-creams for retail, grocery and foodservice.
The overseas operation now accounts for around 75 percent of the total business. Currently the biggest markets are Australia and China, but the Americas and Middle East are regions with enormous growth potential.
Award winning quality
New Zealand Natural’s multi-award-winning ice cream flavours include iconic hokey pokey, cool bananas, green tea, cookies & cream and chocolate ecstasy. There are also reduced fat alternatives such as sorbets and frozen yoghurts. Juices, milkshakes, smoothies and our unique Fruit-Flo (frozen yoghurt & fruit blends) and iced drinks are also a key part of the parlour offering.
NZN products are crafted to the highest standards, as evidenced by numerous industry and quality awards. All of the ice cream is manufactured in New Zealand using the freshest and purest cream from cows that are grass-fed throughout the year. All products are designed and manufactured to the highest possible quality and hygiene standards and comply with HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points). There are no artificial colourings or preservatives in any of the NZN parlour range. Ice cream is shipped in containers under strict temperature control and hygiene procedures from New Zealand to destination warehouses for onward delivery to stores in each market.
The franchise model
The Australasian head office is in Auckland, although the company’s former headquarters in Sydney have been retained as an administrative centre for the Australian operation.
There are master franchisees responsible for Victoria and WA, whilst NZN manage all franchises in New Zealand, NSW and Queensland.
In addition to parlours in major shopping centres, cinema complexes and tourist areas, NZN operates a number of mobile stores and “store-within-store mini parlours including on-board the P&O Pacific cruise fleet and a number in partnership with Mrs Fields Cookies.
Purchasing the franchising rights for a standard outlet in a shopping centre involves a $25,000 franchise fee and a store fit out cost of $200,000 -300,000, including equipment. There is a mandatory minimum two weeks of training, (mostly conducted in-store), which can be extended depending on the scale of the outlet.
The company is focused on supporting its franchisees with regional operations managers on the ground and a full-time trainer, who is not only responsible for training new franchisees but also oversees a comprehensive retraining and refresher programme.
NZN is committed to continuously upgrading and invigorating its’ product offer and flavour range. Generally two or three new flavours are introduced each year, along with new drinks recipes and selected dessert items that complement the core ice cream range.
The current NZN parlour offer includes:
- Over 30 flavours of ice cream
- Sensational fat-free and dairy-freesorbets
- A range of natural premium quality frozen yoghurts that offer consumers a great tasting healthy treat
- A sensational range of drinks made to order in-store and including juices, juice fusions, shakes, smoothies and iced drinks
Marketing is crucial to the ongoing success of the franchise and all franchisees contribute to a pooled marketing fund which is re-invested into the business through national and local marketing initiatives. NZN have also recently created a new role within the marketing team to focus totally on developing activity in the rapidly developing and exciting area of social media.
In all territories, NZN provides comprehensive and thorough support for all franchisees including:
- Site selection
- Franchisee selection
- Store design
- Store construction project management
- Supply of equipment
- Supply of a full range of manuals
- Initial training
- Store opening promotions
- Ongoing promotional and advertising activity
- Regular field support
- On-line web-based information exchange
- Lease renewal negotiation
- Meetings of franchisees to exchange ideas
- Ongoing product and packaging development
- Operational audits
Facts and figures
Initial franchising fee: There is an initial franchise fee charged for all the intellectual property, manuals and training.
Ongoing fees: In Australia and New Zealand there is an ongoing franchise service fee and all franchisees contribute to a common marketing fund known as the Adfund. The Adfund is used for all corporate advertising campaigns to increase brand awareness of New Zealand Natural and promote any new or existing products. Stores are also involved in Local Store Marketing (LSM), which is a joint program between head office and specific franchisees.
Training: At New Zealand Natural we place great importance on operational standards and customer service. All our new franchisees undergo a comprehensive training program prior to taking over their store.
We provide a very detailed, competency based, training and assessment program for all new franchisees. The training program includes modules on customer service, product preparation and presentation, equipment maintenance, marketing and general store administration. Franchisees will not be granted permission to take over a store until they have been assessed as competent to do so.
After the initial training period, franchisees are provided with ongoing operational assistance from their assigned area manager and are issued with an operations and training toolbox and product specifications manuals. They are also required to attend ongoing training sessions and franchisee meetings. The success of a New Zealand Natural franchise is to a large extent dependent upon the enthusiasm of individual franchisees and the effort they and their staff make in achieving excellent customer service and operational standards.