Meanwhile, Orange Leaf is looking to lean into its identity as the “Willy Wonka of frozen yogurt,” Mityas says. The chain is introducing new flavors and toppings around an updated store design. Typically, customers get their frozen yogurt from the machine and walk down a path to the toppings bar and check out. With the new prototype, the toppings bar is not in line, but a separate section beside the yogurt machines. The redesign is meant to encourage fun and creativity, including clear cups so guests can show off their unique mixtures on social media. Orange Leaf has tested the format in corporate stores and has seen success. The hope is to continue that momentum in new franchisee prototypes in Omaha, Nebraska. More should open in the next 12–24 months.
Mityas describes Red Mango as a frozen yogurt concept for adults—a meal replacement and an opportunity to eat healthier. So similar to Smoothie Factory, the brand is transitioning to Red Mango Cafe to showcase a better variety, like more food options and boba tea.
“We have some phenomenal Red Mangoes out there,” Mityas says. “Everywhere from airports and college campuses and standalone centers across the country, and our franchisees are telling us we need more. People want to come in more often than just for their frozen yogurt.”
Red Mango will also serve as a cobrand with an upcoming automated concept, Pizza Jukebox. Mityas envisions these locations being inside grocery stores—something that resembles how Subway and McDonald’s fit into Walmart. The pizza brand is part theater and part food. The idea is to have consumers watch the robot put toppings on the pizza and move it into the oven. The whole process takes three minutes and happens without a human hand.
“The experience is going to be as neat for consumers as the food,” Mityas says. “So it’s obviously very visual. There’ll be very clear glass and the ability to see everything working in the design. And so more to come on that, but we’re very excited about it. Very excited about launching a new brand like that, especially in a very heavy tech way. It’s always fun to introduce and debut a new brand and see what the customer reaction will be and see if we can grow this.”
To Mityas, growth involves organic development and M&A. One of his major objectives has been to expand Brix’s portfolio, which shouldn’t be difficult since the company has shared services that allow for new acquisitions to fit in easily.
To be more exact, he is looking for at least two to three concepts in the next 12–18 months. The company has already explored several options and cuisines that would best mesh with the current collection of brands.
“There’s daypart and occasion opportunities and there’s geographic expansion opportunities, especially with some of these smaller, faster-growing brands out there that we believe we can help energize and kick start their growth in a franchisee/franchisor model, and that’s really what we’re going to be all about,” Mityas says.