SOUTH AFRICA – Baskin-Robbins, the biggest premium ice-cream brand in the world, will be opening its doors in Cape Town on Friday.

Grand Parade Investments (GPI), the owners of the franchise licence in SA, says over the next five years 50 stores will be opened.

The local ice-cream market is experiencing a change. While it has been dominated by fast food franchises such as McDonald’s and Steers, as well as the frozen variety produced largely by Unilever and Nestlé, there is a growing trend towards artisanal ice cream.

According to Insight Survey, the market research firm, top-rated outlets for artisanal creamy serve include Gema Trattoria in Johannesburg, The Creamery in Cape Town and Ballina Ice Cream in Durban.

Baskin-Robbins SA chief operating officer Sean Dearham said SA would be the 52nd country the brand would operate in. He said the brand had more than 1,300 flavours in its ice-cream library.

“It is a premium offering but it will be accessible to customers. The prices will be competitive and we’ve thought very carefully about locations too.

We will take customers on a flavour journey and we will impress them with how we present the ice cream. Month to month customers can expect a whole host of new flavours on the menu.”

Dearham said the brand would be operating in different formats including the nostalgic ice-cream truck “but with louder and newer music”.

There would be different formats for malls and local neighbourhoods as well.

“The market has evolved and it is very adventurous. You can see this in how the ice cream is served … in milkshakes, in waffle crates and cones … on brownies. People are looking for innovation and we intend to give it to them,” said Dearham.

GPI also owns the licences for Burger King as well as Dunkin’ Donuts.

GPI CEO Alan Keet said despite the headwinds the consumer was facing, Baskin-Robbins was still a good investment case. “The confidence we have gained from dealing with Burger King has been key.

“The single biggest lesson we learnt through Burger King was not to go fast. It pays to take time with a brand and see how it is accepted in the market,” said Keet.

Like Dunkin’ Donuts, Baskin-Robbins would initially only be offered in the Western Cape where GPI could handle the logistics better and manage the brand, he said.

December 8, 2016;