Did you know that “ approximately 1. 53 billion gallons of ice cream and related frozen desserts were produced in the U. S in 20ll” (proquest)? Entrepreneurs across the country have opened thousands of frozen yogurt stores exploiting a nationwide health craze by promoting low fat deliciousness; resulting in a bloodbath of competition and demand. The secret luring customers in by the hundreds are low prices and the fact that the yogurt practically tastes like ice cream (Blumenthal, wsjonline). The use of milk rather then cream is the magic formula that gives frozen yogurt a less fattening mouth-watering taste.
North Carolina has joined the nationwide frozen yogurt kick with three frozen yogurt shops every ten miles. Feeney’s frozen yogurt shop in Greensboro is one of the states biggest competitors. Pulling into the parking lot to Feeney’s Frozen Yogurt, one would be quick to judge the experience they are about to have. Stuck between a massive Harris Teeter and less impressive Papa John’s Pizza, Feeney’s ordinary white sign outside with a questionable pink and green frozen yogurt symbol of some sort, my expectation were immediately set low.
However, Feeney’s Frozen Yogurt is a perfect example of the famous saying “ don’t judge a book by its cover. Once you overcome the generic outside display and walk through the glass door that reads open, the first step inside feels like you are standing in one of the rooms in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. The first thing you see when you walk into Feeney’s Frozen Yogurt is an overwhelmingly cute set up. Between the Easter pale green walls accompanied by playful circle designs and bright pink pillars the tone is set for lighthearted and fun atmosphere.
Walking down the main isle where there are about five or six little circle tables with very retro cream-colored chairs, one can’t help but feel bubbly in this small room. Although the front of the store is pleasant to the eye, the back of the shop is where the action happens as you prepare to make your own frozen yogurt delicious creation. Frozen yogurt shops have become the modern day reinvention of ice cream parlors. What makes these shops so trendy and innovative is a self-serving process, in which the customer practically does everything. Self-serving is becoming a growing trend especially in the frozen yogurt industry due to our self-sufficient society, however not everyone has fallen in love with the process like they have with frozen yogurt. Critics of self serving bring up the point that, “the labor costs, meanwhile, are minimal. Like Tom Sawyer with his whitewashed fence, self-serve shops get their customers to do all the work–and have them pay for the privilege” (Kadet, wsjonline). Feeney’s Frozen Yogurt is known for their self-serve style since 2010 when the first shopped opened, and became North Carolina’s first self-serve frozen yogurt bar.
If you are planning to take your family to a sit down style place, with a strong emphasis on personal encounters and frequent customer server interactions, Feeney’s is not your desired destination. The only interactions you really have with the staff is briefly at the register and in passing either when they hold the door or clean your table for you. On the upside during my experiences, the few staff working at the time was perfectly pleasant and friendly.
Despite the mix reviews on self serving, personally I thought the process of making your own cup, solely off of what your taste buds are craving is what makes frozen yogurt at Feeney’s so much fun. It is almost impossible to go into a frozen yogurt shop without tasting all of their flavors, I mean is that not the point of having sampler cups out tempting the public? Taste testing is that initial period of time when the customer decides if the frozen yogurt being presented is worth a dent in your wallet. Feeney’s frozen yogurt uses the element of surprise by having different flavors to choose from every time.
On March 6th, 2014 I had eight flavors to chose from: strawberry, chocolate, French vanilla, cherry limeade sorbet, rice crispy treat, iced coffee, butter pecan, and peach cream tart. While Feeney’s Frozen Yogurt is one of the most liked frozen yogurt places in Greensboro, it is definitely a hit or miss kind of ordeal when it comes to good flavors. For a restaurant to be perfect, one must love every item on the menu. Feeney’s Frozen Yogurt is not perfect, but then again is anything? When I think of eating a cup of Feeney’s Frozen Yogurt, my mouth instantaneously begins to water.
However a few of their flavors just did not pass my taste test. The strawberry frozen yogurt was the only low fat option for that day. I do not know if it was the lack of fattening ingredients but something made the strawberry frozen yogurt far from enjoyable. The first words that came to my head after trying it were tart, flavorless, and soupy. The consistency, which is one of the most important elements of all frozen desserts, was all wrong. Instead of smooth and thick soft serve ice cream texture, the strawberry frozen yogurt came out of the machine loose and runny.
The first bite was satisfactory if you did not know what flavor you were supposed to be trying. After a couple more bites your taste buds are pissed and ready for a new flavor. My suggestion would be if your set on getting the strawberry frozen yogurt to mix it with the French vanilla, it gives the lack of flavor the extra kick it needs. I thought the strawberry was Feeney’s least desirable flavor on the menu, but then I unfortunately tried the cherry limeade sorbet frozen yogurt, making me question which one was worse.
Frozen yogurt is known to be creamy and rich, but when one tries to turn frozen yogurt into sorbet the end result is disastrous. The cherry limeade sorbet tastes like a mixture between cough syrup and a lemonade that has sat out in the hot sun for hours turning into a mixture of syrup flavoring and melted ice. Feeney’s Frozen Yogurt is the kind of place where you must strike out a few times in order to find true deliciousness. On any day I would recommend either the French vanilla or rice crispy treat frozen yogurt whose tastes are so good it can be overwhelming.
When indulging in these two flavors it is impossible to decipher that you are eating yogurt rather then ice cream. The French vanilla was a perfect combination of sweet vanilla with that classic tartness of frozen yogurt. Even after a cup full of one flavor, I was not tired of it; if my stomach were not full I would have helped myself to two more servings. On the other hand the rice crispy treat literally tasted like all the marshmallow goodness of a rice crispy treat was frozen and turned into an amazing frozen yogurt.
The rice crispy treat especially was a taste you cannot find at every frozen yogurt shop in Greensboro, a must have Feeney’s original. As I approach the toppings buffet to load onto my cup of frozen yogurt I stop and think to myself, what is it about frozen yogurt that is so much more appealing then ice cream these days? I then think back to the low fat strawberry frozen yogurt flavor, and immediately make the connection. American’s associate frozen yogurt with a healthy choice for those unavoidable sweet tooth cravings. “Like many fads, the first frozen-yogurt craze, in the 1980s and 1990s, was immortalized in a sitcom.
With low-fat being the burgeoning health mantra, Jerry Seinfeld and Elaine Benes gleefully gorge on frozen yogurt, only to realize they’ve gained 15 pounds between them” (Budak, Proquest). But how can something that taste so good be healthy? There is no question that America struggles with obesity and all the medical consequences associated with being overweight, this epidemic is also a source of concern for many north Carolinians. “The prevalence of obesity has dramatically increased in both North Carolina and the US over the past decade.
One in 4 adults in North Carolina are obese today, with 62% of those aged 50 years and older being designated as over- weight or obese” (NC Med Journal). However the problem of obesity is not only a fear among adults in North Carolina. The American Heart Association did a study of 3,203 children from the age of eight to seventeen in rural North, which showed that fourteen percent of rural children have three early risk factors for diabetes and heart disease, which is more evidence that proves poor eating and exercise habits affect health early (Middleton, wsjonline).
However a new wave of American’s are striving to make a difference, fight obesity, and eat more nutritiously. According to a business report by Eating Patterns in America, there are a number of hopeful signs about Americans diets; “Twenty-seven percent of people surveyed said they were aware of calories in their meals, the highest level since 1999. The percentage of Americans concerned about sugar in their diets was up and a majority said it was important for their foods to be fresh” (wsjonline).
The first step in the right direction for many American’s was cutting back on ice cream, and investing in frozen yogurt. The American fixation with diet and health has fueled a dramatic increase in sales of frozen desserts with fewer calories and less fat than regular ice cream. Frozen yogurt is the face of nutritious frozen desserts as sales of frozen yogurt have increased by 30 percent in the last three years (Burros, Nytimes).
The frozen yogurt industry has tapped into and fully embellished the symbol as a healthier choice to frozen desserts. The question that lingers in your head after you devour a cup of Feeney’s frozen yogurt is how healthy is it really. The answer is not that healthy, “you’ll find yogurt is mostly sold by the ounce, with huge self-serve cups and a dizzying array of toppings that guarantee to transform a relatively healthy dessert into a sweetastic 5,000 calorie frightmare” (Kadet, Wall Street Journal).“Yes, TCBY has been selling soft-serve frozen yogurt for decades. But now chains like Red Mango, Pinkberry, and smaller competitors like Tangysweet, Yogurberry, and YoBerry have carved out a new niche: tart low-fat or fat-free frozen yogurt that you can embellish with toppings like fresh fruit, granola, and dark chocolate instead of hot fudge, sprinkles, and candy” (Nutrition Action Health Letter). But the second you see the assortment of toppings Feeney’s Frozen Yogurt has to choose from, other competitors just seem pathetic.
Most frozen yogurt places I go to, my biggest complaint is the fruit toppings don’t look or taste fresh and the toppings station is a mess. However, at Feeney’s this was not a problem. The toppings station is split up into a bunch of different sections, partly because there are so many options to choose from. First there is an assortment of fresh juicy cubes of fruit like strawberry, banana, kiwi, and blueberry. Next you can choose from an assortment of toppings, I’d suggest cheesecake crumbs, cookie dough bites, fruit bursts, or grinded up Oreo.
The next station is a collection of syrups: peanut butter, strawberry sauce, marshmallow fluff, caramel, and every shake on topping one could think of: coconut shredding, M&M’s, chocolate sprinkles, rainbow sprinkles, you name it. Finally, lined up on the wall next to the register are dispensers of any and all candy you might of missed out on. As I loaded fattening topping after fattening topping onto my frozen yogurt, I immediately found myself conforming into frozen yogurt’s reputation for healthfulness, whether it has enough active bacteria cultures to be beneficial or filled with bits of Heath bar.
I became one of those people who think yogurt added to chocolate cakes and candy bars makes them good for you (Burros, Nytimes). Feeney’s frozen yogurt has the foundation of healthy eating with low fat options, but the second you come across their toppings, any efforts of having a healthy snack will go out the door. But if you are really trying to stay healthy, don’t cut back on the yogurt you will regret it, just hit the gym afterwards! A restaurants product is not the only thing that makes or breaks the experience.
If you come into Feeney’s Frozen Yogurt shop for a pit stop after a long car ride and need to “relieve” yourself, the bathroom in the back of the small frozen yogurt shop will make you want to hold it in for another hour. Although the front and main part of the shop is spotless and completely sanitary, I think they hide the one-person male and female bathrooms all the way in the back for a reason. The second you step into the bathroom you forget you are in Feeney’s Frozen Yogurt shop. If the not flushed single toilet, broken sink, no mirror, and the only toilet paper is used and scattered on the floor did not turn you away the musky ancient lingering smell masking bad odors will. Feeney’s bathroom is a place of desperation and to only be used for an emergency. The bathroom is shameful, but every other aspect of Feeney’s overweighs the bad. Feeney’s is a family owned and operated business, which means they strive for good quality yogurt at a cheap price, and a fun and friendly environment. I immediately got this vibe when I walked into the yogurt shop for the first time.
The place was not too full for a Thursday afternoon, but there were enough people in there to tell customers come in and out constantly. Between the clientele being all families with younger children, and pink and green color scheme on the walls, you immediately get a sense of warmth and community oriented while enjoying a cup of frozen yogurt. In the back of the store hanging on a wall is a bulletin board that reads community spotlight, in which flyers and articles about the Greensboro community are hung for all the customer’s to glance at.
From a customer angle this was an extremely nice touch and reminder of the strong bond Feeney’s Frozen Yogurt has with Greensboro area. Feeney’s Frozen Yogurt Very Good Garden Creek Center, 1603 New Garden Road Greensboro, NC 27410, (336)-617-5874 Atmosphere: A green and pinked color scheme covers every inch of wall in this small frozen yogurt shop giving it a fun, youthful, and colorful ambiance Sound Level: Bearable depending on the customers (expect typical loud children during busy hours) Recommended Dishes: The flavors are constantly changing.
Rice Crispy Treat and French Vanilla are delicious. You can’t go wrong with any of the toppings, but the fruit is always fresh and adds flavor. Price Ranges: They weigh your cup so varies with how much you want. Anywhere from $3 to $7. Hours: Sunday-Thursday 11:30 am- 9:30 pm Friday-Saturday 11:30 am-10:00 pm Service: Kind, self serve style restaurant so no real interactions with staff happen except for at register Work Cited