SETTING up a successful frozen yogurt business at only 24-years-old is no easy feat – especially if people don’t take you seriously! Diane Leow chats to the duo behind the travelling yogurt van, Jason Tan and Elle Gwee.
Meet Jason Tan and Elle Gwee, yogurt aficionados and owners of Yogurddiction, the most recent addition to Melbourne’s burgeoning food truck scene.
The duo are yogurt addicts and their dream is to cater to other purveyors of great yoghurt too.
Jason has a Bachelor of Business (Sports Management) from La Trobe University. A sports buff, he decided to study something sports-related, but fate had other plans.
His business partner, Elle, has a background in media and production. Having worked at several froyo (frozen yoghurt) outlets in Singapore, she moved to Melbourne for an internship and spent her days lamenting about the dire lack of good frozen yogurt here.
Some say two heads are better than one and Elle and Jason decided to take the plunge and start a froyo business.
The most difficult time of my life and his life was just prior to opening the business,” Elle says with a wry smile.
At 24, Jason and Elle were complete newbies to the food and beverage industry. Despite looking up all the occupational health and safety laws and figuring out their business plan, almost everything that could go wrong actually did go wrong.
First, they decided not to have a brick-and-mortar store.
“We originally wanted a shop, but we thought, ‘What could make us different, more special and unique?’ We knew about the food truck scene in Melbourne and how it was growing and this helped us turn our idea [into] a reality with Yogurddiction,” Jason says.
But having a mobile froyo van also brought its own challenges.
We would have encountered problems with a shop, but in a van we encountered even more problems,” Elle says.
“Our [van’s] generator is very powerful and can power a few rooms. There’s a lot of power going through it and because of that, I think a lot of heat was also generated and our generator overheated.”
As a result, their opening, scheduled for August 12, was delayed by two weeks.
Sometimes, being a young business owner was also a disadvantage. Elle says there were times when suppliers realised just how young she and Jason were and they didn’t take Yogurddiction seriously.
But of course their pool of yoghurt addicts (yoghurt + addiction = yogurddiction, get it?) has grown exponentially since they opened. On their first official day of trading, Yogurddiction ran a pay-what-you-want promotion. Simply put, you could grab a full cup of froyo for 10 cents or $10.
‘But everyone was like, ‘Your yoghurt is so good, I’m going to get one more cup and pay so much more for the second cup!’” Elle says
Both Elle and Jason have been blown away by the reaction to their new venture. So far, their appointment book is filled with summer events, including a New Year’s Eve party.
Maybe I underestimated how well we’d do, but it’s been quite good so far,” Elle gushes.
“[To our] friends who spread the word, we really appreciate it!”
Starting a business may be scary, but Elle is an advocate for stepping into the unknown.
“I think it’s always good to try new things,” she says.
“The thing about business, is you have to take the risk. People say you should do these things when you retire. You never know what will happen – if we don’t make it, at least we can say we tried.”
As for me, I’ve tried Yogurddiction on a few occasions and am officially an addict! At their opening in August, I had their pomegranate raspberry yoghurt, which was a little too tart for my liking.
My favourite froyo flavours are plain original, as well as blood orange, which is a new flavour. Their original froyo is super smooth and has a great balance of sweetness and tang. Blood orange is a great summer flavour – citrusy, slightly tangy and creamy all at once.
They have a great range of toppings too. Other than the usual fruit pieces, they also stock lychee and passionfruit-flavoured popping bobba (little balls that pop when you bite into them!). Yogurddiction has also brought in some toppings from the United States like honey stars and fruity pebbles. My personal favourite though is their house crumble – which is a mix of cookie crumbs and biscuits. It is super yummy and goes especially well with their plain original yogurt.
Want to grab some froyo now?
If you’d like to know more about the events they’re participating in, give Elle a call at 0452 323 977 or drop Jason/Elle an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.