Cold Stone Creamery had double digit sales increase following the launch of its new product innovation, ice cream cupcakes in February. In the short time since the launch, Cold Stone has sold 1.75 million cupcakes nationally, according the Technomic Food Service Monitor.

The new cupcakes were promoted at an introductory price in order to appeal to value-conscious consumers, the industry analyst said.

There are 19 Cold Stone stores in the seven-county Tampa Bay region. Its corporate parent, privately held Kahala Corp., is based in Scottsdale, Ariz.

All of the Cold Stone product introductions throughout the year are planned to follow suit with a value price point, Chicago-based Technomic said. The strategy was designed to create and leverage new opportunities while requiring no capital investment by the franchisees and maximizing unit-level profitability, the company said.

The chain now has 1,400 stores, all stocked with service people who sing when they get tips. In fact, according to the company’s Web site, the stores’ “entertainment factor” is meant to lend a festive atmosphere in its stores and to set the chain apart from the competition. It seeks out employees who like to perform and adds an “audition” to the interview process, its Web site says.

“Many of our crewmembers enjoy the singing so much that they develop new songs themselves,” the company says on its site. “While some of the songs they come up with may be better than others, we admire their enthusiasm and creativity.

In February, Cold Stone announced a co-branding test initiative with Tim Hortons and Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. Earlier this month, Cold Stone rolled out the next of its new products: a line of iced and blended coffee drinks. Other new products include a Jell-O flavor-inspired ice cream line, Country Time Lemonade sorbet and cheesecakes.

Donald Sutherland and Susan Sutherland founded the company in Tempe, Ariz., in 1988.

Tampa Bay Business Journal