American company Bruster’s Ice Cream has opened its first franchised shop in South Korea.
In Cheonan City, it is the first of a 10-unit development agreement signed last year with Seoul-based Lee & Bruster’s.
As well as a terrace, the two-storey, 50-seat shop has several rooms where customers can relax and recharge electronic devices.
To introduce the brand, Bruster’s Real Ice Cream gave away free ice creams to 1700 first-day guests, exceeding its goal of 1000 visitors. The most popular flavours were mint and coffee, as well as those containing Oreo biscuits. As well as the brand’s standard flavours, the outlet will test new ones, such as red bean, lychee and honeydew.
Lee & Bruster’s was created to develop the brand in South Korea, after its CEO Hye Young Lee became a Bruster’s fan while living in Atlanta, Georgia. He says initial reaction has been positive. “Many guests posted pictures on Facebook and Instagram, saying how much they enjoyed the ice cream and the store’s atmosphere.”
He says guests were surprised to learn that Bruster’s Real Ice Cream had been in the US for more than 25 years, and also that the first location was not opened in the capital (Cheonan City is about an hour south of Seoul).
A second location is planned to open this summer, and options include a food-court kiosk with a limited menu.
Back in the US, Bruster’s saw its sales soar 10.4 per cent last year, the largest jump ever, with record transactions. The chain has two other international locations, in Guyana.
CEO Jim Sahene says the Korea opening is a key step in the brand’s expansion. The brand has nearly 200 independently owned outlets.
Bruster’s Real Ice Cream offers 150 flavours of handcrafted ice cream, yogurt, gelato and sorbet.