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Review of the Twistee Treat Franchise Opp and Startup Costs

Who doesn’t love a good ice cream cone on a warm day? Everybody screams for ice cream, which means in many communities’ people are screaming for a Twistee Treat! The restaurants of this franchise are unique because they are shaped just like a soft-serve ice cream cone and this visual impact makes it a tempting stop, just to order an ice cream cone from someone working inside an ice cream cone. Could this be the right investment opportunity for you?

What Was the Outcome of Twistee Treat’s Bankruptcy?

The original Twistee Treat concept was founded in 1983 in Fort Myers, FL and the original company was selling franchises throughout the southeast United States. In 1989, after establishing about three dozen franchise locations, the organization filed for bankruptcy protection. The outcome was to sell the patents and trademarks of the organization and over the years these have traded hands to a number of different investors.

The end result was the formation of a new company, called Twistee Treat USA, which began operating in 2010. Old franchisees that existed before the bankruptcy have individual rights to use the names and trademarks of the organization without compensation and the new organization is currently building new corporate locations throughout the Florida market.

What they are not doing, however, is franchising new opportunities at this moment. Existing franchisees are being offered a buyout option and new buildings are all corporately owned. If you’re looking to enter the ice cream market as a franchisee, however, you do have a few investment opportunities available to you right now. Let’s take a look.


With over 7,000 locations around the world, this ice cream franchise is one of the most recognizable names in any community. It began in an ice cream parlor in Glendale, CA and has grown to a presence in over 50 countries. It’s owned by Dunkin’ Brands and offers you the chance to become a franchisee for a total initial investment that is as low as $100k.

You do have a net worth minimum requirement to meet of $250k, of which 50% must be available through liquid cash assets. There’s also an ongoing royalty of 5.9% to pay after you put up the initial $25k franchise fee. The term of the agreement isn’t renewable, however, and the length of the franchise term is negotiated on an individualized basis.

Cold Stone Creamery

For an upscale ice cream franchising option, the Cold Stone Creamery offers you the chance to sell hand-blended ice cream that is made daily in each store. You’ll also offer a number of dessert customization options that can be added to an individual blend based on customer requests. The initial franchise fee for this organization is $42k and there’s an ongoing 6% royalty, but the term of the agreement is for 10 years and is renewed.

The one downside is that absentee ownership isn’t allowed. A minimum investment of $286k is likely needed to achieve a grand opening and all franchisees must have at least $125k in liquid assets to qualify.

Happy Joe’s

If you’re looking for a unique franchising opportunity that combines pizza and ice cream, then this is the investment opportunity to look at first. It combines a kid-friendly arcade atmosphere with unique flavors of ice cream and pizza entrees. The best-selling product of this franchise is the taco pizza and some believe it was even the innovator of this menu item.

Most franchises are located in the Midwest US, but options are available domestically in virtually any community. The initial franchise fee is $30k, but is discounted to $25k if multiple units are developed. The ongoing royalty is 4.5% and the term of the franchise agreement is 15 years an renewable. You’ll need a minimum net worth of $500k to qualify, of which 60% must be in provable liquid assets. The advantage? Absentee ownership is allowed.


Beginning in central Wisconsin, Craig Culver wanted to open up his own restaurant because it had been the family business for years. Culver’s was started thanks to purchasing an old A&W restaurant and converting it to the restaurant known today. Known for butter burgers because of the dab of butter that is placed on the crown of the bun before toasting it, a franchisee will also make custard in house and provide a number of tasty ice cream options.

The initial franchise fee for this investment opportunity is $55k, but the ongoing royalty is lower than most others at just 4%. The franchise agreement is good for 15 years and is renewable. The total initial investment, however, is a low-end estimate minimum of $1.4 million to achieve a grand opening and may reach as high as $3 million. Culver’s offers third-party financial assistance and extensive training: 16 weeks at corporate headquarters. In return, you’ll get to join a consistent Top 100 franchise in the United States.

Sub Zero Ice Cream

Using customized milk bases, mix-ins, and even textures, this ice cream franchise flash freezes an order right before a customer’s eyes. This offers an instantly fresh flavor experience that cannot be replicated thanks to the use of liquid nitrogen. As an added advantage, as a franchisee you’ll be offered the opportunity to provide a science education program using liquid nitrogen to local schools. The advantage with this franchise is with the initial investment: it make take as little as $155k to get a new franchise off the ground.

The initial franchise fee for this investment opportunity is $30k, but is discounted if you’re thinking about developing multiple units. You’ll need a net worth minimum of $150k to get started, but only 33% of that needs to be in the form of liquid assets. The ongoing royalty is 6% and the franchise term is good for 10 years and is renewable. There is also third party financing available for some of the startup costs, the equipment, and the inventory that you’ll need to flash freeze.

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