Ice cream is for any season, and really, you might be convinced it could be for any meal. It’s one of the most perfect treat options out there, offering a refreshing, cool confection on a hot summer day, or even comfort when you need to eat straight out of the pint. Considering its popularity, ice cream shops are certainly plentiful, from mom-and-pop roadside stands to franchised companies. And while the size of shops definitely differs, the fact remains that we all love a good place to go for a cold, creamy ice cream cone.
According to the International Dairy Foods Association, 1.4 billion gallons of ice cream were produced and enjoyed in the United States in 2017. That’s a lot of sprinkles and a lot of cones. The options for shops to get a scoop at are abundant, but there’s one franchise that will jam-pack your already flavorful ice cream with additional mix-ins, making the ultimate personalized treat. Enter: Cold Stone Creamery. And while you already know it’s a go-to stop for an ice cream creation you will absolutely love, what else is there to Cold Stone than just its delicious ice cream? We decided to dive in and take a look. This is the untold truth of Cold Stone Creamery.
Cold Stone has been around longer than you think
If you’ve ever visited Arizona, particularly the city of Phoenix or even Tucson, then you know it gets hot there. We’re talking really hot. And what could be better on a scorching summer day than the ideal ice cream cone?
Founders Donald and Susan Sutherland opened the first Cold Stone Creamery in 1988. The first shop debuted in Tempe, Arizona, a suburb of Phoenix. The Sutherlands had spent time exploring the world for the perfect ice cream, but after years of searching, they just weren’t finding the ideal balance between hard-packed ice cream and the ever-popular soft serve. So, to solve the problem, they opened up a mom-and-pop shop of their own boasting the best ice cream they’d ever had.
It definitely took a while for the idea of Cold Stone to catch on at the time, but the Sutherlands certainly held on strong. For 15 months, the couple saw very few customers until a local newspaper featured the ice cream shop and sang its praise. It was only a matter of time before customer visits and ice cream sales began to soar, launching the business into a success.
Each Cold Stone store really does have a cold stone slab
The question that comes up about Cold Stone Creamery all the time is, what’s with the name? And it really is quite simple. Every Cold Stone location actually does have an incredibly cold stone on site.
The slab of stone is made of granite and kept frozen at a chilly 16 degrees Fahrenheit. Granite is incredibly heat resistant, along with being pretty much impossible to chip or scratch, so it makes it a perfect candidate to embrace and keep the cold, providing a slab of literal cold stone for ice cream to be mixed on.
When you order a treat at Cold Stone Creamery, you’re not just getting a scoop with candy or fruit poured on top. The whole goal behind Cold Stone is to offer the ideal ice cream treat with flavor mixed into every bite. Once you place your order, your ice cream will be scooped and thrown onto the granite stone, and you can then choose which ice cream add-ins you want on top. The employee mixes up your ice cream right in front of you, and the granite stone keeps it cold throughout the entire process, eliminating any potential for serving up melty ice cream.
Cold Stone ice cream is made fresh
When Donald and Susan Sutherland set out to open the best possible ice cream shop, they wanted to be sure they were offering a premium product. And for them, that meant that the ice cream they were scooping up needed to be made fresh in their store every single day. And since opening in 1988, Cold Stone has upheld that promise, delivering ice cream that’s actually made in each of its individual stores.
According to Cold Stone, the ice cream served up is made in small batches with a mixture of high-quality cream, sugar, and additional flavors. Staff members make the ice cream in the back of each store using an ice cream machine, ensuring that it’s fresh when a customer comes in to grab a scoop with their favorite mix-ins. And because they make the ice cream right in-store, it also means that you can request larger custom sizes to be mixed up for you to take home too.
Cold Stone’s topping options seem endless
Cold Stone Creamery was built on the idea of serving up the perfect dish or cone of ice cream. But it’s not just about the delicious ice cream. It’s all about the toppings as well.
Cold Stone offers an option to make your own ice cream creation, and providing that you get exactly what you want in your scoop, you’re in for the ultimate dessert experience. While many ice cream shops offer you the ability to top a cone with rainbow sprinkles, chocolate chips, or M&M’s, the mix-ins at Cold Stone are definitely next level.
Ice cream lovers can opt to add toppings like apple pie filling, ground cinnamon, frosting, pineapple, and even pieces of cake to their ice cream to really up the ante. And while most customers might typically only choose two or three toppings, one customer decided to try them all by adding every single mix-in to their ice cream. They added 24 toppings to the mix, adding up to a $28.90 bill. Talk about going all out.
Cold Stone Creamery ice cream has a super high fat content
So, what exactly is the perfect ice cream? For Cold Stone Creamery founders, it was the ideal combination of traditional hard-packed ice cream balanced with just a touch of soft-serve ice cream. But it certainly isn’t as simple as mixing the two together and calling it a day. In fact, when it comes to Cold Stone’s signature ice cream, it all boils down to the fat content.
Cold Stone Creamery ice cream is considered "super-premium" ice cream. Sounds exquisite, right? According to the International Dairy Foods Association, in order for an ice cream to be considered super-premium, it needs to have a higher fat content in comparison to regular ice cream, along with utilizing incredibly high-quality ingredients. And what makes that fat content so high is all thanks to what’s in the recipe.
Cold Stone’s Sweet Cream ice cream is made using real cream, nonfat milk, sugar, corn syrup, and whey. And all of those ingredients amount to a whopping 21 grams of fat in the one-scoop size, Like It, which is approximately five ounces. A typical half-cup serving of ice cream often ranges from seven to 13 grams of fat. As delicious as this ice cream is, apparently, super-premium is another word for super high in fat.
Every Cold Stone flavor starts with one of four recipes
Going into a Cold Stone ice cream shop can be a little bit overwhelming. With at least ten staple flavors along with rotating seasonal and store-specific special flavors in addition to sorbet, the options are mind-boggling. And with flavors like French toast, cheesecake, coffee, and the ever-popular cake batter and sweet cream, there’s a delicious option for everyone.
But with so many flavors, along with the fact that the ice cream is made fresh in the store, it might make you wonder how exactly the company pulls it all off in those little shops. Well, Cold Stone certainly has a clever plan set in place.
Similar to what some bakery owners do when they need to make a huge variety of cookies, Cold Stone ice cream flavors all start with a base. The company uses four bases for all of its flavors, utilizing sweet cream ice cream, chocolate ice cream, sorbet, and yogurt to craft all of the rest of its flavors. Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream uses a base of sweet cream ice cream with cheesecake flavoring and strawberry puree added, while the peppermint mocha ice cream utilizes a base of chocolate ice cream with peppermint extract and instant coffee added to the mix. Talk about ice cream efficiency.
Cold Stone’s former CEO became a governor
It took a while for the concept of Cold Stone to catch on, but eventually, it did. But Donald and Susan Sutherland definitely had a bit of help along the way, and it just so happens, the CEO who led the company to growth and success later became Arizona’s governor.
Doug Ducey, who worked for Proctor and Gamble earlier in his career, later moved on to help the Sutherlands get Cold Stone Creamery off the ground. He was brought on board in 1995, later becoming CEO in 2000. In 2007, Cold Stone Creamery sold to Kahala Group, and by that time, the company had more than 1,000 franchises under its umbrella.
With his unique business background, Ducey left his ice cream days behind him, and he was elected Arizona’s state treasurer in 2010. Later, Ducey decided to run for Governor of Arizona. He won. He was first elected in 2014 and then again in 2018 to serve another term.
Cold Stone’s milkshakes have a ton of calories
It’s no surprise that slurping on a milkshake is going to mean packing on the calories. After all, milkshakes are a combination of ice cream, milk, and other delicious toppings. Of course, they’re going to pack a punch.
But not every milkshake on every menu is considered to be the most calorie-laden drink in America. A 16-ounce chocolate milkshake from Burger King will add 700 calories to your day. A medium peanut butter milkshake from Dairy Queen will add a few more, topping out at 930 calories. But a Reese’s chocolate peanut butter dream shake from Cold Stone? We’re talking about 1140 calories for a 12-ounce and a whopping 1740 calories for a 20-ounce. Sure, it comes with delicious chocolate ice cream and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups mixed in, but is it worth all of those calories? Perhaps it’s the super-premium ice cream fat content that brings the calorie count to that staggering total.
In 2011, the drink was even named the worst beverage in America by Men’s Health (via CafeMom) at 2,010 calories. Sure, its calorie count has been slightly reduced since then, but it still amounts to almost a full day’s worth of food.
You can get Cold Stone Creamery-flavored Jelly Bellies
If we know anything about Jelly Belly jelly beans, it’s that the company loves to play with flavor. After all, it has hundreds of flavor options. And at this point, Jelly Belly has managed to come out with Krispy Kreme Jelly Beans, Snapple jelly beans, and even a line of Harry Potter Every Flavor Beans.
So, it’s no surprise that this jelly bean behemoth would partner up with one of America’s favorite ice cream shops.
The beautiful relationship began in 2008 when Jelly Belly and Cold Stone signed a deal to create the line, and now, you can get Cold Stone ice cream flavors in the form of this bite-sized treat. There’s everything from full packs of only Birthday cake remix ice cream and mint chocolate chip ice cream, or you can dive in on all of the ice cream flavors with the Ice Cream Parlor mix for the full Cold Stone Creamery experience.
Cold Stone employees are instructed to sing for customers
We all know that when a service industry employee does a fantastic job, a tip is well deserved. And typically, we feel good about adding a few more bucks to the tab to tell them they did a good job. But it’s not often you get something in return.
Well, things are a little different at Cold Stone Creamery when it comes to tips, and employees are required to sing when a few bills are dropped in their tip jar.
Applying to Cold Stone is pretty much like applying to work at any other franchise. You fill out an application, go into an interview, and put your best foot forward. But according to one interviewee on Reddit, employees were also required to sing during their interview. For Cold Stone Creamery, it’s all about the entertainment that singing adds to the experience, creating a festive atmosphere. So, when you tip an employee at Cold Stone for a job well done, they won’t wait to sing to thank you with a gleeful smile and a song.
Cold Stone once sold dead crickets as a topping
The beauty of Cold Stone Creamery is that you can choose from a huge variety of ice cream flavors and pair them with a ton of toppings for the best possible concoction. And for a while, you could even add dead crickets to your ice cream, if you really wanted.
Think about it. Cake batter ice cream with rainbow sprinkles and crickets, or perhaps you’d prefer a concoction of peanut butter, chocolate, and crickets.
In 2001, Cold Stone wanted to hop on the Survivor bandwagon, embracing the popularity of the wild television show that had debuted in late 2000. So, to do that, the company added chocolate-covered crickets to the line-up of custom toppings in all of its 142 stores at the time. The crickets came from Hotlix, a company that is devoted to treats with bugs inside, including everything from maggots and cockroaches to worms, all meant to be eaten. And if you bucked up and ate crickets in your ice cream, you were entered to win a trip to Survivor’s Australia filming site, and you even got free ice cream on your next trip. Talk about a unique custom creation.
Cold Stone hires ice cream scientists
Yep, ice cream scientist is a real job title. Or, at least it is at Cold Stone Creamery. And we’re pretty sure every ice cream aficionado would go crazy for this job. But as it turns out, it’s still kind of a lot of work to get there.
Dr. Maya Warren became an ice cream scientist for Cold Stone Creamery in 2014 after she was on The Amazing Race in 2014. Cold Stone actually reached out to her, offering a job she couldn’t refuse. And who wouldn’t want to eat new ice cream flavors all day?
Warren has a Ph.D. in Food Science with a focus on frozen desserts, and she is devoted to the way that Cold Stone’s ice cream works with additional flavor add-ins such as extracts and instant coffee and figuring out how to add cookie dough or cake batter to ice cream. The next time you enjoy your ridiculously delicious creation at Cold Stone, you probably have an ice cream scientist to thank.
You can have Cold Stone at your wedding
It’s well-known that parties and cake go hand in hand, but so does the classic combo of cake and ice cream. What if you could have a create-your-own-ice-cream station at your wedding or birthday party? Turns out, you totally can.
Cold Stone Catering offers the option to set up the ultimate sundae bar for party or wedding guests to create their own decadent treat. Or, you can combine cake and ice cream into an ice cream cake customized with your favorite flavors.
As it turns out, just like its ice cream, Cold Stone makes all of its ice cream cakes, ice cream cupcakes, cookie sandwiches, and pies on site. You can choose yellow, red velvet, or devil’s food cake and add in ice cream and mix-ins, and an on-site decorator will make the ultimate cake for you. And yes, you can even have them put together a custom option to beautifully suit your wedding.