Frozen yoghurt arrives in Covent Garden
19A The Market Building
Covent Garden, London
WC2E 8RB GEO:51.5119,-0.122813
Phone: 020 7240 5532
A whole new world of guilt-free indulgence has arrived and made its London debut in Covent Garden’s Market Building. We meet Yu-foria boss Leo Bedford who explains why frozen yoghurt is set to be the next big thing.
Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Leo Bedford and I own Yu-foria, a new frozen yoghurt store in Covent Garden.
You’ve just turned 24, yet this is your third business – are you the new Peter Jones?
Ha ha, well, I’m not sure about that, but it’s true that I am very entrepreneurial. I started off by doing a catering course at a little cooking school in Somerset called The Grange and then became a freelance caterer for high-end dinner parties. When I went to university I started my first business, buying and selling second hand textbooks to students. I had no idea what I was doing and made very little money but I learnt a lot about the business of trading on the internet, Google search optimisation – that sort of thing.
Whilst in my third year at uni I launched my second business – rock ‘n’ roll themed parties. These have now been running for 18 months and we put on parties in every major university town in the UK – we’ve had 50,000 people through the doors to date.
What gave you the idea of launching a frozen yoghurt store, and why do it in Covent Garden?
After college I moved to New York for three months. While there I noticed that people were going crazy for frozen yoghurt, I mean they were almost obsessed by it. There’s a frozen yoghurt company over there called Pinkberry which had been dubbed ‘crackberry’, such was its popularity. Now, the Americans can be faddy, so I wondered whether it would work as well over here but I spoke to a UK based frozen yoghurt company, who told me that their sales were strong throughout winter too.
The Covent Garden location was an easy decision – they have a huge footfall in the area of up to 4 million people a year – and yet the rent is reasonable. There’s also a very good winter trade in Covent Garden. It’s not like, say, South Kensington or Northcote Road in Clapham which are great in summer but quiet in winter – Covent Garden gives you 12 months of good trading.
What are your most popular flavour combinations?
We have three flavours. The original, which is a crisp, tangy live yoghurt culture, served very cold with a similar texture to a McFlurry. Then there’s chocolate, which is just like chocolate ice cream, but much, much healthier. Finally, we have a flavour that changes on a regular basis. It might be strawberry or mango one week, and then blueberry the next.
Then we get to what I call ‘the good stuff’ – the toppings. There are over 20 of them, including fruit such as strawberries, kiwis, bananas and pineapple, plus coconut, pistachios, chocolate and even crushed Oreo cookies.
How popular are they? Put it this way, we do a loyalty card where you get a free yoghurt for every six stamps and we’ve had plenty of people back within a week to claim their freebie!
Tell us about your ‘living wall’…
We wanted to make the store something special and really design-led. A friend of mine who’s an interior designer hit upon the idea of natural surroundings. So there’s lots of brick and wood, mostly oak, and live plants which obviously fits with our live yoghurt theme. There’s also 27 feet of living grass under grow lights plus a huge space filled with dracaena plants. Our yoghurt tastes great and has NO artificial ingredients and we wanted that natural feel to be reflected throughout the store.
If you could choose, what would you be doing ten years from now?
I’m a very ambitious person and I’d like to keep opening businesses. Perhaps franchise Yu-foria or look at other options. People say I’m lucky but my motto in life is that luck is the result of opportunity meeting preparation. You make your own luck, and I’ll continue to do so.