Oct 23, 2009

A Clearer View: Confessions Part II

To help sum up AND
To give an outside opinion..

I've interviewed one of my old coworkers, simply asking her to comment on NUTRITION and WASTE at Cold Stone Creamery...here’s what she had to say:
"I have worked at Cold stone for 3 years. For half of that time I was a shift leader. One thing that baffled me was how wasteful people are. Instead of ordering a size smaller and saving money, people opted for the next size up. As a result they would throw away half a cup of ice cream.

The amount of ice cream parents would allow their children to have always shocked me. I was lucky to get a full scope as a kid. Parents always seemed to cave into their child's begging and would allow them sometimes to get a love it at 10:00pm! Did I mention that some of these children were as little as 5!

Since my cold stone was located next to a gym, people would come over after a workout and order ice cream! I bet they had no idea that that small strawberry savory has 900 calories aka almost half of their daily calorie intake on one drink!

The worst part is that we were encouraged to sell bigger sizes to customers. Sometimes we were even given incentives such as gift cards to whom ever could sell the biggest size in a month. Although I understand that this is a business and the main objective is to make a profit, it felt wrong sometimes encouraging people that bigger was always better."

- Nicole B.
(Thank you Nicole!!!)

Oct 22, 2009

Fro Yo!

I already talked about healthier solutions at Cold Stone, but did not mention that they tried in introduce "Tart n Tangy" a frozen yogurt... although, it was not that popular where I worked.

My advice? Go to a frozen yogurt place like Golden Spoon, or my favorite: Cherry on Top! Finding FroYo was an excitement when I moved to California, it has not hit Washington... what a shame.

Yogurt has probioti
cs (live bacterial cultures) that promote digestion. It is also much healthier for you in terms of fat and calories and what about all those fun fruity toppings you can add! There are so many flavors too, whether you want sweet or tart.

Remember Cold Stone's 2,010 calorie PB & C shake?? ....

Let's compare that to all of Cherry on Top's -

Peanut Butter Cup: 49 calories
per serving
Peanut Butter: 46 calories
Chocolate: 40 calories

In fact, none of Cherry on Top's frozen yogurt are above 50 calories per serving.
According to the Cherry on Top web site on health facts:
"A study published in the International Journal of Obesity took 16 obese men and women and put them on a reduced calorie diet that included three portions of yogurt. 18 other obese men and women were put on a diet with the same amount of calories as the first group but little or no dairy products. The people who consumed the yogurt lost 61% more fat and 81% more abdominal fat than the group who didn't."

I think the frozen yogurt places have it down - better nutrition and a better handle on waste control. Because you are in control of your own portioning at frozen yogurt places like Cherry on Top and the fact that sizes at Golden Spoon etc are reasonable, there is much less frozen deliciousness wasted.

Waste Wasting Business!

This revealing quote from another blog I found from a former employee sums up my waste argument:
"Because of the nature of the spades, proportioning is always done wrong. Employees commonly make everything one size bigger. Also, Cold stone makes more of a profit when you buy the medium or larger."

One of Cold Stone's problems is that it is a franchise-based business. There is no way to be able to monitor each and every store or the conduct of its employees, especially when it comes to sizing the ice cream. By having such large sizes, they automatically set themselves up for a large amount of waste when employees mis-proportion already extravagant sizes.

According to a Wall Street Journal article: Many franchisees are selling their stores, disaffected by what they say was too sweet a sales pitch by Cold Stone headquarters."

I experienced this first hand. Near the end of my time at Cold Stone, my boss was trying desperately to sell because profits were declining. She directed a lot of the down turn in profits to wasted ice cream, and I believe that is true. As I showed in the previous post, employees are desensitized to the waste.

At the beginning of each shift, employees are supposed to practice "pulling" ice cream from the stone and then weight the amount to make sure it is the correct size... NO ONE actually follows through with this procedure because it is time consuming and wasteful in itself. Therefore, the cycle of over sizing continues, because it is impossible to correctly eye-ball the amount of ice cream.

Cold Stone even invented an interactive training game to help their employees work on persuasion tactics AND see the effect their over-sizing has on waste and profits. Though, as an example of the disjointed nature of having so many franchises, I had never even heard of this game (which might have been very beneficial) until researching for this blog... so it's obviously not implicated often.

Check out a screen shot of this game!
Notice the tally of wasted ice cream in the left hand corner. (click on the "screen shot" link to get a clearer view)

Obviously, Cold Stone needs to further educate their employees, perhaps making sure that all are aware of this game. BUT, the underlying solution is just to make sizes smaller, undercutting waste over all!

Cold Stone's over proportioning is hurting their business, not just your waist line!

Employee testimonies from the "Behind the Stone" Facebook group:
  • "The two Cold Stone stores I used to work at closed because of low profit :[. Now we only have one and I never go there!"
  • "i use to love my store, but then two new owners bought it and changed everything.. they started making cuts on certain things to save every extra penny (like saving expired waffle cups) and drove all of us to quit."
^ I suppose reusing old waffle products saves waste, but gross! Owners should not be driven to these measures to stay in business!

Oct 21, 2009

From Table to Trash: A Look at Food Waste

"Americans waste more than 40% of the food we produce for consumption. That comes at an annual cost of more than $100 billion. At the same time, food prices and the number of Americans without enough to eat continues to rise."
- Jonathan Bloom (Author of Wasted Food & avid blogger)

We are all aware of how much food we waste on a daily basis, while others in other parts of the world struggle to make ends meet. Next time you enter a Cold Stone, order a smaller size that you will actually finish. Maybe then we can show Cold Stone that their HUGE sizes aren't what we want.

Here is some general information on food waste in the U.S.:
  • Food waste = uneaten portions of meals/trimmings from food preparation.
  • It is the second largest component of generated waste by weight and the largest component of discarded waste by weight (in landfills).
  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency states that each of us discards slightly less than a pound a day or 209 pounds a year.
  • The University of Arizona Garbage Project shows a per-person food scrap rate of 1.3 pounds per day or 474.5 pounds per year.
Total Generated:
  • 31.65 million tons, or 12.5% by weight.

  • 209 pounds per person per year.

- Food Waste Facts.com

Behind the Stone: Cold Stone Confessions

As a former Cold Stone employee, I have an insider’s perspective. I know how much food is actually wasted, how many employees cut corners and what really goes into your ice cream. Working at Cold Stone was one of the best high school jobs ever because it is all high schoolers who work in the stores. I worked with some of my best friends and actually got the job because I knew people who already worked there.

I’ve already talked about some things people don’t know, like how employees always add more ice cream when making a shake, just so they don’t accidentally make too little. The problem with this is there is always at least half a cup of extra shake, times that by 10 shakes made per employee, per shift, per store and that is a lot of wasted ice cream!

I hate to say it but employees also steal a lot from Cold Stones across the country. Because the sizes of the ice creams are so large, high schoolers don’t see a problem with taking some home, giving out a free one to a friend every once in a while, or wasting ingredients to make a fun concoction in the back room when things get slow.

If Cold Stone changed their sizing they would stop promoting this waste.

Check out something eye-opening I came across, a Facebook group of employees:
Behind the Stone: Confessions of a Cold Stone Employee

Some of the comment highlights from this group:
· “lets not talk about how much money in ice cream and candy i stole from cold stone....in one day :p”

· “My first of 3 managers did lines off the stone, then stole 150 bucks from the register to buy more coke to do off the stone.”

· “idk the best part about cold stone were the whip cream fights in the back!!! Lol”

· “we used to take empty pie crust containers and fill it with whipped cream to make a "pie" and tell the customers that if they let us pie them in the face they got a free ice cream...
We traded ice cream for food with McDonald's,the Bowling alley... (free bowling passes), pizza places..etc..
Wrestling matches including throwing boxes of sprinkles on the people fighting..
Having customers go into the back to wash the dishes for us lol..
Drug deals in the cold stone lobby ahah.. dancing on top of the stone..
Breaking the water container that cleans the spades every shift therefore creating a flood that went underneath the "gia" and into the lobby...
Convincing customers to taste those disgusting koolaid things so we could watch them practically throw up afterwards...."


I guarantee you that if you search "Cold Stone," on YouTube most of the videos that pop up are random goofing off of employees in the backroom. I would know, I worked at a Cold Stone in Washington State… think about how much we had to do during the Fall/Winter months. I think it’s obvious that if Cold Stone doesn’t take waste or nutrition seriously, their employees won’t take their roles at Cold Stone that seriously either.

Oct 19, 2009

An Apple a Day, Send the Ice Cream Away: Healthy Alternatives!

For the health conscious or lactose intolerant:
At Cold Stone:

Cold Stone offers a lemon sorbet, averaging at only 370 calories for a Gotta Have it! There are also seasonal flavors, like watermelon or Green Apple Gummy Bear

Most people hate Cold Stone Sinless Sans Fat Ice Cream, because honestly, it tastes horrible (obviously since it's ice cream with no fat or sugar... how is that ice cream?)
BUT, it averages at only 330 calories for a Gotta Have it AND here's a secret: if you have to get Sinless, add a dash of chocolate syrup as a mix it, it will make it taste much better and isn't as horrible as adding an entire beastly brownie. What I don't get is when people order Gotta Have it, with 3 candy bars in a chocolate dipped, Butterfinger-covered waffle bowl, then say: "Oh... better make it Sinless... I'm trying to watch it (pats waist-line)."

They added smoothies to the menu a while back.
Although, why not just go to Jamba Juice or a smoothie place, where the ingredients are fresh (not frozen berries) and the workers know what they're doing. Cold Stone crew members are ice cream-mixers, not smoothie-makers.

Instead of getting 5 chocolate, caramel, whip cream toppings, get some yummy fruit.

Better yet...

Why not just order a NORMAL size of ice cream, that you can finish in one sitting, won't make you feel sick and won't make up half your daily calorie intake. If Cold Stone got rid of all its random menu additions that try to promote "healthy indulgences" like the smoothies, Sinless etc and focused back on the quality of their ice cream by making appropriate sizes, it would be more enjoyable! It might be fun to get a massive serving of ice cream, but it melts, and isn't healthy day after day. If Cold Stone down sizes their portions, customers would focus more on the quality of the amount they received.
Ever thought how those small chip bags or fun size candy bars taste better than the full sizes? It's because you aren't overwhelmed by too much of a good thing!

* Fun facts!
You can reduce risk of osteoporosis by simply working out. It's shown that working out, which increases bone density (especially during your major growth years) has as much or just as much effect in preempting osteoperosis as calcium intake!
greater effect on your

You can get Vitamin D from the sun too! 5 to 15 mins of sun exposure can be enough to meet your body’s requirements.

You Can Have Too Much of a Good Thing: Hidden Health Implications of Ice Cream Overdose

Advice directly off Cold Stone's main page:
"Ice cream for breakfast, a smoothie for lunch, and a sensible cake for dinner? – Who says you can’t eat this amazing ice cream for all three meals?"

As amazing as that sounds… one gigantic Cold Stone creation is unhealthy, let alone 3! Portion control is already a struggle for many Americans. By serving huge sizes as normal portions, Cold Stone feeds into the problem of over eating. By scaling down their sizes, Cold Stone’s image would improve. Instead of being the McDonalds of the ice cream world, super sizing everything, Cold Stone would be looking out for customers health.

Ice Cream and Health

"Everyone knows that ice cream isn't good for you — it's a splurge, but most people don't realize how much of a splurge it is." - Jayne Hurley, senior nutritionist - Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI).

The CSPI found:
· Chocolate-dipped waffle cone + Chunky Monkey ice cream (Ben & Jerry's)
= roughly as much as a one-pound rack of ribs
· "Mint Chip Dazzler" sundae (Haagen-Dazs) = a T-bone steak,Caesar salad and baked potato with sour cream
· Love it size "Mud Pie Mojo"— coffee ice cream, almonds, fudge, Oreos, pb and whip cream (Cold Stone) = saturated fat/calorie level of 2 personal pan pepperoni pizzas from Pizza Hut

US Obesity Statistics:
I just studied abroad in Spain for 6 months, and many people I met thought ALL Americans were extremely over weight because of what they had seen of Americans on TV. When you look around, U.S. portion sizing plays a very LARGE role in fulfilling our unflattering.

Obesity means a body mass index (BMI)/height-weight ratio of 30 or greater.

Excess cholesterol & saturated fats increase risk for cardiovascular disease.

Excess sugar intake cause cause risk for developing diabetes (type 2).

Some startling stats:
"To return to the average weights of the 1970s, we would need to reverse the increased food intake of about 350 calories a day for children (about one can of fizzy drink and a small portion of French fries) and 500 calories a day for adults (about one large hamburger)"
– Chair/Professor Boyd Swinburn - World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Obesity

· Over 1/3 of U.S. adults (72 million people) and 16% of U.S. children are obese.

· Since 1980, obesity rates for adults have doubled and rates for children have tripled.
· In 2000, obesity-related health care costs totaled an estimated $117 billion.
· The Center for Disease Control and Prevention just released in July that the estimate has risen to $147 billion per year.

Unhealthy eating could lead to diabetes, especially if you are “pre-diabetes,” meaning your blood sugar levels are higher than normal and you are at risk for developing type 2, when your body ignores the insulin produced or doesn’t produce enough.

41 million Americans have pre-diabetes. They may show no symptoms, but studies show most develop type 2 diabetes within 10 years. - American Diabetes Association (ADA)Take the Pre Diabetes Risk Test

Fat-free ice cream may seem better, but with those with diabetes. Fat slows the digestive process so fat-free iced can dump carbs into the bloodstream quickly, blood glucose can spike rapidly.

Unwanted Hormones

Dairy products have been known to include harmful hormones. Luckily, by this year over half of America’s biggest dairies have rejected the injecting of their cows with the recombinant bovine growth hormone, rBGH or rBST, that makes them produce more milk. This hormone increases disease rates in cows and has been linked to higher cancer rates in humans.


Over consumption can be harmful to the health! Cold Stone is a prime example of way too much of a good thing. MODERATION is the key, and if Cold Stone starts helping Americans portion their ice cream, maybe we can change these statistics, benefiting company image and the American stereotype.

Oct 14, 2009

Size ‘em up and Move ‘em down: The Employee Factor

Cold Stone's over sizing is not only available, but unavoidable. Cold Stone has a unique crew member training structure, focused on persuasion and customer service. Through an intensive program, "The Power of Nice," you work on online and paper exercises in sales techniques and reading customer body language.

(* click on the link above to see a portion of the handbook!)

Here’s a straight snippet from the book:

Size ‘em up and Move ‘em down

"We want to train our customers to stick with the Love Its and Gotta Have Its. Simply ask them if they would prefer a Love It or Gotta Have It size, and point out the cup sizes with your hand. This will draw the customer’s attention to the sizes and will help them make the decision faster.

If they indicate they want a Like It size, use soft sales techniques to convince them to increase the size. For example: “For only a few cents more, you can get almost twice the ice cream, and if you don’t finish it now you can take it home and enjoy it later.”

And they want to hook you for later: "It is not always about the sale today, but about the future sale."

When I was a crew member, we had incentives with bonuses for the employee who sold the most waffle products or had the highest "Gotta Have it" or "Love it" sales percentage.

Our token phrase: "For only 30 cents more, you can get twice the ice cream!" But do you really want twice the ice cream? Maybe next time you go into a Cold Stone, you'll realize that a flashy song upon check out doesn't change the fact that what you're eating is unhealthy in such large portions and contributes to food waste. Most people don't realize how much up-selling of products is stressed - so much that some customers don't even know a Like it or Kids' size exists!

Oct 12, 2009

The Inside Scoop: 3 Things You Didn’t Realize About Your Cold Stone Creation

1) The Scoop Count
Want to get a good grasp of over-sizing at Cold Stone, become a crew member. You must agree, people get very possessive of their food…under size an ice cream and you get an angry customer, give them a little extra and you have a new best friend.
As an employee, it is always much easier to over size someone’s ice cream, than fix someone’s complaint that they didn't get as much as last time they came in.

Aptly quoted from a review of Cold Stone: "Sizing: You've been warned, the portion sizes are larger than they seem. When ordering a "Like It", expect to receive portion sizes for "Love It". When ordering "Love It", expect to receive portion sizes for "Gotta Have It"!"

When it comes to shakes, it is annoying and time consuming to have to make more shake to top off someone’s drink, so employees always add extra, just in case. Same goes for ice cream. Therefore, you’re almost guaranteed to get a third of a serving more than what is listed as a “Gotta Have it.” That means you’re probably consuming even MORE than those 1,000 calories.

A perfect example of Cold Stone oversizing is that they only use a normal ice cream scoop to make the kids size. Shouldn't the small or medium size be the equivalent of a scoop? Cold Stone should change their "Like it" to the size of a normal 3 oz serving of ice cream, the "Love it" to 5 oz (the current size of a "Like it"), and scale down their "Gotta Have it" to 8 oz (the current "Love it" size... and still extremely large, especially considering the richness of their ice cream).

Shakes are deceiving too. Did you know that when making a “Gotta Have it” size shake, the instructions dictate that it calls for 5 scoops of ice cream?! Add in that bit extra, just in case, and the liquefied state of your shake doesn’t change the fact that you’re sucking down about 6 scoops. Oh and don’t forget those lovely mix-ins!

2) Mix-in Mania

(*click here to see a mix-in & waffle cone product breakdown)

Fun Fact: There are over 11 million possible combinations at Cold Stone!

Ice cream calorie content is one thing, then lets add an entire cookie dough ball, brownie, dollop of whip cream, caramel, or dash of candy! Cold Stone’s unique idea of mixing in other goodies into their ice cream is delicious, but dangerous. Just one scoop of any chocolaty mix-in will give you at least 100 extra calories, and around 200 if it’s nuts.

3) Waffle Cone Woes

An example of Cold Stone’s wastefulness is its waffle cone products. There are only two sizes: standard and kids. All ice creams are put in a standard size waffle cone or bowl, with the exception of the kids size. Therefore, the waffle cone must be huge to fit the largest size, dwarfing a "Like it." Hardly anyone ever finishes their entire cone/bowl. Think about how much money and material Cold Stone wastes in uneaten waffle products at the end of the day. Also, the average calorie count for a dipped waffle cone or bowl is 310!

Oct 8, 2009

Whatever Happened to a Single Scoop? A Look at Cold Stone Creamery:

It has been just over 20 years since Tempe, Arizona witnessed ice cream history when the Sutherlands opened their first creamery in 1988. Mixing ice cream on a cold, stone slab and being able to add 32 different goodies, even a cookie dough ball, was the “coolest” thing to hit the ice cream world since cones.

Fun fact: in 2001, chocolate-covered crickets were a featured mix-in!

Now, Cold Stone is a nationwide phenom with over 1,450 stores in 13 countries worldwide. For the Cold Stone heirs, this is an ice cream dream come true, but for the rest of us Americans, and now 100 international locations, it means an irresistible, sugar-coma-inducing culprit is attacking us at every turn.

And what, you may ask, is the biggest weapon in Cold Stone Creamery’s arsenal of artery-clogging creations? Well, I’ll tell you: a seemingly simple shake!



*Click on any of the title links to go directly to the nutritional information!

Cold Stone offers ice creams (even in to-go tubs), shakes, cakes, cupcakes, smoothies, sorbets, and now offers pies and even blended ice coffee drinks.
So many options, so many ways to eat at least 1/3 of your daily calories in one sitting.

The worst ice cream to indulge in is, surprise, surprise, one of the “Batters.”
Cookie Batter Ice Cream: Gotta Have it, 900 calories (49 grams of fat)

The famous Cake Batter isn’t too good for you either:
Cake Batter Ice Cream: Gotta Have it, 830 calories

EVEN a classic vanilla is a danger:
French Vanilla Ice Cream: Gotta Have it, 810 calories (46 grams of fat)

Not a single large size ice cream is below 600 calories (except the “Sinless,” which tastes disgusting… but we’ll get to that later).


Now here’s the fun one… shakes. What most people don’t know in the instructions for making a Cold Stone shake a small size shake requires 3 scoops of ice cream and the large needs 5. Then, factor in the candy mixed in and TA DA…

Every single shake (size small or large) on the Cold Stone menu is over 1,000 calories!

The “best:” Savory Strawberry
Like it: 1,000 calories
Love it: 1,200
Gotta Have it: 1,480 (81 grams of fat)

The worst: PB&C™ (Peanut Butter & Chocolate)
Like it: 1280 calories
Love it: 1,690
Gotta Have it: 2,010 (131 grams of fat)

Lets not forget the yummy ice cream cakes. A tiny piece of any of the Cold Stone Signature cakes, or one of their new cupcakes, is around 400 calories!

ALSO- Cold Stone has introduced several other things recently, including Jell-O pudding ice cream and rumors of partnering with Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. Even when I worked there, there was a signature combination all about Ghirardelli Chocolate (dark Ghirardelli ice cream, caramel Ghirardelli squares and fudge... WHOA) talk about getting your high calorie chocolate fix. (Both at around 800 calories for a large size)

Oct 6, 2009

We All Scream: Why Do You Over-Size Your Ice Cream? A Letter to the Cold Stone King:

Mr. Dan Beem, president of Cold Stone Creamery,

Congratulations! This year on Men’s Health’s list of the Unhealthiest Drinks in America 2009, your PB & C shake is number 1! In case you forgot, your peanut butter and chocolate masterpiece has a whopping 2,010 calories. Luckily you snuck by Baskin Robbins that boasts a shake of 2,600 calories because their large size (32 oz) is 3 times your 12 oz “Gotta Have It.” I don’t even know how you packed the calorific equivalent of more than a dozen ice cream sandwiches and more saturated fat than almost 20 large orders of McDonald’s French fries into a single shake, but I have to say… gross factor aside, that’s pretty impressive.

With that out of the way, I’ll get to the main reason for my letter. I’ll start by complimenting your ice cream. I worked at a Cold Stone Creamery for a year in high school and I’m still a fan. When you live and breathe ice cream and often come home smelling like waffle cones after an 8 hour shift and can still say you enjoy eating the ice cream, that is certainly a testament to the deliciousness of a product.

However, given the choice, I would choose a scoop from any other company over a Cold Stone creation after having worked in one of your stores. Did I didn’t hate my job? No! I think it was the best high school job possible. Do I detest Cold Stone creations? No! Apple Pie-a-la-Cold Stone with a touch of brownie is my favorite. It is your sizing I have a problem with. No one really needs 12 oz of ice cream, with an entire candy bar mixed in, plopped in a waffle cone that is dipped in chocolate and covered with bits of more candy. I think in this case, you can have too much of a good thing.

Naturally, ice cream is not the healthiest option for an after dinner snack; that is why we “indulge” in our desserts. However, the gargantuan sizing of Cold Stone ice cream doesn’t only satisfy our sweet tooth, it rots it. With such huge sizes, Cold Stone has taken the classic single scoop and made it a mountain. This excess is extremely unhealthy, promoting poor health, especially for American youth, even furthering the stereotype of American over-indulgence. Now, hamburgers aren’t the only things we super-size.

Besides nutrition, I want to bring up food waste. Today, we are aware of the global hunger crisis more than ever and you should consider how much is wasted in your stores. As a past employee, I have to say, you do not truly realize how much food is wasted on a daily basis until you are the one taking out the trash. The “eyes-are-bigger-than-your-stomach” tendency definitely applies to ice cream. You probably hate to hear this, but even your employees contribute to the waste; it is much easier to make an ice cream bigger than it is supposed to be, than risk a disappointed, ice cream “deprived” customer.

I declare a call to action. Cold Stone Creamy should reconsider their sizes on behalf of their ice cream-loving constituents and the future success of the brand. To foster improved portion control and less food waste, Cold Stone Creamery should scale down their sizing, basing all products off of a “Like it” as a single 3 oz scoop.

As president of the franchise, I hope you will take the comments of concerned customers into consideration and make a change. Thank you for your patience.


Sarah B.