Cold Stone Creamery Franchise Costs, Fees & Owner Salary (2023)









April 11, 2024


Cold Stone Creamery

a franchise?

Cold Stone Creamery

Cold Stone Creamery, a beloved ice cream franchise known for its artisanal, super-premium ice cream made fresh in-store, was founded in 1988. The franchise began expanding its unique ice cream experience through franchising in 1994. The headquarters of Cold Stone Creamery is located in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The franchise is recognized for its interactive customer service and diverse mix-in options, allowing customers to customize their ice cream Creations™.

Cold Stone Creamery continues to seek passionate entrepreneurs to join its expanding network, offering comprehensive support and training to ensure the success of each franchisee. The brand's commitment to quality and customer experience, combined with its strong market presence, makes it an attractive option for those looking to invest in the frozen dessert space.

How many

Cold Stone Creamery


are there?

In 2022, there were
outlets in
the United
States, of which
are franchises, and
are corporate-owned.

What are the

Cold Stone Creamery



Advertising fee


Initial Franchise Fee ($27,000)

The initial franchise fee for Cold Stone Creamery is $27,000. This fee grants the franchisee the right to operate a single Cold Stone Creamery location under the brand's guidelines and standards.

Royalty Fee (6% of Gross Sales)

Franchisees are required to pay a weekly royalty fee equal to six percent of their total Gross Sales. This fee is ongoing for the duration of the term of the franchise agreement.

Advertising Fee (3% of Gross Sales)

Franchisees must contribute to the Advertising Fund a weekly advertising fee of three percent of the Gross Sales from the preceding week. This fee supports national and regional advertising efforts to promote the Cold Stone Creamery brand and its products.

Other Notable Fees:

  • Additional Training ($1,000 per person): This fee applies if additional training is required.
  • Replacement Designated Franchise Operator Training ($5,000 per person): This fee is charged for the training of a replacement designated franchise operator.
  • Interest and Additional Expense Fee on Late Payments (1.5% per month): If payments are late, an interest fee of 1.5% per month is charged, along with an additional expense fee of 5% of the amount due for any amounts not paid within 10 business days of the due date.
  • Transfer Fee ($17,500): If a franchisee wishes to transfer their franchise, they must pay a fee of $17,500.

Note: The fees presented here can be found in the Item 5 of the Franchise Disclosure Document. For a complete list of all the fees borne by the franchisee, please consult the Franchise Disclosure Document.

How much does

it cost

to start a

Cold Stone Creamery


It costs between
to start a
Cold Stone Creamery

The total investment necessary to begin operation of a Traditional Cold Stone Creamery Restaurant ranges from $310,375 to $602,775. For a Non-Traditional Cold Stone Creamery Restaurant, the investment ranges from $53,200 to $474,775. It's crucial to note that these are estimates, and actual costs may vary based on location, negotiations, and other factors.

Here's a detailed breakdown of the costs:

Traditional Cold Stone Creamery Restaurant Investment:

Type of Expenditure Amount
Initial Franchise Fee $12,000 - $27,000
Rent/Security Deposit (for 3 months) $9,750 - $19,500
Travel and Living Expenses (2 persons) while training $3,000 - $7,500
Lease Review Fee $0 - $2,500
Architectural Fees $7,000 - $20,000
Leasehold Improvements $97,500 - $262,500
Exterior Signage $9,700 - $15,000
Equipment $123,000 - $195,000
PCI Compliance Costs $150 - $1,300
Opening Inventory $8,000 - $8,000
Employee Uniforms $500 - $800
Grand Opening Marketing Advertising $10,000 - $10,000
Insurance Premiums $500 - $2,500
Permits and Licenses $2,000 - $3,000
Telephone and Utility Deposits and Hookups $250 - $1,000
Computer Training and Food Safety Certification Course $100 - $250
Miscellaneous $3,925 - $3,925
Depository Account $3,000 - $3,000
Additional Funds - 3 month initial period $20,000 - $20,000
Total estimated initial investment: $310,375 - $602,775

Note: The table above provides a snapshot of the main costs associated with starting the most common franchise format (as disclosed in the Item 7 of the Franchise Disclosure Document). For a complete overview of all the expenses involved with the various formats offered by the franchisor, please consult the Franchise Disclosure Document.


Cold Stone Creamery



to its


Cold Stone Creamery

Cold Stone Creamery places a significant emphasis on preparing its franchisees for success through a comprehensive training program.

Here's a detailed look into their training approach:

Two individuals can participate in this training, which is included in the Initial Franchise Fee. At least one of these individuals must have an ownership interest in the franchise business.

The training program is divided into two main components:

  1. In-Store Training: This segment lasts for approximately 80 hours. It offers hands-on experience and is conducted at a designated training store in Arizona or another location chosen by the franchisor.
  2. New Owner Training: Spanning roughly 40 hours, this training can be conducted either online or in person. If it's in person, it takes place at the Franchisor training and education center in Scottsdale, Arizona, or another location decided by the franchisor.

Franchisees are responsible for all the costs associated with the training, including transportation, food, lodging, and other personal expenses.


Cold Stone Creamery




The franchise is granted only for the location specified in the Franchise Agreement or a location to be approved by Cold Stone Creamery. The specific site of the Cold Stone Creamery restaurant is subject to Cold Stone Creamery's approval.

Cold Stone Creamery will not unreasonably withhold its approval of the location. Franchisees will not receive an exclusive territory. They may face competition from other franchisees, from restaurants that Cold Stone Creamery owns, or from other channels of distribution or competitive brands that Cold Stone Creamery controls.

Can a

Cold Stone Creamery


be run as

a passive


Franchisees are expected to devote their best efforts to the proper and effective operation of the Franchised Business. If the franchisee is an entity, they must designate a "Primary Contact" responsible for the store and its operation.

While franchisees are not mandated to participate in the actual operation of the store, they can, with the company's consent, serve as the Primary Contact and/or a Manager. However, Cold Stone Creamery does not recommend the franchise for investors interested in an absentee management business.

Additionally, franchisees must employ on a full-time basis at least one on-premises supervisor (the "Manager") for the restaurant. This Manager must meet the company's criteria as a qualified restaurant operator and is not required to have any equity interest in the Franchised Business.

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