- 2021 Franchise 500 Rank
#53 Ranked #60 last year
- Initial investment
$146K - $169K
- Units as of 2020
1,305 43.7% over 3 years
Kona Ice franchisees bring their trucks to events to serve up shaved ice that customers can flavor themselves. Franchisees also partner with schools, teams, youth groups and other community groups for fundraising events. Shaved ice carts, kiosks and trailer are also available.
About Kona Ice
More from Kona Ice
It’s the beginning of a new day and it’s time for a fresh start. In a year that had most businesses struggling to just survive, Kona Ice has thrived. Many may have felt like global events have taken away your feeling of control or even freedom. Your next paycheck, the way you work, or even the very existence of your job has been in the control of someone else. Or maybe you've dreamed of starting your own business and being your own boss, but felt like the timing was out of your hands. Kona Ice offers a fresh concept, in-house financing, and strong corporate support to help you take back control of your work life and make your life work for you. With Kona Ice, you can take the leap into entrepreneurship with the safety net of the world’s largest food truck business in the world and the business named #1 in Franchisee Satisfaction by Franchise Business Review 8 years in a row.
Over the last thirteen years, we’ve received a lot of awards - but the one we’re most proud of is our Franchisee Satisfaction Award from Franchise Business Review. We’ve made the top ranks over the last eight years and in the last few years, we’ve had the distinct honor of coming in at #1 overall.
So you may be knee deep in the franchising process with tons of questions, but we have just one for you. Why not Kona Ice?
REASONS WHY KONA ICE IS DIFFERENT
- Proprietary Nutritional Product: Through Kreations Flavoring, we provide a product that meets all of the federal nutritional standards for schools.
- Ancillary Equipment: You can customize your business model with the four additional products we offer - the Kona Kiosk, the Kona Mini, the Kona Trailer and the KEV 2.0.
- Digital Marketing Campaigns: With a combination of Google Ads, Facebook, Instagram and national PR, we’ve got you covered on the web.
- Unmatched Corporate Support: You want proof? Highest in franchisee satisfaction with two different agencies since we’ve started. Hear it from our franchisees with testimonials on our website.
- Established Brand: With twelve years in the industry and representation all across the country, and even internationally, Kona Ice is a well-developed and respected brand.
- Extremely Quick Startup: We’ll have you up and running in 30-60 days, guaranteed.
- Fixed Royalty: No penalties for succeeding.
- Incredibly Low Overhead: Approximately 6% food cost in an industry with an average of 32%.
- Community Involvement: With over $80 million given back, our communities have embraced us as the best fundraising tool around.
- Product Innovation: With our brand new Kona Krafted line of flavors, we’re constantly following flavor trends to create new flavors to introduce to the shaved ice world.
CORPORATE SUPPORT & MARKETING
At Kona Ice, we believe you should go into business for yourself, but not by yourself.
QUICK & EASY STARTUP
We pride ourselves on our franchising process. When you decide you want to start your own business, we understand that you don't want to wait years to make that dream a reality. We can guarantee that we’ll have you in business, generating revenue within 30-60 days of your deposit.
The Kona Experience is not just for our customers. We strive to create a one-of-a-kind experience for our franchisees too. And that all begins at Kona Kollege.
Your Kona Ice journey begins with an all expense paid trip to the training program at the Kona Ice Corporate Headquarters. You’ll meet your support staff and gain firsthand knowledge in the following:
- Marketing strategies from our corporate marketing team
- Day-to-day operations from one of the largest franchises, which is housed at corporate
- Initial setup of your business & digital marketing
- No holds barred Q&A with the owner & CEO, Tony Lamb
- Hands-on training on your brand new Kona Ice truck, including a test drive on our safety course
- One-on-one training and advice from several veteran franchisees
You’ll graduate from Kona Kollege with a 30 day plan that will have you primed and ready for success. On top of your startup plan, you will be set up for multiple follow up calls throughout your first year to ensure a smooth and successful start to your business!
Kona Ice has a full time marketing team of graphic designers, digital marketers, copywriters and videographers that create content for Google AdWords campaigns, Facebook campaigns and Instagram campaigns. Hundreds of thousands of dollars are spent on these marketing campaigns that are designed solely to make the franchisee’s phone ring and fill up their inbox. You focus on building your contact database, as corporate provides:
- Professionally designed email advertising to targeted markets
- Slick and creative direct mail and customizable leave-behind materials to close sales
- Kona-branded giveaways and merchandise to promote the brand
- Individual mini websites for franchisees as part of our Find A Kona feature
- Social media assistance accompanied by posts and yearly campaigns
- Corporate website that speaks to all areas of the Kona business
- Location-based searching to direct customers to local operators
- Dedicated web developers who manage website SEO & a massive national Google Ads campaign
- Corporate run social media contests & campaigns to promote brand awareness and engage your customers
“I think the vision Tony has for Kona is very exciting. So it allows us on a local level to really promote a brand that we believe in.”
- Linnea Weikleenget, franchisee in Jackson, MS
KONOLOGY: the business of shaved ice
We place a great deal of our time and resources on the continuing education of our franchisees. If every franchisee had the same information as our most successful franchisee, then everyone has the potential to succeed. We cover such topics as:
- New Employee Orientation
- Online Marketing
- Customer Service
- Fielding Phone Calls
- Gathering Information
- Organizing Your KEV
- Pricing Information
ADDITIONAL KONA SUPPORT
- Annual Kona Konvention
- Veteran franchisee coaching & mentoring
- Online forum where franchisees share ideas & techniques
- On demand support for day to day operations
- Custom signage for your KEV
- Dedicated PR company to get you local press
- Video tutorials
- In-house podcasts
- Monthly webinars
- The Kona Konnect: a monthly newsletter sent out to franchisees from corporate
- The KnowledgeBase: an online forum of aggregated information for franchisees
We sell shaved ice, but that’s not what we’re all about. Company-wide, we’ve given back and raised over $80 million dollars to communities and organizations all across the country since our inception in 2007. It’s more a part of who we are than any other aspect of our brand. It is how we operate. To put it simply, giving back is who we are, selling the world’s most incredible shaved ice is what we do.
One of the best things about Kona Ice is that the business model is simple. The brand works for you, not the other way around. Our goal at corporate is to make your Kona Ice experience as enjoyable and stress-free as eating a cup of shaved ice!
MEET THE KEV: The Kona Entertainment Vehicle
Having built over 1,300 of these wonderful trucks, Kona Ice has perfected the KEV. This state-of-the-art truck is literally a mobile billboard for your business - it sells itself!
- Drives in anywhere, anytime, fully equipped to serve thousands per day
- Patented Flavorwave for self-serve flavor dispensing
- Choose from an endless variety of exotic flavor combinations
- Tropical music rocks from the BOSE enhanced sound system
- First mobile food truck to be completely NSF (National Sanitation Foundation) approved
ANCILLARY EQUIPMENT: Year Round Opportunities
We’re not just a shaved ice truck - we have units of every size for any venue. Once you own a Kona truck, you will have access to:
- The Kona Mini: The most popular ancillary unit is a smaller, more agile version of the KEV. It’s designed for indoor events and smaller outdoor venues. It’s a low-risk, high-reward investment that can truly make your business last all year.
- The Kona Kiosk: The Kona Kiosk hit the streets in 2015 and has been a huge success. Perfect for semi-permanent venues or large events, the Kona Kiosk can serve the same amount of people as the truck. It’s smaller than a truck, but it has the same visibility and could be the perfect supplement to your Kona business.
- The Kona Trailer: Sometimes you only need the back half of the KEV - and that’s exactly what you’ll get with the Kona Trailer. It’s perfect for large venues where you’ll be established for the majority of your season.
- The KEV 2.0: The newest addition to our Kona ancillary family has been the KEV 2.0. It’s a smaller, more agile version of the main Kona truck. It’s great for when you want to expand in your area, but want to keep the mobility of the truck!
INCREDIBLY LOW OVERHEAD
- Average of 6% food cost
- No real estate expenses
- Single person operation per unit
- Multi-unit expandability
- Fully contained & completely mobile
- Incredible franchisee buying power
Everyone’s favorite feature of the Kona Ice truck is the ability to load up on flavors to their heart’s content. In a day and age where self-serve dessert is all the rage, Kona has taken that step for the mobile shaved ice industry with our patented Flavorwave.
- Large, protected territories
- No forced expansion
- Territory assigned by zip code(s)
- Promotes working partnerships with neighboring franchisees
ONE OF A KIND EXPERIENCE
Kona doesn’t just sell gourmet shaved ice, it brings an unforgettable experience that appeals to the kid in all of us!
- Schools reward students with regular Kona visits
- Parents, kids and staff alike say Kona Day is the best day of the week at daycare
- Sports teams and leagues invite Kona to the ballpark whenever there’s a crowd
- Businesses book Kona as a special treat for employees
- Birthday parties, church festivals, block parties and company picnics can all benefit from the Kona Ice experience
- We’re mobile, so really, we can be just about anywhere!
“With Kona, I have put more smiles on kid’s faces and received more genuine thank you’s in 8 months than I ever did in my 25 years in the consumer electronic business.” - Cheri Wells, franchisee in Ventura, CA
KONA GIVES BACK
Ever wonder if you’re making a difference? With Kona Ice, you’ll see it happening right before your very eyes. With over $80 million dollars given back to local communities all across the country, Kona Ice is defined by our community involvement. Because we’re a mobile franchise, this allows you to be directly involved in your community at every touch point.
Ranked the #1 New Franchise by Entrepreneur Magazine in 2013 and Highest in Franchisee Satisfaction from 2014-2019 by Franchise Business Review, Kona Ice’s reputation is proclaimed as being one of the most innovative brands and “be your own boss” businesses around. In fact, we’ve made the Fastest Growing list the past six years. Kona Ice is thriving all across the map - from New Hampshire to California. And as of 2014, it’s been proven to work in three international markets as well. And in addition to that, roughly 75% of franchisees are purchasing a second unit within the first two years.
KREATIONS FLAVORING: A Proprietary Nutritious Product
Who knew shaved ice could be healthy? Kona Ice is redefining dessert, by creating a nutritious and delicious treat. Our constant innovation puts us on a pathway to success. The food and beverage industry is becoming exceedingly harder to excel in with the nutrition standards that have been put in place. The innovative and progressive spirit that our company was founded on continues in our search to provide a healthy option for our customers. Through our sister company, Kreations Flavoring, we have worked with flavor scientists to procure a completely proprietary product. From the nutritious base, filled with vitamins and sweetened with all-natural Stevia, to the completely proprietary flavor line we’ve developed that surpasses all other flavors currently available in the market, we believe we have the healthiest and most delicious shaved ice option around! Because we develop our own products, we’re constantly creating new flavors that can only be found with Kona Ice and discovering ways to make our product better for our customers.
- Sweetened with all-natural Stevia and pure cane sugar
- Reduced sugar and calories
- Gluten free, fat free, nut free, dairy free, cholesterol free, soy free, no GMO’s, no high fructose corn syrup, no lactose and Kosher-certified
- A Smart Snack Approved product called Fruit First: contains real fruit as the first ingredient and has 70% less sugar than a regular sno cone
- Vitamin-fortified flavors with our VitaBlend product (Stevia + vitamins C & D)
- Sugar free and dye free flavors available
In 2017, we unveiled our brand new Kona Krafted flavor line. With flavors that were specifically developed to cater to a more adult audience, we’ve been able to expand segments of the business like never before. Upon conducting market research, we determined this set of flavors would be our new Krafted flavors: Coconut Lime, Aprium Rosé Sangria, Wildberry Honey, Tamarind, Rose Petal Lemonade, Pineapple Sunrise, Bourbon Black Cherry Vanilla, Blackberry Mojito, Lavender Lemonade and Passion Fruit. You’ll want to try them all!
INVESTMENT & FINANCING
LOW COST INVESTMENT
- $15,000 - $30,000 cost investment
- Fixed royalty - a fraction of industry standard
- No paralyzing build out costs
We have pre-arranged financing with a sister company in place specifically for Kona Ice, giving you the opportunity to expand at your own pace.
Kona Ice is the fastest growing mobile franchise in the country. Meeting or exceeding most expectations, franchisee satisfaction is through the roof! Don’t miss this opportunity!
Territories are still available in major markets! Contact us for more information.
What Our Franchisees Are Saying:
We’ve been awarded top in Franchisee Satisfaction, but don’t take it from us, see what our franchisees are actually saying:
“I couldn’t believe how fast I was up and running with my Kona business. It felt like just weeks since my initial phone call to when I was driving my Kona Ice truck away from Kona Kollege completely ready to do business!” - Natasha Pharis
“I would have never imagined that I could practically pay off my entire year’s royalty in one weekend. It never ceases to amaze me the amount of people that love coming up to the truck - there’s always a line. And I never thought I’d be able to do this full time, but after just a year in the business, I was able to make Kona my full time job.” - Megan Stevenson
“As far as Kona is concerned, what really drew me in was the low barrier of entry. There wasn’t a lot of risk, in my opinion. You know, you’re buying a truck. You actually have an asset to work with. And I appreciate that the business is built around the effort you put into it. If you want to put the effort in, you’re going to have a growing business, a profitable business.” - Garvin Wong
“The Kona Ice truck is a wonderful sales tool. It was a lot easier to sell than I had imagined it would be. I have hardly ever had anyone turn me down when I asked them for their business. The truck basically sells itself!” - Charles Love
“The way Kona operates is how every franchise should operate. It’s a truck! So I can work whenever I want to work. I get to wake up every morning and be my own boss. No more 9-5 for me! And best of all, I never have to miss my son’s basketball games ever again.” - Jon Black
“The fact that we have a nutritious and delicious product that’s fortified with vitamins and meets all the federal guidelines for working in schools has been a game-changer for us. We’re the only vendor that’s allowed to be on school property. That’s huge!” - Lisa Quiroz
“We’ve been Kona franchisees for 6 years now and the ancillary equipment Kona provides has allowed us to expand within our territory. They provide a great return on investment while still keeping the brand.” - Ted & Sandra Andrews
Request more information to hear over 50 franchisee testimonials. We bet you’ll find someone just like you!
- Franchising Since
- 2008 (13 years)
- # of employees at HQ
- Where seeking
This company is seeking new franchisees throughout the US.
This company is seeking new franchisees worldwide.
- # of Units
- 1,305 (as of 2020)
Information for Franchisees
Here’s what you need to know if you’re interested in opening a Kona Ice franchise.
Financial Requirements & Ongoing Fees
Here’s what you can expect to spend to start the business and what ongoing fees the franchisor charges throughout the life of the business.
- Initial Franchise Fee
Definition: The initial fee paid to a franchisor to join their system
What you need to know: Found in Item 5 of the FDD, this may be a flat fee, or may vary based on territory size, experience, or other factors.The franchise fee is an up-front (one-time) cost that a new franchisee pays to the franchisor. This fee is usually due at the signing of the franchise agreement and covers the right to use the franchisor's trademarks, name, and related business systems.
- Initial Investment
- $145,600 - $169,200
Definition: The total amount necessary to begin operation of the franchise
What you need to know: The initial investment includes the franchise fee, along with other startup expenses such as real estate, equipment, supplies, business licenses, and working capital. This is outlined in a chart in Item 7 of the FDD, showing a range of possible costs from low to high.
- Net Worth Requirement
Definition: The minimum net worth you must have in order to qualify to become a franchisee of this company
What you need to know: Net worth is the value of a person's assets minus liabilities. Assets include cash, stocks, retirement accounts, and real estate. Liabilities include items like mortgages, car payments, and credit card debt.
- Cash Requirement
Definition: The minimum liquid capital you must have available in order to qualify to become a franchisee of this company.
- Royalty Fee
Definition: A ongoing fee paid to the franchisor on a regular basis.
What you need to know: Most franchisors require franchisees to pay an ongoing royalty fee, which is detailed in Item 6 of the FDD. This fee is typically a percentage of weekly or monthly gross sales, but may also be a flat weekly, monthly, or annual fee.
- Ad Royalty Fee
Definition: An going fee paid to the franchisor on a regular basis to support advertising or marketing efforts.
What you need to know: This may also be called advertising fee, marketing fee, brand fund fee, and more, but the basic purpose is the same-- to support promotion of the brand systemwide. As with the royalty fee, it is detailed in Item 6 of the FDD, and can be a percentage of weekly or monthly gross sales or a weekly, monthly, or annual fee.
- Term of Agreement
- 10 years
Definition: The length of time your franchise agreement will last.
What you need to know: Franchise terms are typically anywhere from 5 to 20 years in length, but are sometimes instead dependent on factors such as the term of your lease. Once your term is up, you may have the option to renew your agreement, typically for a smaller fee than the original franchise fee.
- Is franchise term renewable?
Some franchisors offer in-house financing, while others have relationships with third-party financing sources to which they refer qualified franchisees.
- Third Party Financing
- Kona Ice has relationships with third-party sources which offer financing to cover the following: franchise fee, startup costs, equipment, inventory, accounts receivable, payroll
Training & Support Offered
Franchisors offer initial training programs and a variety of ongoing support options to help franchisees run their businesses.
- Classroom Training
- 30 hours
- Ongoing Support
NewsletterMeetings & ConventionsGrand OpeningOnline SupportSecurity & Safety ProceduresField OperationsFranchisee Intranet Platform
- Marketing Support
Co-op AdvertisingAd TemplatesNational MediaRegional AdvertisingSocial MediaSEOWebsite DevelopmentEmail Marketing
Additional details about running this franchise.
- Is absentee ownership allowed?
Definition: Absentee ownership means that the franchisee does not actively work in the franchise business or manage day-to-day operations.
- Can this franchise be run from home/mobile unit?
Definition: The business can be run from your home and/or a vehicle, and it is not necessary to have a retail facility, office space, or warehouse.
- Can this franchise be run part time?
Definition: This business can be run by the owner on a part-time basis (less than 40 hours per week) and/or as a side business; it is not necessary for the business to be open/run full-time.
- Are exclusive territories available?
Definition: An exclusive territory is a fixed area in which you are given the right to operate and in which no other units of the same franchise may be opened.
What you need to know: Territory size may be based on factors such as radius, population size, zip codes, and more. Details can be found in Item 12 of the FDD.
Franchise 500 Ranking History
Compare where Kona Ice landed on this year’s Franchise 500 Ranking versus previous years.
Curious to know where Kona Ice ranked on other franchise lists? Find out below.
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