Just when we were settling down with our cup of bubble tea after the Gong Cha-LiHo saga, another F&B drama is brewing between Spanish froyo chain Llaollao and new froyo brand Yole (say 'yo-lay').
In an abrupt announcement made last week, Llaollao Singapore announced that it was shuttering its 29 outlets here and converting them to Yole shops.
All was relatively calm. Then, the Llaollao empire strikes back!
In a Facebook post uploaded last night (Dec 12), the Spanish froyo chain shocked the Internet again by unexpectedly declaring that its sudden closure was a decision made by its franchisee here, and that they have “absolutely nothing to do with Yole Frozen Yogurt”.
It also not-so-subtly threw shade by highlighting that “Yole is a totally new brand in the frozen yogurt market that does not exist in Europe, even though it has been advertised as such”. Here's where it gets even more interesting: the brand signed off its announcement by saying: “We want to let you know that we are far from finished in Singapore,” adding that it will be "back with new stores soon, much sooner than you can expect, so stayed tuned to our social networks".
But in case you really need froyo (even if it’s not from Llaollao) to tide you over these uncertain times, we went to check out a Yole joint at Waterway Point in Punggol to check out what’s buzzing.
Despite it being a branding revamp of sorts, Yole’s decor resembles its predecessor: bright, cheerful lighting, stark white walls and ingredients neatly presented in containers.
The only difference is that everything is Yole blue now, whereas Llaollao was a neon green that you could spot from afar. The latter’s distinctive pointy green spoon is now a blue spoon that resembles a, erm, shoehorn.
We spied a short queue at the Waterway Point outlet we visited, though we only had to wait for less than a couple of minutes.
A passer-by spotted the Yole cup in our hand and eagerly asked for directions to the shop. Whoa, the brand already has hardcore fans? "I have not tried it, but I was curious," the passer-by told us. Just like us.
Yole’s menu is still comfortingly similar. We ordered the item formerly known as Llaollao's Sanum — a froyo parfait that's now called Ibiza.
The good: it comes in a $5.50 Mini size now, and there's a limited-edition strawberry froyo flavour if you really love change (available till Dec 17).
The bad: Yole's strawberry froyo tastes a tad artificial, and its original flavour is also more sour than Llaollao's milkier froyo.
The selection of crunchy stuff, fruits and sauces, however, remain more or less similar (Llaollao's Raffaello sauce is now Yole's Chococrock, with no obvious change in taste).
All in all, same same but different.
In the meantime, keep calm and, er, go check out Gong Cha Singapore V2.0?
For shop information, go to www.facebook.com/yoleartisan.