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COLD STONE CREAMERY



MARBLE SLAB CREAMER



Outposts in the GTA

Five

Ninth coming soon

Best-selling signature mix

Founder's Favourite: Sweet cream ice cream, pecans, brownie, fudge and caramel

Cookie Dough Drizzle: Birthday-cake ice cream, chocolate-chip cookie dough, Oreo cookies and fudge

Family resemblance

Established in Houston, Tex., in 1983, Marble Slab brings what they call a "chef-driven vision" to the "mixin" method pioneered by Boston-based Steve's Ice Cream

Founded in 1988 in Tempe, Ariz., on the "ice cream dream" of unique "Creations." Marble Slab officials have since claimed that spinoff founders posed as franchisees before branching off

Approximate slab temp

-25 degrees

-8 degrees

Minor meltdown

Hit rocky road last year after disgruntled franchisees closed shop due to disappointing sales. The current co-branding initiative with Tim Hortons is part of a new vision of "organic growth" meant to ease growing pains, explains the firm's president, Dan Beem

Sued Cold Stone in 2001 over franchisee and trademark disputes, resulting in a countersuit and years of sticky litigation

Flavour and "mixin" count

Fourteen flavours, including cake batter, coffee and, seasonally permitting, pumpkin.

Thirty-two "mix-ins," including brownies, Snickers and graham-cracker pie crust.

Twenty-one flavours, including sweet cream, cotton candy and cheesecake.

Forty "mixins," including marshmallows, sour cherries and gumballs (multi-task chewing required)

Average cost per gummy bear

11 cents

6 cents

The look

Timmy's drab earth tones are low on ambience, but digital drop-down menus shift between Tim's and Cold Stone's selections to help quell the double-double counter chaos

Decked out in candy-coloured pastels, Marble Slab feels like psych-ward-meets-circus-camp, screaming tots and all

Most calorie-heavy flavour per 283 g serving

Nutter Butter ice cream, 785 calories

Peanut Butter ice cream, 747 calories

Entertainment value

Comes with a song and dance, literally. Staff are auditioned for "X factor," Mr. Beem says. An in-store "entertainment director" keeps line-bound kiddies (and their parents) from throwing "Are we there yet?" tantrums with pop remixes, two-stepping and free samples

Says Marble Slab Canada president Cam Inglis: "We leave the singing and dancing to our competitors."

No-melt flavours

Butterscotch Velvet and Chocolate-y Goodness (made with Jell-O pudding ice cream).

No forays into molecular gastronomy as of yet

Number of Facebook fans

190,451

31,414

 

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