We refer to the KEV as our rolling billboard – the ultimate salesperson. No clever TV commercial, radio spot or full color double page magazine spread can compare to having this truck roll up to a group of kids on a hot summer day. Our Kona truck screams fun and excitement from the shiny chrome wheels, to the colorful characters that play on its wrap, to the tropical steel drum music that whisks you away to a place where you’re dancing on the beach. The window opens and out leans you – an energetic, exciting, hard-working, community-involved person! Does it get any better? Why yes it does! It’s then time to visit the very best feature on our KEV – our patented Flavorwave® – a row of do-it-yourself spigots that dispense our top 10 “take-all-you-want” tropical flavors.
The Kona KEV experience is our image, it is our brand and it is unforgettable. We’ve built over 300 trucks. We’ve worked with several engineers to evolve the truck we started off with into the one we have today - a custom-built, everything perfectly placed, money maker on wheels. It is equipped on the inside with a state-of-the-art ice shaver, ample freezers, and a bright, clean, efficient white fiberglass working area. The exterior couldn’t be more opposite - dressed on the outside in a wild and wonderful beach scene where penguins surf, dolphins dive and crabs and parrots build sand castles - it’s truly a colorful sight to behold! It speaks volumes about the company it represents and the products it serves: full of fresh, fun, and delicious surprises. It’s safe and clean too. Our KEV is NSF approved from bumper to bumper.
We simply tell our franchisees to “Keep it Clean. Keep it Seen.” Customers will come and they will return again and again and again. The Kona Entertainment Vehicle is just that... downright entertaining!
The most valuable resource we have is the Success Guide - a wealth of information conveniently organized in a binder. Continually expanding as the company grows and we learn more and more about what works, the Success Guide is your single best source of information on the operation of the business. It not only contains everything you’ll learn at Kona Kollege, but it is chock full of valuable resources, recipes and templates from successful franchisees who know what works.
What’s discussed in the Success Guide:
Every franchisee receives a Success Guide before they attend Kona Kollege. Not only does it contain the Kona Kollege Kurriculum, but it continues to serve as place to store and organize new ideas, resources and tools you’ll accumulate during the first year of business operations. We are very proud of this valuable proprietary information and instruct our franchisees to guard it carefully.
Included in the franchise package is an all-expense paid trip to Kona Corporate - where we take care of everything while you are here. You’ll experience three days of in-depth hands-on training on all aspects of the business. At Kona Kollege, you will learn how to:
Best of all you get to meet the Kona staﬀ personally and put a name to a face. We all have our area of expertise and you will learn how each one of us can help you NOW and down the road. Along with our expert staff, we invite some of our most successful franchisees to serve as Kollege “professors”. They love to share their success stories, calm your nerves and tell you what you can expect.
Your job is to soak up all the knowledge you can while you are here and ask each and every question that comes to your mind. Our goal is to graduate you with the confidence you need to succeed from day one and provide you with the resources (all the tools and programs created by Kona) you’ll need for the future.
Everyone wants to be a part of something bigger. Our community giveback is just that – a way to make a difference in this world.
What’s the best way to get involved in your community? By giving back! Giving back is a huge part of our business model and an essential part of being in the Kona family. Whether it is raising money for a nearby school, or stopping by a local orphanage and serving free Kona to all of the children, there are many ways to impact your local community with Kona Ice. It gives you a unique platform to reach and influence children in a positive way. And really, that’s what makes us different. That’s what separates us from everyone else.
So here’s our story. Since our inception in 2007, we’ve hit a few benchmark years in our giveback. In 2010, we hit our first one - $1 million. But we didn’t stop there - just one year later in 2011, we hit $3 million. And now, in 2013 we’ll be hitting the huge benchmark of $10 million! We’ve given back to communities all across the U.S. – to organizations, hospitals, schools, orphanages, youth sports leagues, etc. The list goes on. And what’s great about Kona Ice is that, as a whole, we’ve raised such a grand amount, but everyone is a part of that. We aren’t donating to one single organization, we’re impacting thousands upon thousands of small organizations all across the United States. Everyone is involved.
We sell shaved ice, but that is just a part of who we are. With Kona Ice, you are a part of something bigger than you. For every dollar, there is a story. We’ve told 10 million. Come be a part of that story.
News. Ideas. Discussion. All things you’ll find in our very own, personalized Kona Ice forum that brings together the minds of over hundreds of franchisees across the country.
Knowledge is power. And where does that knowledge come from in the Kona business? Well, from the franchisees themselves, of course. The knowledge that comes from the daily operations of a Kona franchise is best shared by the people operating it – you.
That is why we built the forum – because we understand how valuable that communication and information is to the success of your business. The forum is the only place where you’ll find a few hundred Kona Ice franchisees, from all over the country, discussing ideas, sharing stories and solving issues. It was built to fit our specific needs as a company and is completely interactive. And not only is it a great place to discuss your business, but it’s a great way for corporate to interact with the franchisees as well. We frequently post news and videos on our forum for our franchisees.
While you’re at Kona Kollege, we will get you all signed up for the forum so that when you get home, you can hit the ground running. Often the most questions come up when you’re just getting started and a lot of those questions can be answered on the forum. We want to give you as many resources as possible to help you run your business as efficiently as possible. You’re not in business by yourself – there are tons of people just like you who have great advice and have been where you are. The worth of being partnered up with other people is priceless - you always have access to someone who can answer your questions or help you with any Kona situation.
Education is the first step to progress. And at Kona Ice, we strive to always be moving forward in every aspect. That progress starts with you – with an idea, that sparks a discussion, that leads to a better business.
We have a complete line of secondary products to help you operate in any market or fill any booking you get. The truck is the best tool you’re going to have, but sometimes you need to fit in a smaller space or have more spigots for flavors. Well look no further, we’ve got you covered.
Honey, we shrunk the truck! We really did. Why? Well, the Kona Ice truck was so well received at schools, outdoor games and festivals that people missed the unique, fun Kona experience when activities moved indoors in the cooler months. If only we could bring the fun of the do-it-yourself Flavorwave® into the gym, the lobby, the convention center, and the cafeteria. So we put our heads together and the Mini was born.
The mini is exactly that – a pint sized version of the Kona Entertainment Vehicle. It has everything the truck has: a state-of-the-art ice shaver, 12 flavor spigots (6 on each side), a place to stack cups and store supplies, speakers to pump out our delightful steel drum music, lights to highlight our Flavorwave®, and even a sink to wash up in. It arrives in style, in a fully wrapped Mini trailer. Down the ramp it rolls and from there it can easily be pulled by its wagon-like handle into any venue. You’ll be set up to serve in a few short minutes with supplies on hand to serve a good crowd all day.
Wrapped like the truck with Kona in the driver’s seat, it’s covered with all the cool colorful Kona characters having a blast at the beach. Kids come right up to the Mini, immediately recognizing the Kona brand. They know that Flavorwave® and they want a Kona please!
Kona Ice is a huge attraction at sports stadiums, racetracks and other venues hosting big recurring events. Often generating a steady line from sun up to sun down, the Kona truck may not move for 4 straight days except to return to the commissary in the evening for supplies. “Why not have a KEV without the cab?” asked our early franchisees. That’s how the Kona Trailer came about. Our trailer is identical to the Kona truck in every way except that it is pulled by a hitch rather than an engine. Our franchisees love it. It allows them to commit to big money events on a regular basis without tying up their KEV on the weekends.
When lines are long at big events, it’s all about customer service. You already have a Flavorwave® on the side of your truck, but sometimes at these big events, you want a little something extra. It’s not necessary but it comes in handy and customers love it. The Kompanion attaches to the back of the truck, adjacent to the truck Flavorwave®, to DOUBLE the number of flavor spouts available for self-service. The Kompanion flavors feed from the same 10 flavor jugs inside the truck which makes stocking a breeze. After an event, the Kompanion can be removed in a snap and transported inside the truck or swiveled around and secured to the rear of the truck for short trips to another location.
Kona franchisees hate to turn down any event, especially ones with big steady crowds, but sometimes space is an issue. The Kona Kiosk is often the perfect solution. Designed like a pop-up camper, the kiosk can be maneuvered into the tightest spot with ease. Raise the roof and Kona Ice is in business. Plenty of room inside for two people to operate, the kiosk offers a Kona-branded solution for small fairs, conventions, and park events. It can even be rolled indoors. The kiosk comes with a free standing Flavorwave® that serves flavors from two sides for efficiency in large crowds.
Stand Alone Flavorwave® (aka The Flavor Island)
Need an extra Flavorwave® at a big event? No problem. We have just the ticket. Our portable, free standing Flavorwave® brings an extra 20 spigots of flavor to any event. Easy to disassemble and transport in a KEV or trailer, the free standing Flavorwave® is the perfect addition to any indoor or outdoor gathering. It keeps the crowds away from the KEV as lines build at larger events. The best part is that folks can walk around it and serve themselves from either side.
We have a lot of ways we market for you online – including social media, a YouTube channel filled with marketing videos and graphics galore. But below we’ve outlined the three most impactful forms of online marketing that you’ll get when you become a member of the Kona Ice family.
Drive your Kona truck, meet new people, serve happiness one cup at a time and talk to everyone! That’s your responsibility. While you’re doing that, collect all the contact information you can. Every single person you come in touch with is a customer and a great contact. You collect their info - especially their e-mail address - then relax and let Kona do the rest. Through our partnership with Constant Contact, Kona will send out professionally designed e-mail blasts on a continual basis. Our blasts will have ideas for use and great photos along with embedded videos that tell a story of how they could possibly use Kona. They are short, beautiful and completely engaging. Does it work? Ask our franchisees. They build their databases constantly and rave about the results. And best of all it is a free service to all our franchisees. Marketing has never been so easy.
With hundreds of beautiful Kona trucks rolling around everywhere, people are always looking for us online. There are tons of stories of people experiencing Kona Ice on vacation and then looking up their local Kona Ice truck when they come back home. Or people seeing us at a soccer tournament in a different town and wanting to find the Kona truck in their area. There are multiple reasons people want to find us online. So what happens when someone sees your truck and goes to our website to find you? They type in their zip code and are immediately taken to your own mini website inside kona-ice.com. It will have pictures of you, your party packages, schedules, and most importantly, an easy way to contact you to either book an event, email you or call you directly. So you get the best of both worlds – a gorgeous professional website and all your contact information at the click of a mouse.
There is power in numbers and a little from a lot can add up to a tremendous force. Our franchisees have a minimal ad fee of $250 per year. (Please compare that to any franchise in existence!) This doesn’t sound like much but multiply it by all of our franchisees and you have close to $100,000 to spend on our amazing Google AdWords Campaign - making Kona Ice hard to miss in any relevant online search. We have experts that monitor, maintain and edit the content regularly to keep our campaign fresh and amazingly effective.
We know when you look at Kona Ice one of the first questions that gets asked is, “Who is leading this company, what are their qualifications and what is their vision going forward?” To go into business with a company and person you don’t know or understand is unwise, at the very least. So who should tell you about our leader?
I’ll write this part because I am not comfortable with fluffy statements being made on my behalf by people that I’m responsible to pay. Truly what are they supposed to say? I’ll tell you the flat, honest truth. I have been married for 20 years to an amazing wife, who is an integral part of our team at Kona Corporate, and have had four hilarious kids – all involved in Kona Ice in some way. The youngest two just like to eat it and tell their friends that their dad owns the truck! And the older two have been involved, in some capacity, in the day-to-day operations. I have been blessed beyond anything I ever imagined. I have had unbelievable success in past businesses and a few ordeals I would rather not talk about. But I can honestly say I probably learned more from those few ordeals. I started Kona Ice from an interesting inspiration – a real bad ice cream truck experience. I saw a nostalgic industry that was in shambles and I thought we could do better.
I started by hiring designers and engineers and then contracted with a manufacturer to bring the first five trucks to life. My close friends thought I had lost my mind! That is, until they saw the truck! I started by driving the very truck that we build today, only the new ones are a little bit better. I did every task in the business those first few years and I loved it! It was intoxicating being so popular! Even if my fans were all just little kids. I got hooked. And it all started moving pretty fast from there.
I have taken great pride over the years in assembling the finest staff I have ever seen. I honestly think we could overthrow a third world country if we ever needed to. On top of that, I have the pleasure of working with my father everyday. His successes in the business world are legendary. He tells people he taught me everything I know but not everything he knows! So I’m still picking up pearls of wisdom regularly. I promised him if he would come out of retirement and work with me, I would let him see his grandchildren more. It worked and it has been a delight!
I am not comfortable talking about myself although I feel that is what most people want to hear. That is just not me. But what I can tell you is that I will always give my very best effort to Kona Ice. We have something very special here at Kona and it is spreading like crazy. I am not saying we will always agree, but if it is in the best interest of Kona Ice, then we will agree. Making money is the obvious necessity, but after that I am looking for people that want to serve their community, love their customers and the brand, and want to make a difference. Please look at Kona Ice thoroughly and if you think we would be good partners, then we need to talk. I truly appreciate your time and interest.
Once a year we gather to learn more, build new relationships & just have a good time. You won’t want to miss our Kona Konvention!
Once a year, for a weekend in February, we meet for our Kona Konvention at a five-star hotel in downtown Cincinnati. It includes breakout sessions throughout the weekend with panels of people from corporate as well as current franchisees. Not to mention, we have a great time and some great food along the way. You couldn’t ask for a better Konvention!
If you’re a prospective franchisee, it’s a great way to see what we’re all about here at Kona Ice. What are you waiting for? Go inquire more about us and make sure your name is on the registration for our next Kona Konvention!
How many times have you heard a kid say, “Hey mom! Got anything I can play on your phone?” Well, we’re about to add one more. The story of Kona & Gooba Jooba Island comes to life in our brand new app. Seeing the characters walk and talk and interact builds brand loyalty with our customers. Further more, we’re going to have a few games included in the app that will result in special coupons that they can redeem at your Kona truck – driving business right to you! The characters they see on the side of your truck will be characters they will know and love.
So be on the lookout! Our mobile app reaches the App Store in March 2013.
Extra! Extra! Read all about it! No, seriously…click above and read all about it! Go on now.
So you’ve got this great business – everyone loves it – but how do you get the word out about it? And the answer to that is public relations. But public relations can be very tricky because you have to know the right people to talk to, and you have to have the time to dedicate to getting the press you need. The great news is that we do that for you. We’ve partnered with a PR firm out of Chicago called All Points Public Relations to help secure you the press you need to promote your business in your town.
And on a grander scale, they’ve helped secure us some pretty big press coverage here at corporate to help perpetuate the brand and to further legitimize what we do. We’ve had articles in print publications such as Entrepreneur Magazine, Fortune Magazine and the Wall Street Journal. We’ve even had some coverage on the tube as well with a segment on Fox & Friends on Fox News and a part of a special event on CNBC about small businesses.
So, as you can see, we’ve got our finger on the pulse of media here at Kona Ice. We want people to know about our company and get involved in any way possible.
A great deal of time has been invested in researching, defining and building the Kona brand.
We have a variety of branded merchandise to help our franchisees up-sell their product and add even more fun to the Kona Experience! This means increased sales and profitability, while exploding the brand. We carry such items as t-shirts, silicone wristbands, slap bracelets, tattoos and even stadium cups. Our unique tie-dye t-shirt and customized stadium cups are instantly recognized by our customers as Kona Ice. Our mood changing cups and spoons continue to carry the Kona Ice name straight into the homes of our customers, building brand loyalty.
Kona Corporate has tremendous buying power. The size of our company allows us to buy products in bulk, passing the savings on to you – our franchisee! If you were to buy these products on your own, they would be increasingly more expensive. So the sheer size of our company is a means of support in that you’re getting quality branded products at a fraction of the cost. We are always striving for affordability for you, the franchisee. We want see you succeed and the affordable merchandise we provide is just one way in which we as a corporation can help.
We have recently partnered with a million dollar fulfillment center and national distributor specializing in logistics, value-added services and distribution. Offering a host of products and services, this partnership will facilitate Kona’s future growth.
Healthy this. Organic that. Nutrition is the buzzword these days – and for good reason! And Kona is no exception. We want Kona Ice to be nutritious too!
There is a widespread trend in our culture towards healthier foods and beverages. In fact, it’s becoming the norm. And that’s great! Who doesn’t want to be healthier? In recent years, there has been a national movement to provide more nutritious products to students during school hours to meet the regulations set forth by state and federal school lunch programs.
Kona Ice is driven by progressive thinking by providing strategic solutions for our franchisees and customers! We view these changing trends in our culture as opportunities to create new and exciting products.
People want products that offer health and wellness ingredients such as Vitamin C – a powerful antioxidant – and B-Vitamins – essential for our metabolism and energy levels. But vitamins alone aren’t fun. So why not add them to a Kona Ice? And that’s just what we’ve done. We deliver a top quality product, visually pleasing, with a richness in color and taste, all the while creating an experience that is second to none!
Partnering with one of the top five flavoring houses in the world, our NEW nutritional line was created to meet the changing needs and concerns of our customers while maintaining superior quality and taste. We have access to flavor and juice scientists who are experts in the utilization of natural and functional ingredients. With the use of flavor modifiers and enhancers, Kona Ice has created a NEW proprietary nutritional line of products that focuses on reducing calories, total carbohydrates and total sugars with the use of those natural and functional ingredients while maintaining superior taste and presentation.
Our 100% juice, vitamin fortified and isotonic sport blends speak to our innovative approach to meeting the changing needs of our customer base.
Consistency of the Kona brand is top priority at Kona. At the same time, the ability to customize the Kona truck to display personal contact info, advertise programs, promote the product and change out menus quickly is extremely important to our franchisees. That’s why we provide a website whereby our franchisees can order a wide variety of custom graphics that maintain the Kona brand.
The size of our company allows us the buying power to provide high quality custom menus, signs and decals at very reasonable rates. We can turn them around in a week or less! The efficiency of our graphics department is unmatched in the industry. We often work directly with individual franchisees to provide exactly what they envision while ensuring that the Kona brand is never compromised.
Ordering custom graphics is a breeze. Franchisees access the KEV Graphics website from the franchisee page of the Kona Ice website, login with their unique username and password and are ready to browse the many categories of products:
We partner with a printer that specializes in fulfilling orders for franchise businesses. We realize that signage is an integral part of the advertising package and we cannot risk our franchisees purchasing signs and decals from local printers. Image, quality of materials and brand identity can never be sacrificed. At the rate that Kona Ice is growing we must always be ahead of the game in providing simple, affordable signage solutions to our franchisees.
Mobile vending has really made a comeback as of late so it’s not surprising that the government has stepped up their patrol when it comes to health and safety. When someone purchases a Kona franchise, it is required that their truck pass inspections in their jurisdiction before they serve their first shaved ice. To assure easy passage through all these inspections, Kona has gone to the expense of working with the NSF engineers and inspectors and built the trucks to their specifications – making your trip through the health inspection a breeze!
We decided the very best way to ensure that our truck would be approved in all 50 states was to seek NSF approval on the entire vehicle. We applied. It was a long process but we now meet or exceed all NSF requirements. We’ve got NSF approval on the KEV from bumper to bumper!
Our KEV is equipped with the NSF approved:
Just because they didn’t get their own section doesn’t mean they’re not important. Quite the contrary – they’re essential too! Check them out here.
The world of financing in small business can be complicated, to say the least. These days, access to capital for expansion and growth can be more challenging than actually running your business. Kona has a sister company that provides all the answers for these problems. Having a lending institution that understands our business model and offers expansion assistance without the massive regulatory obstacles is something you have to experience to appreciate.
23 ½ Hour Mechanical Help Line
As with anything mechanical, it takes some figuring out. Our truck is both simple and complex when it comes to this area. Simple in that, once you figure everything out, it’s very easy to use. Complex in that, sometimes you’re not going to know all the answers. But that’s no problem, because we’ve got you covered. We have Rob Crum, head of Quality Control at our manufacturer DCI and Adam Sommers, our truck expert here at corporate, to answer any and all of the questions that you may have concerning the operations of the truck.
Once you’ve bought your truck, you’re going to have to have it inspected by your health department and other regulatory agencies to make sure you’re up to state and local codes. Lucky for you, we’ve already worked out most of the problems that cause other food vendors to get shut down at this stage of the game. We’ve passed through the health department in 41 states and some of the most stringent markets in the U.S. with flying colors. We have a department at corporate that will proactively look at codes and make the appropriate build changes before you even receive your truck. Have confidence that if it can be done we are the ones that can do it!
There is power in numbers! We have negotiated our cost down with all of our suppliers. With hundreds of franchisees purchasing cups, flavors, spoon straws, print material and merchandise, we can order things in great volume and get almost anything you need at an incredible price. We here at Kona Corporate can guarantee amazing branded material at a very low cost to you.
There is nothing like benefiting from the experience of others. The knowledge gained by building over 300 trucks and having them work in different markets and climates has given Kona Ice an amazing insight into what works and what doesn’t - not only in the mechanical build but in the business model itself. We now have hundreds of incredible franchisees that provide proprietary information on developing trends and techniques to make us all better.
Protected Intellectual Property
Kona takes the protection of our brand very seriously. We have trademarked and copyrighted multiple elements on our trucks and materials. Our Flavorwave® has been awarded a US Patent and more provisional patents are in process. We have partnered with one of the largest Intellectual Property Law firms in the country to protect our franchisees from the unscrupulous imitators.