Nearly three-quarters of a century ago, two brothers-in-law
shared a dream to create an innovative ice cream store that would be a
neighborhood gathering place for families. Burton “Burt” Baskin and
Irvine “Irv” Robbins had a mutual love of old-fashioned ice cream and
the desire to provide customers a variety of flavors made with ingredients of
the highest quality in a fun, inviting atmosphere.
As a teen, Irv worked in his father’s ice cream store.
During World War II, Burt was a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy and produced ice
cream for his fellow troops. When the war was over, the two entrepreneurs were
eager to capitalize on America’s love of ice cream.
They started out in separate ventures at the advice of Irv’s
father. In 1945, Irv opened Snowbird Ice Cream in Glendale, California. His
store featured 21 flavors and emphasized high-quality ice cream sold in a fun,
personalized atmosphere. A year later, Burt opened Burton’s Ice Cream Shop in
Pasadena, CA. By 1948, they had six stores between them. This concept
eventually grew into Baskin-Robbins.
As the number of stores grew, Burt and Irv recognized that
to maintain the high standards they set in the beginning, each store would
require a manager who had an ownership interest in its overall operation. Even
though they didn’t realize it at the time, the two founders had pioneered the
concept of franchising in the ice cream industry.
In 1949, there were more than 40 stores in Southern
California when Burt and Irv purchased their first dairy in Burbank. This
business decision allowed them to have complete control over the production of
their ice cream, and the development of new ingredients and flavors.
The franchise model created by Burt and Irv decades ago is
still used by Baskin-Robbins today. We are 100% franchised, with each owner
holding a stake in the business’ success, while product development and
merchandising are handled at Baskin-Robbins headquarters. This hands-on, small
business approach allows franchisees the ability to create a strong presence in
local communities all over the world. Through this franchise business model, we
continue to provide innovative, high-quality ice cream treats to more than 150
million customers worldwide. And as a result, Baskin-Robbins has grown to
become the world’s largest chain of ice cream specialty stores, with more than
2,800 locations throughout the United States and 5,800 around the globe.
The company is known for its “31 flavors” slogan, with the idea that a customer could have a different flavor every day of any month.