Index of Ice Cream Products

Ice Cream




The B-R store in Mexico City.



.....Baskin - Robbins...Ice...Cream.....

This store was opened in 1987 in Bayonne, New Jersey.


Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream Company Inc

On 31 December 1973 J. Lyons (US Holdings) Inc, a wholly owned subsidiary of J. Lyons & Co, acquired over 2 million shares of the Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream Company from United Brands Limited. The provisional consideration was US$37,578,125. Of this $7,284,374 was paid on 31 December 1973 and the remainder by three promissory notes each for $10,097,917, maturing on 30 December 74, 30 December 75 and 30 December 76. The shares acquired represented 82.68% of Baskin-Robbins stock.

Ice cream parlors had been a popular concept in the United States for many years but no one had come up with the idea of premium quality with delicious and exotic flavours. Irvine Robbins, a former US Army staff-sergeant and son of a dairy owner from Tacoma, Washington, addressed these issues and opened his first store in December 1945 which he called Snowbird Ice Cream. It embodied all his ideas of quality and service and his ice cream appeared in 21 flavours, many of which had never been tasted before. In 1946 Robbins went into partnership with Burton Baskin, the two sharing their enthusiasm for quality ice cream in a wide range of flavours. Following their partnership they opened a second store in Pasadena, California, which they called Burton's Ice Cream. The stores offered special seating and customers were offered complimentary taste spoons to sample the many flavours.

By 1948 six stores had been opened, all supplied with ice cream made to a rigid, standard specification. However, they realized that if more stores were opened they could not maintain personal control themselves and so they licensed operations to individuals who would manage the stores to the same high standard, a procedure known as franchising. As they opened more stores the company name was changed to Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream. The number of ice cream flavours was increased to 31, one for each day of the month.

In 1949 with 43 stores in operation the new company bought its first production plant in Burbank, California. By the 1960s Baskin-Robbins started to open stores right across the United States and the big 31, the prominent symbol on all their stores, was well on its way to becoming a national trademark. In August 1971 the first Canadian Baskin-Robbins store was opened in Toronto. This move was made possible by the selection of Silverwood Industries Inc., a highly respected company which served as Canadian Franchisor. In late 1973 a new company, Baskin-Robbins Japan Co Ltd was formed and the process of opening ice cream stores in Tokyo and Osaka commenced.

By the end if 1973 Baskin-Robbins owned three main plants at Burbank (California), Southbury (Connecticut) and Bryan (Texas). Additionally, Baskin-Robbins increasingly contracted other ice cream manufacturers across America to make their ice cream under license and by 1974 these numbered eleven. By this time, the Baskin-Robbins manufacturing plants and the licensed manufacturers were supplying 17 million gallons of ice cream per year to 1,300 stores in the US. Some accounts record that over the period 1948-1973 Baskin-Robbins had developed 401 different flavours as well as cream desserts and fountain items. In July 1974 they acquired the Ideal Pure Milk Company.

The ice cream market in the United States is more developed than anywhere else in the world. The British climate probably limits the sale of ice cream to the warm summer months only. Unlike the UK, where ice cream is packaged to attract consumer types, the Baskin-Robbins ice cream is served in cornets, tubs and take-home packaging direct from containers in large display freezers. Their stores also have a seating area for customers and high emphasis is placed on service, hygiene and attractiveness. The staff all wear a standard uniform and look the part.

By 1990 the company had 2,400 stores of which 2,000 were supplied with their ice cream direct by Baskin-Robbins and the remainder by territorial franchise partners. Seventy of the stores were company owned and operated, all others are were franchised. Outside the United States the Company has approximately 1,000 stores in 43 countries. This makes Baskin-Robbins the fourth largest international franchise operation in the world. Sales are $300 million per annum and total retail system sales are $860 million. In the same year Baskin-Robbins started to develop a network of 70 ice cream stores throughout Mexico. This process started with two stores in Mexico City and Monterey in October 1990. A further six stores were due to open before the end of 1990.

In March 1991, Baskin-Robbins Inc. acquired Gelato Classico, a parent company of Caffe Classico which ran a chain of 31 franchised cafes serving gourmet coffees, Italian pastries, salads, soups, sandwiches and ice cream. Based in San Francisco, it was renames Caffe Classico Inc. and operated as a stand-alone, wholly owned subsidiary of Baskin-Robbins. Kenneth P Henderson was appointed President of Caffe Classico Inc. who reported directly to William I Savel, President and Chief Executive Officer of Baskin-Robbins Inc.

In January 1990, J. Lyons & Co purchased the US Dunkin' Donut business and one year later experimented by opening a joint Baskin-Robbins/Dunkin' Donut store in New Castle, Delaware. The two products lines are natural partners particularly as together they have the potential of attracting customers throughout the day into the stores. As hot and cold lines the two also complement each other seasonally.

The Baskin-Robbins business was formally merged with Dunkin' Donuts (the American Donut business which Lyons owned) after Allied Domecq plc had been sold to Pernod Ricard of France. The new businesses became known as Dunkin' Brands Inc and in 2006, Dunkin' Brands Inc was sold to the venture capitalists: Bain Capital LLC, The Carlyle Group and Thomas H. Lee Parteners LP.

(Please note: Flavour has been spelled in the anglicised style)

© Peter Bird 2003

A picture of Baskin-Robbins' Bob Okoski in the new flavour room at the company's ice cream factory at Southbury, Connecticut. After a $5 million modernisation programme Southbury was B-R's most advanced production facility.