Leading The Dessert Charge For #NYCFoodCulture

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As much value as big restaurant chains bring to the world, nothing beats the local hole-in-the-wall or independently owned spots. Jamba Juice and Pinkberry are the first brands that come to mind when you think of smoothies or frozen yogurt, but 16 Handles is putting the New York City food scene on notice while quietly turning into a dessert powerhouse.

16 Handles is all about freshness, innovation and embracing your inner flavor. Many people might think they love fro-yo, but they treat frozen yogurt like it’s simply a low-calorie ice cream alternative that acts as a vehicle to cram M&M’s, pretzels, Gummi Bears and Oreos into their faces. At 16 Handles, you get the best of each world - homemade, creamy frozen yogurt in dozens of unique flavors topped with anything and everything you can think of.

Of course, load up on all the pretzels and Oreos you like, but 16 Handles truly offers no limits in the topping department. You don’t have to stick to basic candy when you can pile on warm apple pie, peanut butter brownie bites, caramel turtles, beignets, raspberry sauce and an array of cereals that would make your inner 10-year-old lose their mind.

Ten years ago, 16 Handles opened its first fro-yo shop in Manhattan’s East Village and introduced the greatest city in the world to self-serve frozen yogurt for the first time. A decade later, 16 Handles now has locations all over the East Coast and Food Tribe is honored to spread the good word to fellow tribe members on the West Coast and around the world.

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Not only has 16 Handles led the charge in the dessert shop industry, but they have been at the forefront of restaurant marketing in general with their innovative social media initiatives. They were way early on the Snapchat train, beginning to spread their content on the platform way back in 2013 when most people still didn’t know what to do on the app. The company has shaped its brand to embrace its target audience and build quite the following in a short amount of time, garnering 52,000 Facebook followers, 22,000 followers on Instagram and 12,000 on Twitter.

A lot can be learned from their branding strategy as an up-and-comer in the food industry. Whether you are a foodie or a restaurant owner, a few things jump off the page within seconds of being on their social media pages:

- Consistency

- Brand-specific colors

- Promotional offers

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Your profiles need to reflect these things within seconds of a user landing on your page, and 16 Handles does a fantastic job of it. Their brand colors reflect those you’d like to see in a fun frozen yogurt shop, since the menu items are equally as colorful!

They even have their own app which gives users free goodies.

We’re excited to see what’s next for 16 Handles, a brand with such a bright future that has already accomplished so much. Make sure to stop in next time you’re within shouting distance of one and after you finish your bucket of fro-yo, maybe do a little convincing to get them out to the West Coast. It’s hot out here and we could use some dessert ;)

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Food Tribe loves telling stories of the restaurants and food brands our food focused readers love hearing about. Someone we should cover? Let us know!

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Terence Latimer