Cold Stone Creamery's "super-premium" ice cream brand got its start in Tempe, Ariz., more than two decades ago. Known for its made-to-order treats with toppings folded into the ice cream on a frozen granite slab, Cold Stone Creamery currently has more than 1,400 locations. Kahala Corp., the parent company of Blimpie and other fast-food franchises, acquired Cold Stone in 2007.
The product is sweet, but the financials can be bitter. In the last 10 years almost one in three SBA-backed franchisees defaulted on their loan. It's an expensive shop to start, too: the initial franchise fee is $42,000. A 2008 Wall Street Journal article spotlighted the company's franchise troubles, including high operating costs and overambitious expansion.