Baskin Robbins is a name that most people recognize immediately. It's one of the most highly favored ice cream providers in the nation. While most people have not memorized the name of every flavor they offer on their menus, they certainly have no trouble remembering their favorites. We looked into this fascinating frozen confection phenomenon to find out what we could learn about them and we discovered some surprising and some fun facts that we were not aware of, so here are 20 things that you didn't know about Baskin Robbins.
1. The business is named after the guys who started it
We're going to start off our list with a fun and interesting fact about Baskin Robbins. The name comes from Ivy Robbins who was raised with ice cream all around him, thanks to his dad's involvement in the business. Burt Baskin is his brother in law who also had his own ice cream chain. Robbins had also opened an ice cream chain, following in his father's footsteps. The two in-laws got together and combined their businesses and the resulting ice cream chain became Baskin Robbins.
2. The way they chose the name is really funny
Before the two guys made the name of their newly merged business official, they had to decide whether it would be called Robbins Baskin or Baskin Robbins. At first it seemed to be quite the dilemma until they came up with a fair and equitable solution to the problem. They decided that they'd flip a coin to figure out who's name would go first. As it turned out, Baskin was the winner of the coin toss and as a result he earned the privilege of having his name placed first on the official title of the company.
3. Thirty one is close but there are actually more flavors
Baskin Robbins uses the number 31 to suggest that this is how many flavors of ice cream that they offer on their menus. We'll have to counter this and say that they do offer a minimum of 31 flavors of ice cream at any one time, but it's usually more than that. Throughout their history, Baskin Robbins has actually offered over 1,000 different flavors of ice cream, just not all at the same time.
4. They invented the first pralines and cream flavor
Pralines and Cream is a common ice cream flavor currently, but it hadn't been done by another commercial ice cream chain until these guys came up with it. We discovered this fun fact about Baskin Robbins when were were doing our research. Here's the story about how it happened. Irv and Irma Robbins thew some pralines that they had into a bowl of vanilla ice cream and they tried it out with a drizzle of caramel on the top. The flavor was so appealing that they knew that they had a winning combination that others were sure to love. This is how the first pralines and cream ice cream flavor was created.
5. They sued a rival over the pralines and cream flavor
We just learned that Baskin Robbins felt very protective over their pralines and cream recipe. When they learned that Haagen Dazs came up with their own version of the flavor, they sued them in 1985. They claimed that they had released their own version of the recipe that had been patented and Haagen Dazs was selling it for a profit. You don't mess with a Baskin Robbins original recipe. Haagen Dazs learned about that the hard way.
6. Not all of their flavors were sold in stores
There are a lot of different flavors that Baskin Robbins created that you'll probably never hear about. You've got to figure that with more than a thousand creations, not all of them were hits. We learned a few little known facts about their creative side. While they've come up with a lot of decidedly winning flavors, some of them were just plain odd and they didn't even make it past the cutting room floor. A few examples of this include the Lox and Bagels ice cream, the Grape Britain ice cream and the ketchup ice cream.
7. They made a celebratory flavor in 1976
The year that marked the bicentennial of America was a very special year for all of the citizens of our nation. Baskin Robbins honored the occasion by creating a special flavor just to mark the occasion. The name of the ice cream flavor was Valley Forge Fudge. Here's a fun fact about the major contributor to the design of the flavor. It was none other than President Gerald Ford.
8. Most of Baskin Robbins players are kosher
Here's another fun fact about Baskin Robbins ice cream. All but two of the flavors that they sell are not kosher. These are rocky road and pink bubble gum. WE're not quite certain what makes them un-kosher but we suspect that it's gelatin. Of course Baskin Robbins isn't about to discuss a single ingredient that is in any of their treats.
9. Baskin Robbins was the first to go public with ice cream cakes
All this time, we believed that Dairy Queen was the first to offer the delicious ice cream cake confection, but we were wrong. Baskin Robbins actually was the first to make an ice cream cake and sell it through their business. The rest of them all came afterwards. They sold their first ice cream cake in the 1970s. They were followed by Dairy Queen, Friendly's, Carvel and Cold Stone Creamery.
10. The tiny pink spoons made a big impact on business
Who could have ever imagined that the little pink spoons would become so iconic through the decades that they were used. The famous 31 flavors that Baskin Robbins proudly advertised promised that there were new taste experiences awaiting the masses. Those who felt more adventurous would place an order for a flavor that they had not yet experienced, but there were those who preferred to sample before they made the decision to place an order for a new flavor. The little pink spoon ended up becoming a selling point because it was responsible for turning a lot of Baskin Robbins on to their new favorite flavors that they had not been brave enough to try without first sampling.
11. The original model for the company is still being used
Most companies make a few changes to their original business model to keep up with changing times, but Baskin Robbins has had no good reason to change. They began their venture as two brothers in law who bought one another's franchises because each owned their ice cream chains. They merged them together in this fashion all the way back in 1953. Today, the same business model is still in use. Almost one hundred percent of the Baskin and Robbins stores are franchise owned locations. It's a model that has worked from the very beginning and it continues to serve the business well.
12. The business has gone international
Baskin and Robbins was such a huge success in the United States of America that they expanded beyond the borders of their home country. They became an international sensation as well as in the US. The intense love that people have for ice cream isn't just an American thing it is a universal.
13. There are some funky flavors in international locations
If you visit a Baskin Robbins ice cream store in any international location, the odds are strongly in favor of finding some very different flavors than what you're used to in the United States. For example, green tea ice cream and red bean ice cream flavors in some of the Asian markets. The green tea is actually quite exquisite.
14. Baskin Robbins didn't sell in retail stores until 2014
We take for granted that we can pick up a tub of Baskin and Robbins ice cream at the local supermarket, but this has only been the case for about five years. Up until 2014, it was only sold at a Baskin Robbins ice cream location at one of it chain stores. Now you can pick up a carton of Jamoca almond fudge, cookies n' cream, or chocolate chip cookie dough to take home and keep in your freezer.
15. Baskin and Robbins has expanded recently
The company has had its share of ups and downs throughout the decades since it first opened its doors as a newly merged ice cream shop, but it's grown by leaps and bounds. Within the United States there are around 2,500 locations. While this is impressive, it's not nearly as many as there are throughout the entire world. It is estimated that counting the locations in America and other parts of the world, there are 7,300 locations scattered throughout the world. We think that this is truly impressive.
16. The notion of offering 31 flavors was revolutionary
When you go to a fast food chain they usually offer ice cream cones on the dessert menu. Even most ice cream shops are limited in the number of flavors that are offered. The average fast food place will offer vanilla cones and sometimes chocolate or chocolate swirl and even more rarely some will offer strawberry, but you generally only find between one to three flavors to choose from. This is why when Baskin Robbins introduced their menu of 31 different flavors of ice cream it was nothing short of revolutionary. When they first started the business in the early 1950s, this was absolutely unheard of and the two brothers in law had broken some serious ground in the industry and you could even call them a type of pioneers when it comes to the diversification of ice cream flavor choices. The chain even offers a flavor of the day or flavor of the month and they still introduce new flavors.
17. An advertising agency recommended the number 31
There really is something that seems magical and attractive about the number 31. It was first suggested to the owners of the ice cream chain by the advertising agency they hired to handle promotion of their new chain. Carson-Roberts are the professional marketers who are responsible for coming up with the number 31 as well as the famous polka dot that gave the company a circus like theme. They certainly knew what they were doing because as early as 1970, Baskin Robbins opened up its first of its international locations and the number of these has surpassed the number of locations in the United States.
18. Baskin Robbins is a part of Dunkin' Brands
Dunkin' Brands is the parent company that owns Dunkin' Donuts. Throughout the years there has been a series of mergers and changes that required Baskin Robbins to change hands. They currently are a part of the Dunkin Brands Holdings portfolio of subsidiary companies, although nothing has changed about the way that business is conducted.
19. They introduced a healthier option
Baskin Robbins does the best that they can to keep up with consumer demands and popular trends without compromising the integrity of their products. They launched a new menu in 2008 which they called the Bright Choices menu. The ice cream flavors listed on this menu were different than their standard menu items. The healthier choices contained no artificial ingredients and had the trans fats removed. This was done in a bid to keep up with their biggest competition which were the plethora of frozen yogurt shops that were popping up left and right.
20. Baskin and Robbins have broken a lot of Guinness World Records
Here's an interesting and fun fact that we learned about Baskin and Robbins. Their unique and innovative approach to diversifying the flavors of ice cream for their customer has resulted in a lot of new world records being set. The staff is also impressive and one of the New York franchisee set a Guinness world record by becoming the fastest ice cream scooper in the world. He scooped out a total of 19 scoops in just one minute and a total of 3,100 scoops to build the largest pyramid composed strictly of ice cream scoops.
Written by Dana Hanson
Read more posts by Dana Hanson