Beginning as a hobby, thirty years down the line Miceál O’Hurley and his wife Oksana opened the doors to Fantastic Flavours Ice Cream Parlour in 2013. Situated in the picturesque historic, seaside town of Youghal, County Cork in Ireland, Fantastic Flavours caters to families and people who prefer artisan quality ice cream, made by-hand, fresh daily, using locally sourced ingredients wherever possible. We profiled the firm and spoke to Miceál and Oksana who kindly gave us a glimpse into the delicious service found at Fantastic Flavours Ice Cream Parlour.
In 2013, amidst the crash of the Celtic Tiger economy, the dynamic-duo opened the doors to Fantastic Flavours Ice Cream Parlour. Built upon Miceál’s thirty-year old hobby of making ice cream, along with Oksana’s significant experience with a Fortune 500 company in customer service, the two quickly established a world-wide reputation for quality and service.
Although founded in Ireland, Miceál, an Irish-American, is a decorated American veteran, and a Life Member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars who spent several years working on Capital Hill and in public service. His Ukrainian-born wife, Oksana, who has a background with a Fortune 500 company, was recognised by the United States Congress and presented with a Proclamation celebrating her humanitarian, business leadership and philanthropic work. Together, they have taken American-style, artisanal ice cream to Ireland and have conquered the market by storm. Along the way, Miceál and Oksana earned an impressive number of awards, stellar reviews from food critics and have been ranked No. 1 by customers on social networking sites. Now, they are returning home to spread the brand with like-minded American entrepreneurs who share the American dream of owning their own business.
Fantastic Flavours Ice Cream Parlour uses locally sourced ingredients wherever they possible can. With attention to today’s trend of consumers demanding better quality, fresh ingredients and quality, their luxurious café has a robust and loyal local clientele who visit the award-winning establishment frequently, and tourists who flock from miles away, to taste their award-winning ice cream with ‘More than 42 Flavours’ of handmade ice cream on rotation, daily.
Responding to their success and market demand, the two are now offering franchises – with a difference. They understand the difficulties in starting a business, and the desire to do more than simply serve mass-produced products under a franchise agreement. Following the market-crash, Miceál and Oksana had only 500 Euros to start out. By reinvesting in their business daily, meticulously documenting what worked and what didn’t, and using the success and skills earned in their previous careers in business and politics, their hard work and commitment to quality and service quickly paid off. Fantastic Flavours has earned many food and customer service awards, have gained the admiration of a numerous food critics and consumers have consistently agreed, placing Fantastic Flavours at the very top of the country’s social media reviews. With several national and international food awards under their belt, the pair realised that they had everything in place to create and support what could potentially be a highly successful franchise business.
Many people who want to own a small business have a passion for food, however they may not have strong backgrounds in customer service, or business, administration, financing, advertising, regulatory compliance and all of the other elements that are required to be successful in business. As such, Fantastic Flavours franchises will offer entrepreneurs who have a passion for either food and/or service an affordable opportunity to own their own and operate their own business, without having to waste money on the mistakes that doom most start-ups and build upon the brand success that Fantastic Flavours has already achieved. Opening a new business that can already boast years of awards for quality and service and a reputation for superior artisan ice cream, along with the dedicated support of a couple who built their business from the ground-up, is an opportunity many want to embrace.
When looking to expand the well-established business, both Miceál and Oksana want their franchises to blend the ethos of the ‘mom & pop’ shops of yesteryear, with modern business practices to meet the growing demand for consumer’s preference for artisan quality food and first-rate service, as Miceál explains. It’s not surprising that they just received the 2019 M&A Award for ‘Best New Franchise of the Year – European Union’.
“Franchising was something that we went about with focus and determination. With the assistance of experts in franchising with over 30 years in the field, we spent three-years ensuring our systems, protocols, training techniques and methods would help ensure the success of our franchise partners. Having decided to offer our franchises in areas that were underserved by locally made, luxury ice cream, and making our Fantastic Flavours franchises affordable, all while safeguarding our brand, we have laid the foundation for successful franchise businesses to thrive.”
There are many qualities which link both Fantastic Flavours Ice Cream Parlour and the franchises – which is to create and serve handmade, artisan ice cream alongside excellent customer service in a unique and enjoyable setting. Oksana believes that by ‘sticking to the basics, such as focusing on food and service, success will surely follow.’
As for what the future holds, Miceál and Oksana have both identified one of the key benefits of owning their own business, which is to manage one’s time to fit personal goals. With two-year old daughter, Bláithnaid and the latest edition to the family, a son, Lorcán, the couple will continue to ensure that they create time to be with their family, whilst continuing to build upon what has become a world-renown brand, Miceál concludes.
“Whatever happens in the future, at Fantastic Flavours we will always maintain the traditions and embrace high-standards, all while pioneering the ever-expanding offering of flavours that have made our Ice Cream Parlour a destination of choice for locals and tourists alike. While known for our handmade, artisan ice cream, our menu of sandwiches, pizza, crepes, desserts and gourmet coffee give customers reasons to visit us and return, often. By ensuring our franchisees are successful, we know they will in-turn make our customers happy. Old fashioned values like excellent products, great service and staying customer focused is the core of our business, which is booming to this very day!”
Most of all, as the dynamic duo’s franchisees will undoubtedly be like their second-families, the pair seem destined to focus on helping another generation of small business owners to realise their dreams and supporting them on their own personal journey to success.
Company: Fantastic Flavours Ice Cream Parlour
Address:74 North Main Street, Youghal, Co. Cork Republic of Ireland
Telephone: 353 (0) 86 107 0017