Tasti D-Lite is on the move!

Since the late ’80s, New York City has had a secret: a sweet, creamy, frozen dairy dessert that won’t mess up a model’s diet, or anyone else’s for that matter.

The secret has gotten out, however, as Tasti D-Lite stores have opened in places as close to the Big Apple as New Jersey and Connecticut, and as far away as Texas, California, and Arizona. And international dessert lovers are trying Tasti D-Lite these days, too, as the concept has spread to Mexico and Dubai.

“Our goal is to open 50 more domestically and 14 internationally in 2011,” says Tasti D-Lite CEO Jim Amos. “But we think we will do even better than that.”

Tasti D-Lite was founded in 1987 in the kitchen of a New York City woman working with her food technologist father. Her goal was to create a delicious but guilt-free frozen dessert.

Sold by independent licensee wholesalers for years throughout New York, Tasti D-Lite grew in popularity. In February 2007, a New York–based private equity firm, SPG Partners LLC, acquired the company and Amos, one of the firm’s operating partners, was named CEO. The company began awarding franchises in early 2008.

Amos, who grew Mail Boxes Etc. to more than 4,000 units before selling it to UPS in 2001, already had experience in frozen desserts. He was the former CEO of Brice Foods, whose I Can’t Believe It’s Yogurt! brand grew to more than 1,300 domestic and international locations during his tenure before being sold to Yogen Früz in 1996.

“The core product of Tasti D-Lite is what separates us from everyone else out there in the $22 billion frozen dessert industry,” Amos says. “The product itself tastes great and it grew for 20 years in the toughest retail market in the world. It’s lower in calories, lower in sugar and carbs, and higher in protein. It’s made from natural ingredients and has no artificial ingredients. It’s got mouthfeel, taste, and creaminess.”

Amos, who operates the New York–born Tasti D-Lite company from Nashville, says what SPG purchased was the proprietary formula for Tasti D-Lite.

“We added everything else,” Amos says. “We created the franchise program and the operating manuals. We looked at everything from the logo to the store footprint. We did focus groups all over the U.S. and then began targeting cities where we wanted to grow.”

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