By ASIF LAKHANI
Tasti D-Lite, a soft serve dairy-based frozen dessert chain, will open the first of 60 Missouri locations in Columbia in mid-December. The low calorie, low carb and low cholesterol dessert is neither yogurt nor ice cream, though its texture is similar. To be ice cream, it would have to have at least 10 percent butterfat.
“(It’s) low in all that’s bad for you and high in all that’s good for you,” said Jim Amos, the company’s CEO and a MU alum. D-Lite’s proprietary formula and delivery system for texture cannot be duplicated by anyone else, Amos said.
The opening was originally slated for October, but issues with build outs and leasehold improvements arose causing a delay in the opening schedule, Amos said. Those problems have been resolved and the store is set to open at 1201 Grindstone Parkway within a few weeks.
In addition to the being first Missouri franchise, the Columbia location will also be the chain’s first store with a drive-through window.
“The due diligence behind the research of drive-through justified the decision to have a window at this store,” Amos said. He added that 40 to 60 percent of business in Quick Service Restaurants is done through drive-thrus.
A Columbia couple, Todd and Carissa Neimeyer, will operate the franchise.
“(The) combination of the right location and the right people made it the right decision for me,” Amos said about choosing to open a store in Columbia. “(I’m) happy to have another reason to come back to the town I graduated from,” Amos said.
And he’ll be back often. Twenty of the 60 Tasti D-Lite stores slated for Missouri will open in the greater St. Louis area, while 20 more are slated for Kansas City. Springfield will see anywhere from seven to 10 stores, and other smaller Missouri markets will also be the recipients of Tasti franchises.