There’s a New Treat in Town!
Hang Pham, from Llao Llao Natural Frozen Yogurt, is half of the powerhouse business couple bringing this sweet treat to Houston. With her husband, Halim Elsaadi, they recently opened the very first Texas Llao Llao store in the Galleria mall.
Llao Llao (pronounced yao-yao) was originally started by a family in Spain as a way to share high quality, natural frozen yogurt. There are so many health benefits to this yogurt and it tastes incredibly fresh, tangy and delicious! They pair their frozen yogurt with various toppings like fresh fruit, crunchy tidbits and decadent-tasting sauces. My favorites are the chocolate sauce or the chocolate hazelnut sauce… so good!
I was fortunate to sit down with Hang to discuss her journey from starting this side hustle to making it an international gem. I learned so much about their amazing frozen yogurt, as well as her advice for starting a business and how they are challenging the status quo around frozen yogurt.
An International Favorite
While living abroad, Hang and Halim started seeing the amazing popularity of frozen yogurt. Despite the numerous frozen yogurt companies, the stand out by far, was Llao Llao. The health benefits of this natural frozen yogurt really appealed to Hang. It is made from fresh skim milk, so it is high in calcium, while also being lower in fat and sugar. This was of particular importance to their families, who were borderline with health issues, like diabetes. The yogurt is also gluten free and contains probiotics to help with gut health.
The frozen yogurt, or yogurt ice cream as it is sometimes called overseas, is incredibly creamy, yet somehow light and refreshing. It is not cloyingly sweet, crystallized or watery. Just a smooth, creamy texture, with a slight tang to offset its subtle sweetness.
In addition to its great flavor and texture, there are many topping choices! There are all kinds of fresh fruit, from strawberries, to mangos and even kiwi fruit. There are also crunchy toppings, like muesli or cookie crumbles. To top it all off, you can pick one of many sauces. You could add a drizzle of dark chocolate, white chocolate or even passionfruit to your yogurt.
It was immediately apparent that the draw of Llao Llao was the return to simplicity. Instead of the typical Americanized version of frozen yogurt, that is loaded with preservatives and topped with gummy worms or highlighter colored sprinkles, Llao Llao showed how a simple, delicious product could be the star, with toppings used as an accent to emphasize the yogurt. It is also a healthier alternative that did not skimp on flavor.
Hang started inquiring about starting a franchise, which required several discussions and follow ups. The lesson she learned during this process was persistence. She continued to create opportunities to discuss her business idea. She communicated her requests to move the process forward, despite the varying work schedules of international companies. After several months, they were given the green light to open the first Texas store.
To prepare for the opening of the store, the Llao Llao store front was delivered from overseas and set up at the Galleria mall. All the ingredients were ensured to have extremely high quality to meet the exceptional standards set forth by Llao Llao headquarters. It was finally time to open Llao Llao Houston!
A Hometown Delight
Opening Llao Llao has been an incredible period of growth for Hang and Halim. They are reaching out to more and more people everyday to try free samples of their amazing frozen yogurt, because they know, once you try it, you will be hooked! Hang told me about a man that would religiously frequent another frozen yogurt store. But once he tried Llao Llao, he was converted! Now he is a regular, loyal customer.
Llao Llao is creating a new frozen yogurt experience. It’s all about getting back to simplicity and letting the amazing frozen yogurt speak for itself. Most typical frozen yogurt stores will have 6 ft of counter space dedicated to toppings like cheesecake bites, multi-colored gummies and candy. With Llao Llao, the focus is on simple, delicious ingredients. You don’t need to have a thousand choices of toppings to mask the flavor of the frozen yogurt. Llao Llao lets the flavor of the yogurt shine through, with toppings as the proverbial, and literal, cherry on top.
Changing the Game
Llao Llao is changing the game when it comes to frozen yogurt. I really appreciate the idea of getting back to the basics of yogurt and allowing the simplicity and quality of the ingredients to shine through. I think that sometimes people focus too much on the quantity of something, like having as many toppings as possible as a way to get more value for money. But we should really be focusing on quality. I like to know that the food I am eating is of a high quality, made with exceptional ingredients. I want to know that real thought is put into the products to ensure that food companies are thinking about the well-being of their customers, and not just sales.
Making a healthier choice is always easy when you love the taste of the food! Llao Llao is so refreshing and decadent tasting. I love the light and creamy texture of the frozen yogurt. Plus I know that I am choosing a healthier alternative than some of the other frozen yogurt stores out there.
So go ahead and give Llao Llao a try! Head over to Llao Llao at the Galleria mall, next to Starbucks and follow them @llaollao_houston. And stay tuned to my Instagram, @nourish_with_renata, for some giveaways so you can try Llao Llao today!