Fosters Freeze

"Foster Freeze" redirects here. For the businessman and Christian activist, see Foster Friess.
Fosters Freeze
Industry Fast food
Founded Inglewood, California, United States (November 18, 1946 (November 18, 1946))[1]
Founder George Foster
Headquarters Rancho Cucamonga, California, United States
Number of locations
88 (2015) [2]
Area served
Key people
Randy Fritchie (CEO) [3]
Products Soft serve, hamburgers, chicken
Parent Fosters Freeze LLC

Fosters Freeze (full name Fosters Old Fashion Freeze) is a chain of fast-food restaurants in California. It was founded by George Foster in 1946 on La Brea Avenue in Inglewood, California, a location that still remains.

The Fosters Freeze name comes from the fact that it is best known for its soft-serve ice milk and milkshakes, which is reflected in the marketing slogan, "California's Original Soft Serve." Its mascot is an ice cream cone wearing a chef's hat.

At franchise locations, the company also offers a variety of foods, including hamburgers, chicken strips, and fish.

The restaurant's slogan was "Everything at Foster's is wonderful to eat".


George Foster owned the western development rights for Dairy Queen. The name Dairy Queen was already being used in California so Dairy Queen was called Foster's Old Fashion Freeze in California.

That didn't stop him from introducing soft serve ice milk products to Californians. He built over three hundred franchised retail outlets which marketed ice milk soft serve products and other refreshments. He then sold the Fosters Freeze franchise to Meyenberg Milk Products. Meyenberg produced large amounts of evaporated and sweetened condensed milk for domestic and foreign Federal relief programs, as well as for industrial food production uses. The acquisition of the Fosters Freeze product name was a good fit for Meyenberg. During the summer months when milk production increased, the company processed and sold its excess milk in the form of Fosters Freeze ice milk products to its franchisees.[4]

Meyenberg became a very profitable company because of its government contracts. But, its Fosters Freeze franchised stores were falling behind the new fast food trend of offering hamburgers and other hot foods. The company helped its franchisees update and remodel their stores so they could include hamburgers,french fries and Mexican food on their menus. The move made the old stores very profitable. But it didn't provide Meyenberg with any increased franchise royalties for the sale of these hot foods, even though they were marketed under the Fosters Freeze name.

A Fosters Freeze restaurant in Lompoc, California.

In the early 1970s, Meyenberg was acquired by Vornado, an east coast retailer which had operated under the trade name of Two Guys. Vornado was only interested in the milk producer's strong cash flow position. Several years after the expiration of its government contracts, Meyenberg Milk Products was sold to Bob Sardella of Sacramento in the 1976 a restaurant real-estate site developer of over 400 locations for Sambo's, KFC, Burger King and ARCO. Sardella soon sold Meyenburg Milk and the Yellville AR Milk plant and closed the Milk plant/Dairy in Ripon, CA and meat packing plant in Compton, CA to cut losses so he could focus on rebuilding the Fosters Freeze brand. Sardella encountered franchisee resistance as he attempted to update and create more uniformity in the outdated franchise agreement. His son & grandson have continued to own and operate one of the chains most successful stores in Auburn, CA. (30+ years). Sardella ended up selling the franchise rights to his President of the company Bill Wagner of Santa Barbara, a retired executive of Sambo's, a West Coast restaurant chain. Wagner wasn't able to expand the chain and sold the franchise to Bill Boudier,a Northern California franchisee with stores throughout the Sacramento area, Kerry Mulligan and their silent partners.

Boudier parted ways with Mulligan in March 1999 after Mulligan insisted that the company's emphasis should be on franchise expansion in Hawaii,the Middle Eastern countries such as Oman and Qatar,as well as in California. Boudier's success in refurbishing older existing stores and dramatically increasing their profitability led him to conclude that the company should direct its efforts to purchasing and updating the remaining 250 stores in the old franchise system, and then re-franchising them under a modern revenue generating franchise agreement.[5]

After 65 years in the business, Fosters Freeze has 88 locations in California as of 2015.[2]

El Pollo Loco enacted a master franchise contract with Fosters Freeze in 1994.[6] Mark Hardinson, the director of marketing for the grilled-chicken chain, stated that sales increased from three percent to six percent at El Pollo Loco's co-branded locations that served Fosters Freeze's soft-serve desserts.[6] There are 92 Fosters Freeze branches, not including the 163 El Pollo Loco restaurants that serve Fosters Freeze products. Over half of El Pollo Loco's serve Fosters Freeze products.[6] The corporate office is currently located in Rancho Cucamonga, California, a suburb of Los Angeles,.

Some of the company's earliest locations in California included Sunnyvale, Mountain View, and Palo Alto. The Palo Alto location, across the street from the Stanford University campus on El Camino Real, remains virtually unchanged since c. 1950. The oldest locations are often historic landmarks. In its beginnings it was bigger than McDonald's, Del Taco, and other chains.The Fosters Freeze franchise in Hawthorne, California is known to be the location at which Beach Boy band member Dennis Wilson saw the girl in the Thunderbird he sang about in his song titled "Fun, Fun, Fun."[7] Recently the USA softball team was seen eating at the Salinas location before heading off to Beijing to participate in the 2008 Olympics.[8] Also, the Atwater Village location was used in a scene of the movie, Pulp Fiction where Bruce Willis' character runs over Ving Rhames.[9] The historical significance that Fosters Freeze has is what attracts patrons and unites community members to try to keep developers from taking away a piece of nostalgia from them. In 2006, a neighborhood in Menlo Park, located in northern California, presented to their city council a petition with about 800 signatures to avoid demolition of their local Foster's.[10] The cover of Frank Zappa's album "Bongo Fury" shows him and Captain Beefheart (Don Van Vliet) sitting at a stall at the Fosters Freeze in Lancaster, California.


  1. "History". Fosters Freeze.
  2. 1 2 "Locations". Fosters Freeze.
  3. Salerno, Christina (20 June 2005). "Cold Arms, Warm Heart at Longtime Ceres Eatery". Fresno Bee. Retrieved 20 June 2010 via NewsBank. (subscription required (help)).
  4. Roy Beiderwell,Fresno,CA notes to Bill Boudier
  5. business papers and legal documents of Bill Boudier, Roseville, CA, 2013
  6. 1 2 3 Wienerschnitzel parent Galardi Group Gobbles up Tastee-Freez, Spector, Amy, BNET, 16 June 2003. 31 May 2009
  7. Smith, Andrew F. Encyclopedia of Junk Food and Fast Food, p. 105. Greenwood Publishing Group, 2006.
  8. USA Softball, 31 May 2009 Archived June 6, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  9. "Where Bruce Willis Runs Into Ving Rhames". Atwater Village Newbie (blog). June 2006. Retrieved 31 May 2009.
  10. Kids Fight to Save Foster, Palo Alto Online: Home Page. 31 May 2009 Archived January 12, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
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