Annual Report 2020
The year that felt like twenty
What follows is a look back at our 2020 as a company—what we did, what we’ve been working on, where we’re at now. Despite a global pandemic, we found ways to grow the company, and, in turn, our impact. From opening shops in three new states and adding 100 new wholesale customers, to finding new ways to show up for our communities in times of shared need. While people weren’t able to gather at our shops for most of the year, we found different ways to bring people together. And you’ll see that we’ve been working on improving ourselves and our company, too.
We have learned, in times of crisis, to let our values lead the way. For us, this past year, that meant protecting our team members, customers, and communities—while at the same time fighting for our company to survive. In mid-March, to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, we closed our shops and furloughed 83% of our team. We then shifted focus to implementing contactless service and modifying operations to ensure our shops were clean and safe—and were able to offer nearly every team member their role back. With foot traffic down but demand for shipping and delivery up, we met the moment with people from across the company making contributions far outside their normal lanes. Despite the chaos, we found ways for the company to thrive, growing revenue by 22%. And our safety protocols resulted in zero cases of workplace transmission of COVID-19.
To make sure our shops were clean and safe, we implemented contactless service with modified operations. Any offering that introduced the possibility of direct touch between employees and customers was suspended—including flavor sampling and cone service, two core parts of the Jeni’s scoop shop experience.
Zero cases of workplace transmission
When our ambassadors weren’t serving customers, packing up local delivery orders, or washing their hands, they were working tirelessly to ensure our shops were clean and safe. 110k wipe-down sessions of our dipping cabinets, 85k masks purchased, 500 gallons of hand sanitizer used. Our safety protocols resulted in zero cases of workplace transmission of COVID-19.
Within crisis lies opportunity
With shelter-in-place rules in effect and changing behavior, our team adapted and found ways to serve people where they were increasingly at—home. From hand-packing 175k pints of ice cream to meet the surge in local delivery orders from our shops, to our home office team helping to build shipping boxes because orders were coming in faster than we could ship them out, those who still had work after the March furlough did whatever it took bring furloughed teammates back as fast as possible. Every order counted.
We make ice cream to bring people together. It’s why we make ice cream as a community—in partnership with the growers, makers, and producers who supply us with ingredients—and it’s why we design our shops as neighborhood gathering places. We believe all human beings are equal, that our differences are our strengths, and that making someone feel loved is one of the most powerful things you can do. And while we don’t think ice cream is going to save the world, we do think ice cream can be used as a force for good.
We are a Certified B Corporation
Using Direct Trade ingredients, employing a diverse team of people, working to improve our environmental and social impact—it’s all part of how we operate and an important part of our company culture. We build community wherever we go, from near our kitchen in Columbus, to the cities across the country where we have scoop shops. Working with people we know and trust helps us get the best ingredients we can find. We’re proud to be a B Corp. It means we’re an evolving company—pushing forward to be better tomorrow than we are today.
Letter to Columbus City Council in Support of Resolution Declaring Racism a Public Health Crisis
“Because racial prejudice is most harmful when it is held by people in positions of power, we believe it is incumbent of those of us in positions of some level of power to speak out.“
After the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, our CEO drafted a letter in support of Columbus City Council’s resolution declaring racism a public health crisis. He asked a few business leaders to join him in signing the letter, and within 72 hours more than 750 business, institutional and non-profit leaders signed. The resolution was approved.
Food Industry Action
In partnership with Fox in the Snow Cafe in Columbus, we launched Food Industry Action, an initiative that gave hundreds of restaurants across the country who were struggling from the pandemic a way to join up and fight racial injustice together by donating 5% of sales on a single day to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. Jeni’s donated $10k and the effort raised $85k in total.
Yes for 2
Our CEO was a co-chair for “Yes for 2,” a campaign that successfully pushed for Columbus voters to amend the city’s charter to establish a Civilian Oversight and Review Board for the Columbus Police Department.
A snapshot of where we’re at currently—Diversity Statistics
After countless discussions—in a variety of formats, across all levels of the company, including group conversations facilitated by a diversity and inclusion expert—we launched nine racial equity operating initiatives across three focus areas: improving ourselves as individuals, improving ourselves as a company, and improving the communities we serve. The program is driven by team members from across the company, with at least one member of the leadership team responsible for ownership of each initiative. Each initiative will be measured and rewarded, and will be part of our ongoing budgeting and operations for years to come, with a commitment to reporting annually on the work—diversity metrics included.
First and Best Employer
A training program for team members who are in the first job, for teaching and developing skills—both personal and professional—that our youngest team members will need on their personal journey at Jeni’s and beyond.
A specialized development support program for cultivating entrepreneurship and leadership skills among high-potential performers who are seeking to advance their careers.
Ongoing review, assessment, and updating of our programs, policies, and procedures—from hiring and training to communications and resources—to promote active inclusion of all team members and potential team members.
Discuss, Listen, and Share
Ways for Team Jeni’s to continue learning about and sharing stories of racial and social justice inequities. Includes a guest speaker series, roundtables for team members to share personal experiences, and an online knowledge sharing center.
A program for using our scoop shops as a platform for showcasing the voices and work of BIPOC through in-shop programming and events.
Ways for each of our scoop shops to play an active role in supporting the neighborhoods they serve and to become their own local community advocates.
Influencing public policy to eliminate, reduce, or prevent inequitable patterns with a focus on system equity, inclusion, and racial justice.
Ice Cream for Breakfast
For Ice Cream for Breakfast Day, we raised $20.2k for DoSomething.org, the largest not-for-profit exclusively for young people and social change. DoSomething’s millions of members represent every US area code and 131 countries. Using their digital platform, DoSomething members join volunteer, social change, and civic action campaigns to make real-world impact on causes they care about.
Nashville Tornado Relief Fund
In early March, after an outbreak of tornadoes took the lives of more than two dozen people and destroyed hundreds of homes and businesses in and around our Nashville community, our Nashville shops raised $10k for The Nashville Food Project’s Tornado Relief Fund.
Great Americans Speaker Series
We hosted political leader, voting rights activist, and New York Times bestselling author, Stacey Abrams, for a virtual all-company conversation, as well as Dr. John Fitzgerald Gates, a nationally recognized strategic diversity and inclusion thought leader.
We are all in this together
Together—with our friends at Homage, Pelotonia, The Roosevelt Coffeehouse, and Hot Chicken Takeover—we launched a collaborative campaign that raised over $155k and provided more than 25k meals for people at risk during the initial height of the COVID-19 pandemic. The campaign directly reinvested more than $250k back into the Columbus food service industry at a time when it was needed most.
Black Trans Lives Matter
After the killing of Tony McDade, a Black transgender male, by Tallahasse police, our 12th South shopkeeper was one of four lead organizers for a Black Trans Lives Matter vigil that drew over 500 people at Public Square Park in Nashville in June. We were pleased to supply the candles used at the event.
Photo by Mark Zaleski
Adopt a Senior Program
We participated in the Adopt a Senior Program, delivering over 4,000 gifts to 1,500 seniors across the community in Jeni’s trucks.
Toy Drive for the Boys & Girls Club
Our LA shops teamed up to raise $1.3k in monetary donations and gifs combined for a Holiday Toy Drive at their local Boys & Girls Club.
Volunteer Paid Time Off
Employees across the company used 136 Volunteer Paid Time Off hours giving back to the organizations and causes about which they are most passionate. 80 of those hours were used on Election Day by employees working the polls.
The Fellowship Model is based on the belief that it takes a community of people to build ice cream from the ground up: growers, makers, producers, suppliers, customers. The people and companies who make Jeni’s ice cream possible aren’t anonymous accounts; they’re our partners—and we couldn’t run our company without them. We believe we get higher quality ingredients when we know the people we’re buying from, so we buy direct whenever we can.
Ingredients used (in pounds)
36.9k heavy cream from Arps Dairy
19.6k yogurt from Arps Dairy
812 Bjorn Qorn popcorn
4.4k Hirsch Fruit Farm Pumpkins
78.1k Fair Trade cocoa powder from Dutch Cocoa
6.2k Intelligentsia Black Cat Espresso French Press Coffee
609 Middle West Whiskey
1.6M Pasture-based farm milk from Smith’s Dairy
58.4k Peach Truck Peaches
341 Watershed Apple Brandy
1.2k Organic Fair Trade Madagascar Pure Vanilla Extract from Nielson Massey
11.4k Blackberries form Stahlbush
75k Almond Brittle from Parker Products
14k Almond Brittle from Gardners Candies
19.4k buttermilk from Arps Dairy
27.7k Cold Brew concentrate from Slingshot Coffee Co.
3.2k Mackenzie Creamery Goat Cheese
3.7k Guittard White Chocolate Buttons
781 Hakutsuru Plum Wine
177 Courvoisier Cognac
800 FitJoy Pretzels
6.9k Peregrine Wine
5.8k Theo Chocolate
As a certified B Corporation, we’ve made a commitment to reducing our impact on the environment and to be stewards of positive impact in our communities. Sustainability is woven into the fabric of who we are as a company—it’s how we operate.
Composting Clause in Our Lease
In an effort to advocate for waste reduction, we have added a compost clause into our shop leases to ensure we have our landlord’s support and dedicated space for our composting initiatives, when applicable.
Zero Waste Shops Initiative
Due to modified operations for safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, the majority of our shops were not—and are still not—open for dining in. During this time, we temporarily suspended our Zero Waste Shops Initiative, but plan to relaunch the program when our shops are fully operational again.
Despite it all…
Despite everything, we did some of our favorite work last year—from a gray ice cream that tastes like sunshine, to an otherworldly collab with Tyler, The Creator, and an Outlander-inspired flavor that transported you to the pre-revolution American frontier. Oh, and our dairy-free Texas Sheet Cake won a sofi Award, too.
We opened 8 new shops, expanding into 3 new states— Texas, Florida, and Alabama—bringing our total number of shops across the country to 50.
We formed new partnerships with great retailers like Safeway, Ralph’s, goPuff, and Fresh Direct to enable people to get Jeni’s who previously could not.
We fulfilled over 370K local delivery or pickup orders from our scoop shops, and launched a local delivery app to make it more convenient to order.
We produced 2X more pints in 2020 than 2019.
We released 12 new flavors
Released at the height of the pandemic, Sunshine ice cream was a reminder that when gray clouds descend on our lives, the sun always shines again. The color was muted and as gray as a rain cloud, but it tasted like a ray of sunshine—a geyser of sunny citrus and tropical fruit—on your tongue.
We made another flavor with Tyler, The Creator. Think of a blue raspberry slushie—except fruitier, less sweet, more tart, actually refreshing. Then imagine an orange push-pop that’s been working out—the orange flavor is stronger with a deeper citrusy pop. Now, picture the two swirled together, and you drinking them out of a pineapple, in the shade, under a palm tree.
Inspired by Outlander and the latest chapter of Claire and Jamie Fraser’s story. Imagine your favorite time-traveling healer wandering through the early American landscape—collecting herbs, flowers, and berries now at her disposal in the new world. No need for standing stones, Claire’s Cabinet ice cream transported you back to Fraser’s Ridge.
Sparkling Berry Punch Sorbet
More satisfying than the pop of a champagne cork. Smoother than crushed velvet. Our Sparkling Berry Punch sorbet was made with blackcurrants, blackberries, raspberries, and crisp sparkling wine from our friends at Chandon winery in California for an effervescent finish.
A sofi Award for Texas Sheet Cake
Nobody is sure how many sofi Awards from the Specialty Food Association our flavors have won over the years, but our dairy-free Texas Sheet Cake definitely won a sofi Award this year. We accepted it virtually.
Thank you, Team Jeni’s, for your heroic efforts at finding ways for our company to thrive. You did it through talent, hustle, and guts—with an emphasis on empathy and resilience, too.
If you are taking the time to read this, thank you. Most likely you ordered local delivery from our shops, shipped ice cream to friends across the country, or bought pints from the grocery store. Your support enabled us to survive, to bring Team Jeni’s back together, and to grow the type of company we can be proud of.
We couldn’t have done it without you.