Baskin-Robbins is the largest chain of ice cream specialty stores in the world. Since their humble beginnings in 1945, they’ve expanded to over 2,800 locations throughout the United States and 5,800 around the globe. They have introduced 1,300 unique flavors of ice cream, including classics such as Mint Chocolate Chip and Pralines ‘n Cream. They are known for constantly creating innovative, delicious frozen treats that win hearts and awards all over the world. Plus, they give you free ice cream on your birthday – what’s sweeter than that?
Why is it called Baskin-Robbins?
In the 1930s, Irv Robbins managed an ice cream shop in Tacoma, Washington as a teenager. He grew tired of serving traditional flavors like chocolate and vanilla, and began experimenting by mixing fruit and candy into the ice cream. Years later, after serving in WWII, Irv Robbins bought his own ice cream parlor in Glendale, California, where he’d be free to invent and mix all the flavors he wanted. He called it Snowbird Ice Cream. His brother-in-law, Burton “Burt” Baskin, also owned his own ice cream parlor, Burton’s Ice Cream Shop.
Image source: Seattle Pi (Irv Robbins)
Robbins and Baskin worked together to franchise their stores, though their ice cream parlors had different names. By 1948, they had six stores between them – the following year, that number grew to over 40. It wasn’t until 1953 that the ice cream chain melded the separate identities of their stores into one and became Baskin-Robbins. Robbins and Baskin flipped a coin to see whose last name would go first on the sign – evidently, Baskin was the lucky winner.
Why 31 Flavors?
Robbins’ ice cream parlor, Snowbird Ice Cream, featured 21 flavors. When the separate stores merged in 1953, the number of flavors was expanded to 31 with the motto, “Count the flavors. Where the flavor counts,” per the advice of a local advertising agency.
Local agency Carson/Roberts advised merging the two stores to create a uniform identity and image. They also recommended the 31 Flavors logo, to represent a flavor for every day of the month. The original logo featured carnival-inspired cherry (pink) and chocolate (brown) polka dots. At around the same time, Baskin-Robbins’ tiny pink sample spoons were also created, founded upon the belief that anyone should be able to sample any of their many flavors for free.
The current logo was designed rather recently in 2006. It cleverly uses the curve in the B and the straight edge in the R to highlight Baskin-Robbins’ famous 31 flavors.
Not everyone likes all of our flavors, but each flavor is someone’s favorite. – Irv Robbins
Pretty crazy to think that this logo was only thought up just over 10 years ago. The company’s initials were BR for over 60 years, they had 31 flavors for over 60 years – I can only imagine how the company felt when they saw the 31 in the BR for the first time! It was probably close to how I felt reading about other brands that hide symbols in their logos.
What’s your favorite flavor of Baskin-Robbins ice cream? I love Gold Medal Ribbon!
Emma Roberts is a freelance writer and editor who is passionate about learning, traveling, and language. She received her bachelor’s degree in Sociology at Brigham Young University.