|Founded||San Francisco, California (1948)|
|Headquarters||210 Shields Court, Markham, Ontario, Canada|
The company was started in 1948 by Earle Swensen. Swensen opened his first shop at the corner of Union and Hyde Streets, along the cable car tracks in Russian Hill in San Francisco at what had been a failed ice cream parlor. Although vanilla was his lifelong favorite, he developed more than 150 flavors, which he marketed under the motto "Good as Father Used to Make". The original store sold ice cream and other frozen dessert specialties (such as sundaes and banana splits), with primarily take out service. Later other Swensen's franchisees added indoor seating and offered various types of food, including sandwiches and hamburgers.
Swensen sold the rights to franchise Swensen's Ice Cream Factories and Restaurants to William Meyers and investors in the 1970s but retained exclusive rights in San Francisco and continued to operate his original store (which still exists today) until 1994, a year before his death at age 83. Under new management the company expanded to 400 stores, mostly franchise locations, by the 1980s. However, in the 1990s it contracted to half of that size before being acquired and expanding again, mostly in Asia.
Today the company is owned by International Franchise Corp (IFC) of Markham, Ontario, Canada, which bought the franchise business from CoolBrands in 2006. The chain now includes about 300 franchise outlets worldwide including locations in Asia, the Middle East, the United States, South America, India, Taiwan, Singapore, Cambodia, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand and Laos.
The company opened its first store in India at Mantri Mall, marking the first of 80 stores over the next 5 years scheduled to open in South India. Swensen's is also now open in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. In March 2014, Swensen's first restaurant in Yangon, Myanmar opened for the first time.
- Alan Liddle (2005-01-29). "Ice-cream innovator Swensen dies at 83 in San Francisco". Nation's Restaurant News.
- "Swensen's embarks on regional franchise expansion". asiaone.com. 2010-03-22.
- "Swensen’s ice cream enters India". Deccan Herald. 2010-06-10.
- "Vietnam’s Got the Scoop and Welcomes Swensen’s". Swensen's website. 2010-08-12.
- Rochester, Helen (April 13, 1977). "Ice-cream parlor revives old-time delights". The Montreal Gazette. Retrieved March 07, 2013.