Baskin Robbins is a name synonymous with ice cream in most of the developed world. The company entered the twenty-first century as the largest retail ice cream concern on the planet.

The story of the famous 31 flavours begins in the year 1945, when Irv Robbins opened his first ice cream store in Glendale, California, which he named Snowbird. Snowbird offered 21 exotic flavours of ice confection. A year later, Irv merged his operations with his brother in law, Burt Baskin, to form Baskin Robbins.

In the post-war boom of the late nineteen-forties, the partners expanded their retail operations to encompass a network of six stores in California. Fatefully, the seventh store was opened under franchise to the partners (in the year 1948), which set the company's direction for the next half century.

In 1953, the 31 Flavors concept rolled out to all stores, with the marketing intent to provide a different taste to customers for every day of the month.

The company's first non-Californian store was opened in the year 1959, in Phoenix, Arizona. By the time they got to Phoenix, the Stateside franchise expansion plan was set, and new stores started opening all over the USA in the nineteen-sixties.

In 1973, the English company J. Lyons & Co., Ltd bought out the operations from the surviving partner, Irv Robbins, and the estate of Burt Baskin, who passed away in 1967 at the age of 54. The new owners were quick to expand operations in Europe, with the first non-American store opening in Brussels, Belgium, in 1974. In 1978, J. Lyons was purchased by Allied Brewery, of London England, forming the formidible Allied Lyons corporation. The corporate mergers continued, when in 1994 Allied Lyons merged with Pedro Domecq to form Allied-Domecq.

At the time of writing, there are over 2,500 Baskin Robbins ice cream stores in the USA, and over 2,100 stores in 52 countries internationally.

Today, although the 31 Flavors remains the marketing hook for the global ice cream giant, there are actually over 1,000 flavours in circlation around the world, which are cycled in and out of each store's choice of 31. Globally, the most frequently consumed flavours are vanilla, chocolate, mint chocolate chip, Pralines 'n Cream, and chocolate chip, although in this nodist's opinion, Cookies and Cream is the best ice cream flavour ever.

Baskin Robbin's parent company, Allied-Domenq, also owns the famous chains Dunkin' Donuts and Togo's.

Research source: Baskin Robbin's corporate website. Reject copy and paste writeups.

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