Summer! It’s finally here. Time for the kids to get out of school. Time for warm summer nights. Time for barbeques and cookouts. Time for the beach, the pool, the lake or whatever body of water you may prefer. Well in the frozen dessert world, summer also means a couple other things. Longer hours. Shore stores get started. And hopefully, more sales.
I’m sure that last one got your attention!
But how do we capitalize on all the things that summer brings? How do we maximize our summer season especially after all the lousy spring weather we have had?
First thing we need to do is add some special summer items to our menu. This should be started immediately and the items you add throughout the summer should be strategically rolled out and promoted accordingly. Take a look at what your core products are and expand upon them. Are you a walk in store? Do you have sundaes as a heavy hitter? If so, have some seasonal sundaes with seasonal fruit toppings that make sense. If waffles are a mover for you, how about a red white and blue waffle sundae with strawberry and blueberry topping. Something simple like different colored (red, white and blue) sprinkles can help give you some add on options.
Italian Ice is a great summer product as it is very weather driven when it comes to sales. Typically, ice sales increase when the weather climbs over 85 degrees. So the warm weather heats up your ice sales. Time to maybe transition more of your flavor options from ice cream to ice – that is if you are limited and carry both. For example, in the spring and fall with cooler climates you may have 16 hand dipped ice cream flavors and 8 ice. However, when summer comes calling, you can change to 12 and 12 or 16 ice and just 8 hand dipped.
If you produce your own product it’s a good time to start offering more fruit based, refreshing flavor profiles. Peach, watermelon, strawberry kiwi are great summer movers. Rollout some gelati specials that couple with these flavors.
Figuring out what to add is the easy part. Make sure you have fun with it. Be inventive and creative. For example, what about a “take me to the beach” sundae with your choice of ice cream, malt powder for sand, Swedish fish, and marshmallow sauce for the suntan lotion. Or how about a “I got chlorine in my eye” with blue cotton candy ice cream, white sauce with red sprinkles. These sundaes are both to create sales and create buzz as they look great on Instagram and other social media platforms.
Also, play to the summer cookouts by offering tubs of Italian ice on special with cups, spoons, napkins, etc. Maybe put the ice in a giant beach bucket for your customers as an added promotional push. Make sure to include coupons with the package for all those who will be enjoying your product.
Just as I mentioned with the beach bucket idea, your marketing for all your summer rollouts should feature bright colors and summer related items such as buckets, sun, shovels, beach balls, etc. This helps tie into the theme of what you are doing. Even a small thing like updating t-shirts and uniforms for your staff can go a long way in freshening up your summer image.
Be sure to promote your new summer items on every and any platform. A frame signs outside your store. Social media platforms. Coupons featuring new items. Free samples of new summer flavors. Don’t assume your customers are paying attention to minor or even major changes and updates. Most will need several impressions before they take notice.
Studies show that customers start to grow tired of a menu after about 4 months. So stores that opened in February and March will have their base start experiencing some menu fatigue by the summer.
This may help explain why some stores start to see more sluggish sales despite the warmer weather. By updating your menu offerings and then tying your promotion of these items with some summer loving, you can help to offset the menu fatigue and stimulate sales. Once that is done don’t worry – fall promotion is right around the corner!!
Check Out Our Other Blog Posts for mor success tips during the summer onths