The Power of Flavors. If you attended our Open House in March and attended our seminar on 3M Marketing, you heard a lot about the power of marketing in your stores. The seminar was based on marketing to varying generational segments: Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, Silents and most importantly, Millennials.
As you look upon 2019 and beyond, the Millennial market needs to be a true focus of all your marketing attention. They are the group currently having kids, buying homes and settling into their routines. They are also the group that has the biggest influence over all other generations. They impact the Gen Zs (23 and younger) and also have a say in the lives of their parents and grandparents. I mean, think about it, do you know any Milliennial that does not have a strong opinion about everything? That’s not to say it’s a bad thing. As business owners we need to capitalize on a market’s passion. But we also need to understand that market and where there passion comes from. As we cater to our existing customer base, it is important we bring in fresh faces and keep them coming back. Millennials want new, they want fresh, they want flash. How do we give that to them?
No matter what you sell, I’m sure you have flavors. Whether it be hard ice cream, Italian ice, gelato or soft serve....flavors are an important choice for your customers. Flavors can add color to your store and also to your online marketing. Instagram, Facebook and even your website can light up with colorful flavor options and exciting new names. Flavors add to choices and choices can turn to more visits and more visits turns to more sales. However, the number of flavors you present to the customer is a slippery, yet very important slope. Dependent upon the focus of your operation, flavors can be vital.
Italian Ice: Most stores with Italian ice as a core product have 12 – 20 daily offerings. Years ago, it was 6-8. Why do you need more today to compete? Well the market has matured. Additionally, there have been new ice flavors that have been offered by manufacturers and distributors. These flavors may not be the best movers, but they create buzz and visits. The trick with Italian ice is that it’s best served fresh. But without enough volume, it’s hard to maintain freshness over an expansive line of flavor offerings. But wait…..it’s hard to build volume without an expansive line of flavoring offerings. So it becomes a chicken or the egg situation. Best advice, you should be making your own Italian ice so you can guarantee freshness. Start by creating a standard line of 8-12 flavors, then build in a rotation of 6-8 on top of that. This helps you stay fresh not only in what you offer but also in how you offer. Your baby boomers and Gen X'ers will appreciate the dedication to their staples while the Millennials will appreciate always having new items rolling in.
Hand Scooped: When we work with a shop making and crafting their own hand dipped ice cream, they first say they want to keep it simple. The typical line goes, “I just want to offer 12-16 flavors until I get some experience, then I may add some more.” My response to this, is for my new customers to visit some successful ice cream shops and take notice of the flavors they like. Maybe do some online digging on different and exciting flavors as well. Perhaps even ask friends and family what they would want to see in a shop. After all this due diligence, I tell them to jot down a list of flavors they would need to have and flavors they would want to offer in their store. Then call me and tell me the total.
It’s usually somewhere in the 50's.
There are so many lanes in the world of hand scooped. You can go crazy quickly, but again, flavor options can drive sales. Don’t limit yourself because you don’t want to carry inventory or because a flavor may be too hard to make. Also remember the categories like vegan, yogurt, low sugar, etc... While these may be small sales, they also fill a niche need and the customers that want them are usually very vocal. Making these customers happy can help your social media and word of mouth chatter. Having a nice amount of hand dipped flavors with some LTO (limted time offers) and seasonal options can really make a difference.
Soft Serve: Vanilla. Chocolate. Twist. For most stores, that’s it. How do you offer soft serve flavors without investing in multiple machines? A typical soft serve machine has two barrels and each barrel can only do one flavor. So with more machines comes more flavors. Well, that is not the case anymore.
Shameless Sales Plug. With the Fuzionate you can offer 9 flavors of soft serve product out of 1 machine.
This is not just a sales plug though. The Fuzionate can take your soft serve offerings to the next level. Whether it’s soft serve ice cream, custard, yogurt or even Italian ice…..the Fuzionate can turn 24 inches of space into an expanded menu that will boost your flavor offerings immediately. If soft serve is at your core, you really need to explore a machine like this or maybe just explore adding 1 or 2 more flavors with your existing equipment. Adding more flavors means more choices for your customers. Sure there is a point where you can offer too much. You slow your lines down and put too big a tool on your operations. However, today’s market thrives on choices. Think of the way we watch entertainment. As a kid I had 5 channels to watch on TV. Nowadays, my children have 5 platforms to watch entertainment and hundreds of channels within those platforms. That’s the new age.
Increasing and enticing with flavor options of your CORE products is really the way to move the needle. Sure we can add accompaniments. We can add shakes, sundaes, waffles, grab and go food, creative creations, novelties, etc. They are all important. But they teeter off your base and foundation of core offerings. The stronger we make that base, the more we can springboard off it to grow sales.
When adding flavors think color. Think categories. Think LTO’s. Bring it in – take it away – bring it back. Think seasonal. Think pop culture. Think community. Think about creative names to help create brand awareness of your store and the specific flavor.
If you need help or advice when looking to add flavors or add equipment to do so, please let us at Sentry Equipment know and we would be happy to help. We can evaluate your operation so you can strategically enhance your menu without putting undo stress on your operations or budget.