With summer heating up, quick-service restaurants are enhancing their sweet beverage and shake offerings to capture thirsty customers.
Several brands have recently announced limited-time offers. Executives hope these offerings increase drink sales anywhere from 5 percent to 15 percent.
Sonic Drive-In launched an Oreo and Hot Fudge Shake in April and followed that up with the roll out of the Full Throttle Slush, which is loaded with ginseng, B-Vitamin complexes, and taurine.
At the same time, Arby’s brought back its popular Orange Cream Shake through July 7. Wendy’s recently introduced the Frosty Float, available in chocolate or vanilla.
Despite Arby’s, Sonic’s, and Wendy’s success with ice cream–based drinks, many brands are jumping in the popular smoothie market. In 2006, smoothie makers earned more than $2 billion from made-to-order and packaged smoothies, up more than 80 percent in the last five years, according to Mintel. Consumers are embracing the trend in a major way, and for a variety of different reasons.
“Consumers are attracted to smoothies because they are seen as a healthier option to most sweets and on-the-go meals,” said David Lockwood, director of Mintel Reports, in a February news release.
Last year, Dunkin’ Donuts introduced its smoothie line, which comes in 16-, 24- and 32-ounce sizes and in four flavors: Tropical Fruit, Wildberry, Mango Passion Fruit, and Strawberry Banana. In April, the doughnut chain introduced the Tropical Fruit Smoothie, a blend of real fruit and low-fat yogurt.
“[The Tropical Fruit Smoothie] will start as an LTO as many things do on our menu,” says Michael O’Donovan, vice president of global research and development. “Based on its success, we’re hoping that it will make the menu on a permanent basis.”