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Sweet Summer Drink Sales

The Dunkin’ smoothie strategy complements the brand’s expansion west of the Mississippi, where healthy fare is the norm. The smoothies also help it compete in the lunch and dinner dayparts.

“Traditionally, we were used in the morning for doughnuts and breakfast sandwiches and coffee,” O’Donovan says. “Smoothies fit in [because] we needed to find an alternative for busy people seeking a delicious snack or a meal on the go. People are time strapped.”

The smoothie industry is a burgeoning category, and it’s definitely a game that we’re going to play. We’re going to lead the category.”

O’Donovan says smoothie sales have exceeded expectations, but would not give a specific sales number. When Dunkin’ launched the Strawberry Smoothie last year, “we ended up buying over 7 percent of the strawberry crop,” he says. “The smoothie industry is a burgeoning category, and it’s definitely a game that we’re going to play. We’re going to lead the category.”

Jamba Juice might have something to say about that. Although the West Coast brand only has 622 stores compared to Dunkin’s 7,500, Jamba Juice boasts about its quality.

“While Jamba might not be the largest purveyor of cold blended beverages, we strive to provide the most nutritious smoothies made from the highest quality ingredients,” says Tom Suitor, Jamba Juice spokesperson. “Our commitment to our customers and their health sets us apart from other companies.”

Jamba’s latest addition to the menu—All Fruit Smoothies—has been the brand’s best product rollout in recent years. Made from 100-percent real fruit, fruit juice, and ice, the line’s most popular flavor is the Pomegranate Paradise.

“Pomegranate is generally a trendy flavor in the marketplace, and the Pomegranate Paradise is an easy way to try the flavor for someone who has never experienced pomegranate before,” Suitor says. “It’s really resonated as a popular beverage choice with our customers. People simply enjoy lighter, fruitier drinks in the summer.” The Atlanta Bread Company, a 145-unit bakery café, has seen its smoothie sales increase as it warms up, too.

“We have a lot of people come in between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m., use the free Wi-Fi, and drink smoothies,” says Jennifer Madison, senior brand and communications manager.

Atlanta Bread is also expecting Peach Tea to drive beverage sales. The fast-casual rolled Peach Tea out as a limited-time offer three years ago and brought it back this summer. Madison says it should account for 12 percent of beverage sales. Tea accounts for 25 percent of Atlanta Bread’s total beverage sales. “We have a lot of stores in the South, where people like their tea,” Madison says.

Especially in the summer.

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Fred Minnick is a professional writer based in Louisville, Kentucky.