Industry News | August 7, 2014 | QSR Exclusive Brief

Ben & Jerry's Puts Flavors Front and Center

Ben & Jerry's
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The folks at Ben & Jerry’s know flavors, and they want their customers to know, too. That’s why the ice cream brand debuted a new menuboard design that puts its well-known flavor lineup front and center.

“We’re always looking the customer’s experience and trying to make it better, and we realized that the No. 1 issue customers were having when they walked into the shop was the menuboard,” says Alison Gilbert, senior brand manager. “One of the top questions we got was, Where are your flavors?”

When Ben & Jerry’s undertook an extensive brand refresh several years ago, company executives did not get to tackle the menuboard just because of the sheer size and complexity of the task, Gilbert says. But the brand couldn’t hold off for long, and the process of redesigning the menuboard started with studying the consumer ordering process.

“We did a study trying to figure out how people process the information on a menuboard when they place an order,” Gilbert says. “Most of our sales are cups and cones and pretty basic orders, and we realized that information should be first and foremost. In the past, we had a menuboard that had lots of menu items, but the flavor board would end up somewhere else in the shop.”

The new menuboards feature a five-panel design with cone and cup options displayed alongside the flavor lineup on the left, where consumers’ eyes are first drawn. Gilbert says the new design also dramatically reduced the word count, which previously edged up to 800 words. And it’s made things simpler for operators and shop employees, too.

“We’re using a magnetic-receptive paper, so we’re minimizing the amount of magnets we’re putting on there,” Gilbert adds. “It helps make everything look a little neater, and the staff can take things off if they run out of a flavor or want to change out a flavor.”

The reclaimed wood frame and chalkboard aesthetic fit better with the brand refresh, Gilbert says. About 75 percent of Ben & Jerry’s franchised U.S. locations feature the new menuboard, and the company hopes to have all locations updated by early next year.

“It’s been a process over the past few years to get people updated because the franchisee covers a lot of the cost; we help where we can,” Gilbert says. “We’re slowly but surely getting everyone up to date with the new design and now the menuboard, which we’ve seen shockingly good pickup from the system.”

By Tamara Omazic