In the calculated game of frozen yogurt sales, Menchie’s latest move may be the checkmate, says CEO Amit Kleinberger.

“Today’s guest really expects to have a multidimensional experience that involves not only the food, but the environment and experience as well,” Kleinberger says.

To that effect, the frozen yogurt brand overhauled its business strategy with two permanent additions last week: collectible toys and new monthly flavors.

With every cup of yogurt purchased, Menchie’s will offer guests a free Sweet Friend collectible toy. The brand developed the toys around the imaginative world of its mascot Menchie, and gave him seven friends to interact with. Designed to redefine guests’ frequency of visits and award loyalty, the toys will be available throughout the month, with a bonus toy gifted to those who collect the entire series.

 “We’re launching lines of toys featuring every character in different formats,” Kleinberger says. “This can include stickers, sticky hands, stamps, and miniature puzzles.” To avoid repetition, stores will have two character toys on them at all times. More than 100 toys will launch in the next year alone.

While the Sweet Friends are aimed at children, Menchie’s polished its core product specifically with the older customers in mind.

“We have decided to embark on actually redefining the menus in the frozen dessert category,” Kleinberger says. Every month, Menchie’s will launch a new proprietary flavor formula. This month a blend of hazelnut and chocolate named Chocochella hit stores globally. Chocochella comes with the addition of mini-pretzels to the snack bar. “I think it’s cutting edge to provide a salted topping with a sweet flavor,” Kleinberger says.     

Menchie’s plans to open its 100th store next month and 200th within the next year. The collectible series toys and continually updated flavors will remain as permanent fixtures in all stores. To promote the innovations, Menchie’s is using in-store signage as well as social media platforms. Right now, that means reaching out through e-mail marketing, Facebook, Twitter, and its Smileage rewards program.

Later this year, Kleinberger says he wants to take the signage beyond the store. “As time progresses, we expect to be on billboards, targeting a larger audience.”

At the moment, however, the community angle is the most important. “At Menchie’s, we put community before commerce,” Kleinberger says. “When you put community before commerce, it means you put the guest experience before the core product.”

By Sonya Chudgar

Business Advice, Desserts, Marketing & Promotions, Menu Innovations, News, Restaurant Operations, Menchie's