After all the challenges of the last two years, consumers are looking for comfort food and drinks to satisfy their cravings—and to indulge in flavors and experiences that remind them of their childhoods.
Smoothies, milkshakes, and blended drinks are the perfect vehicle for nostalgia. For many people, they conjure up good memories of summers past. The menu penetration of milkshakes has increased by 3 percent over the last year, according to Datassential—now milkshakes appear on 15 percent of restaurant menus. Similarly, smoothies have increased by 3.5 percent to appear on 9 percent of menus today. It’s clear that blended drinks are steadily expanding their footprint—and when combined with the strong recent trend of premiumization, blended drinks have the potential to be a high-margin ticket item.
Premium frozen drinks tie into nostalgia while offering guests a unique twist. “Whether you want to add milkshakes, freak shakes, boozy shakes, smoothies, frappes, frozen cocktails, acai bowls, or protein energy bowls to your menu, the premium frozen beverage options are limitless,” says Brianna Buckley, senior marketing manager at Rich’s Foodservice.
It can be difficult, however, to stand up a new premium frozen drink program—especially in today’s labor market. Rich’s Foodservice offers restaurant operators a turnkey way to do so with minimal back-of-house effort or training. The f’real® by Rich’s program has made-to-order and blend-and-serve options designed to accommodate a wide range of menu needs, with patented cups of product that fit directly into the blender. The result is a dependable 16-ounce volume every time, with consistent high-quality taste and texture—using real milk, buttermilk, and cream as the first three ingredients in every milkshake.
“The best part about f’real is that it’s virtually effortless back-of-house,” Buckley says. “To blend a beverage, an operator simply has to peel back the lid, place the cup, and start the blender. In about 40 seconds, a delicious blended frozen beverage is ready to serve to the consumer. With no need to scoop ice cream, handle messy mix bags, or spend time cleaning a blender, our frozen beverage solution is perfect for operators looking to save time and labor.”
The f’real blender can be set up in minutes out of the box, and takes up a minimal nine inches of countertop space. It also plugs into a standard 120-volt wall outlet, making it easy to place anywhere.
The two f’real product lines, designed specifically for this blender, allow operators to customize based on their needs and goals for the program. With the made-to-order line, operators can deliver a craft-made experience by customizing base flavors for shakes and smoothies with ingredients such as flavored syrups, purees, alcohol, inclusions, and toppings. The blend-and-serve line, on the other hand, offers a turnkey, ready-to-go option for operators looking for convenience, speed, and menu additions that require minimal labor.
“We offer on-trend flavors that are ready to blend, including our top flavors: vanilla, chocolate, and cookies and cream,” Buckley says. “We also offer shake and smoothie bases that can be customized for a more unique experience. Our program saves time and labor, all while creating a fun experience for the consumer to enjoy high-quality and delicious frozen beverages.”
To learn more, visit the f’real website.
By Kara Phelps