Sonic’s Pickle Juice Slush

“We visited several different snow cone trucks in Austin, Texas, and saw this pickle juice snow cone. It was usually savory, shaved ice with pickle juice poured over it. We loved the idea, so our team developed a compatible pickle juice flavor that straddled the line between sweet and savory. [The summer 2018 LTO] garnered a lot attention, because there were as many haters as there were lovers of it. The sales trajectory was interesting, too, because it sold throughout the whole promotion. People tried it and bought it again. It’s a puckering experience, sour balanced with sweet and a little salty. It tastes a lot like pickling spice—dill, coriander, and pepper.”

—Scott Uehlein

vice president of product innovation and development

The Players

  • Sweet and savory pickle flavor shot
  • Slush base


Planet Smoothie’s Peanut Butter Power Up

Planet Smoothie

Planet Smoothie’s Peanut Butter Power Up

“The recipe for the Peanut Butter Power Up came from franchisee Adam Bermudez, who owns five locations in the Orlando, Florida, area. It was originally launched in January 2016 as an LTO and was then added to the permanent menu in May of 2017. It tastes like a peanut butter–flavored granola bar with a creamy, addictive flavor. This smoothie is protein-packed, boasting 26 grams of total protein from its whole-food ingredients, like chia seeds, whole-grain oats, and peanut butter. For many customers, it is part of their daily meal plan. It is currently the third-best-selling smoothie on the menu.”

—Nicole Butcher

director of marketing

The Players

  • Peanut butter
  • Banana
  • Whole-grain oats
  • Chia seeds
  • Non-fat and no-sugar-added frozen yogurt


Gloria Jean’s Coffees’ Mocha Voltage Chiller

Gloria Jean’s Coffees

Gloria Jean’s Coffees’ Mocha Voltage Chiller

“While we have many Chillers that cater to those with a sweet tooth, we were challenged to give our hardcore espresso drinkers a frozen beverage they would love. We came up with a coffee-forward flavor profile starting with a classic mocha blended with real espresso beans, then layered with pure espresso. The Mocha Voltage Chiller was added to our menu in summer 2011. As soon as shots of espresso are poured over the blended portion, the espresso gets to work, slowly then all at once self-mixing into the blended beverage. The first sip is a shock of intense espresso, followed by rich chocolate notes with the delightful crunch of espresso bean pieces.”

—Sam Ferreira

president of Retail Food Group-USA (operator of Gloria Jean’s in the U.S.)

The Players

  • Milk
  • Espresso beans
  • Dark chocolate
  • Espresso shots

Read more: How Dunkin’ Became an Authority on Blended Beverages

Read more: Figuring Out Frozen: Why Cool Beverages Are Heating Up

Menu Innovations, Story