FLORENCE, Ky. - March blew
in like a warm, fuzzy lamb this year, heating up consumer interest in frozen
treats, such as shaved ice, ice cream and frozen yogurt, Nation€™s Restaurant News reports. Particularly in the eastern
United States, daily temperatures have been higher than usual so far this year.
Businesses like Kona Ice,
a chain of franchised, shaved ice trucks, have been using the warm weather to
get a jump start on the summer selling season. "This year, [the weather] has
made a two-month difference in when I can start operating," said Tony Lamb,
founder and president. "We€™re up tremendously."
In March, Kona Ice has
seen a 50% bump in sales, which has been a tremendous bonus for a business that
relies heavily on cooperative weather for sales. "We€™re a weather-dependent
company, and to some degree we feel blessed and cursed," he said. "Last year,
when a major hurricane came through, we had 10 franchised units in North
Carolina struggle for 30 days, but now we€™re all up a lot. We€™re filling
coffers that were empty from adverse weather before."
For Dairy Queen, a mild
winter for much of the East Coast has had a "very favorable impact on sales and
traffic," said COO Troy Bader. "In November through February, both food and
treat sales were way up, and food actually was impacted more," he said. "Now,
going into March, with the weather and our buy-one-get-one offer for the
Blizzard, the sales mix for treats is up much more dramatically."
Read more about trends and
growth opportunities in c-stores for the ice cream/frozen novelties category in
the upcoming April NACS Magazine