OK – this is just a rant.  We live next door to this place well known for serving kids’ food (not sure the healthy adult entrees are quite as popular).  Inexpensive hamburgers, nuggets, french fries, and ice cream.

So it’s getting HOT here in Texas, so it’s time to start thinking about how to market your products that particularly “beat the heat!”

Everyday during the school year, my wife or I will pick up our 3rd grader from school and stop off for a snack at various places.

Today was my turn with the kids (I had all 4).  We are close enough to this famous place that it made sense to run through the drive-thru so I could get the kids back in time for Hannah Montana (a priority in our house apparently) and I could get this blog post up.

I waited in the typical 3:30p long line (6 cars deep) and with a car full of restless little tykes.  Finally we make our way and began our order placement of 4 vanilla ice cream cones.  RESPONSE:  “I’m sorry, we’re cleaning out our ice cream machine right now.  If you can come back in about 20 minutes, we’ll be done.”

Yeh – right.  We were at the other ice cream joint down the street in less than 2 minutes and the kids had their cones in hand and we were back at home long before Miley does her costume change (that’s a Hannah Montana reference if you are not into the Disney channel thing, or if that Miley Cyrus photo for Vanity Fair just totally turned you off – another story!)  Sorry, you missed that sale.

What in the world is this world renown fast-food restaurant doing CLEANING IT’S ICE CREAM MACHINE just as schools are letting out all over the area, and it’s 90+ degrees outside!  PLUS, did it ever occur to anyone that you might post a SIGN somewhere along the LONG drive-thru route to say, OUR ICE CREAM MACHINE IS DOWN RIGHT NOW  (or to be more positive, “The Best Ice Cream in the Area Will Begin Being Served at 4:00p! Don’t Miss It!”)  Saves a few frustrated customers.



Another family favorite seems to understand the timing issue.  SONIC has their now famous HAPPY HOUR where ALL drinks and slushes are HALF-PRICE between 2-4!  Why?  Because that’s when parents are picking up their kids from school!!  And it’s the hottest time of the day and people enjoy a little relief now and then!    I read this online:

“The Sonic HAPPY HOUR initiative has been particularly effective not only at stimulating overall sales growth, but also increasing traffic, which has grown significantly in the afternoon day part since its introduction.”

Traffic!  Traffic!  Traffic!  And I would love to see the stats, but wouldn’t you guess, along with me, that they do a whole lot more than just sell drinks between 2-4!  I would love to see how much more they make on food sales during that time period.  Everyday!  2-4pm!

TAKE NOTE:  Repetition is also a magnet for traffic because it creates buying habits for consumers.  And by defining the promotional time period (2-4), this helps create that sense of urgency for the customer – positively affecting their purchase decision because they know if they don’t act now, they’ll pay more later.

What are you doing to drive traffic?  Are you doing something unique and on such a regular basis that everyone in town knows about it?  If not, you’re probably twittling your thumbs wondering why no one is stopping to purchase your wonderful products.  Go and create a traffic-driving promotion that everyone will know about!! And don’t just do it one day or just Memorial Weekend.  What are you known for that does something unique EVERYDAY?  And stop cleaning your ice cream machine at 3:30 in the afternoon.  Try doing it at 9:30a when people are thinking more about pancakes and egg sandwices.