Looking to boost visits and loyalty, frozen yogurt chain Menchie's has introduced collectible toys as a permanent with-purchase offering.
In addition, for its adult client base, the chain is introducing special monthly flavors as a permanent feature.
Menchie's, which apparently is not concerned about the increasing heat being applied to QSRs to drop toy premiums, will offer consumers a free "Sweet Friend" collectible toy with every cup of yogurt purchased.
There are seven toy characters in total, including the chain's mascot, Menchie. The toys for each character will span not just figurines, but formats including stickers, stamps, miniature puzzles and "sticky hands," CEO Amit Kleinberger told QSR Magazine.
Kleinberger has often stressed that Menchie's is not in the business of selling frozen yogurt, but the business of "making people smile," and that the company views its relationship to communities and its stores' environment, service and atmosphere as even more important than the product. Adding the toys, and institutionalizing the introduction of new, proprietary flavors on a monthly basis, are ways to enhance the "multidimensional experience," he confirmed to QSR.
Menchie's will open its 100th store in August, and plans to add another 100 within the next year. In addition to its Smileage rewards program, the chain is using Facebook, Twitter, email marketing and in-store promotions to create awareness of its new toys and monthly flavors.
Perhaps coincidentally, another frozen yogurt chain, Yogurtland, has struck a licensing deal with Sanrio, Inc. to sell co-branded merchandise featuring Hello Kitty and other characters for a six-week period, starting July 21.
Items to be offered for sale (ranging in price from $3.50 to $19.99) include a Hello Kitty plush toy wearing a Yogurtland uniform, key chains and T-shirts.
In addition, Yogurtland's cups and biodegradable spoons will feature the Sanrio characters during the promotional period, and the two companies will offer a sweepstakes.
Yogurtland has more than 145 locations in the U.S., Japan, Mexico and Guam.