Get Your Christmas Bagels Here

Dec 22, 2006

By George Anderson

Gingerbread lattes, peppermint mochas, eggnog shakes and candy cane bagels are just some of the treats being served up by eateries for the season – and the bottom line effect
is enough to give any retailer holiday cheer.

According to a report in USA Today, seasonal snacks can mean a one or two percent sales boost for those peddling these goodies to consumers.

“People who buy these items are really buying gifts for themselves,” said Malcolm Knapp, a restaurant consultant. “It’s a way of participating in the season. But you only give
this gift seasonally. That’s what makes it special.”

El Pollo Loco has a customer base that is 50 percent Latino. During the holidays, the chain sells its chicken tamales that are a traditional Christmas meal. Mark Hardison, marketing
chief for El Pollo Loco, said the item adds two percent to its sales for the entire year.

Einstein Bros. has created what it calls its candy cane bagel that is made from two twisted potato bagels, some red dye and powdered sugar. According to Dan Dominguez, chief
operating officer at New World Restaurant Group, the item is the top selling holiday item it ever created. It is also the best seller from the Einstein Bros. menu this month.

Discussion Questions: Do you see holiday food treats as an expandable consumption opportunity? What companies have impressed you with their ability to
add on sales with seasonal treats?

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5 Comments on "Get Your Christmas Bagels Here"

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Mark Lilien
15 years 5 months ago

Most holiday foods are repeated annually. Creativity is seldom seen. More innovation would be welcomed. Home run potential: a holiday item that can sell well all year. A base hit: promoting a holiday item during a non-holiday time. Years ago, both Lechters and Crazy Eddie ran successful “Christmas in July” promotions. Nothing stops retailers from running foreign holiday promotions or inventing holiday promotions. Anyone can run Canadian Thanksgiving (second Monday in October) or invent Australian Thanksgiving (during the North American summer).

M. Jericho Banks PhD
M. Jericho Banks PhD
15 years 5 months ago

If I had ruby slippers, I’d squeeze them onto my feet and click them together while muttering, “Red Velvet Cake, Red Velvet Cake.” Word up, my Kansas Christmas homeys.

What is the most successful seasonal food product in the US? Give up? It’s turkey. So, why haven’t fast-food providers accessed this popular protein source for everyday sale and consumption? Haven’t you ever wondered about that? And what about ham in all its spiral-sliced, hickory-smoked, honey-glazed glory? Why hasn’t it made its way into fast-fooders as a regular item? (Bacon is doing well, however.) Inquiring minds want to know.

Of course some holiday food treats are expandable for year-round consumption. It just takes a little marketing chutzpah.

David Livingston
15 years 5 months ago

King cakes in Louisiana are popular around Mardi Gras. But I like them year ’round. Some retailers do quite a bit of internet business that time of year just because of the cakes. Retailers that don’t normally get a lot of out of state inquiries will get a few doing Mardi Gras. There are few times I wouldn’t mind getting a Thanksgiving fried turkey as well during other times of the year.

Al McClain
Al McClain
15 years 5 months ago

Harry and David, which seems to specialize in seasonal offerings, has a neat little trick. When you place a gift order online, as you are checking out they offer you 20% off on one item for yourself. Nice way of boosting impulse sales.

McDonald’s could do with a few more seasonal items to boost impulse sales/visits.

Odonna Mathews
Odonna Mathews
15 years 4 months ago

It seems to me there are many more opportunities for holiday food treats, not only in December and New Year’s, but other key seasons as well. Retailers and restaurants can differentiate themselves by offering fun and different seasonal treats throughout the year.

I agree with Michael Banks comments about more opportunities to promote turkey year round as a convenience item, appetizer and a quick meal/sandwich at home or in a restaurant. And how about those delicious and nutritious sweet potatoes as well as seasonal coffees, ice cream cakes and, my favorite, clementines.

I was in Macy’s this December and so enjoyed their window decorations, and a flavored seasonal coffee and gingerbread man cookie with my family in one of their restaurants. It certainly helps to put you in the mood.

Let’s see – how about speciality foods for spring, fourth of July and summertime and back to fall as just a few examples?


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