BOOM: The Designer and Basic Milkshake

BOOM: The Designer and Basic Milkshake

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Despite many consumers’ focus on healthy and lactose-free beverages, a new MULO (multi-location) trend is picking up steam (or should we say whipped cream?). Milkshakes first came on the scene in 1885, and were made with booze. Ironically, the boozy milkshake is now having a moment again!

In 1922, Walgreens began serving milkshakes and the rest is history.

But now, MULO brands are bringing that history into a new era, creating milkshakes that are both yummy and Insta-worthy.

Among some of the brands are:

  • The Yard Milkshake Bar. First appearing on Shark Tank in 2019, this company now has 27 locations nationally.
  • JoJo’s shakeBARIn its early days of scaling, this family-friendly concept offers a wide range of “toppings,” so you can shoot before you slurp.
  • The Buzzed Bull Creamery. As its name implies, this brand offers consumers liquor-infused flavors, as well as virgin options. Using liquid nitrogen in its recipes, they provide a fun experience for viewers during the scooping and mixing process. (And we all know that eatertainment is big these days!)

Boozy milkshakes (also known as “creamtails”) are also sold at many single-location establishments and have become so popular that the food review site TastingTable ran a feature where they reviewed the best variations nationwide.

Companies looking to appeal to consumers with dietary restrictions are introducing nut-based and oat milk variations to milkshakes. In fact, a review of plant-based shake options features some major multi-location brands like Fat Burger, which are appealing to consumers who are lactose-intolerant and/or concerned about the environment. This fast-growing group of diners is choosing plant-based options over cow’s milk. And MULO brands are offering more choices to continue to maintain/grow their fan bases.

About 9 percent of all restaurants offer milkshakes on their menus, and National Milkshake Day is celebrated on September 12th.

The economics of a “shake only” business can be challenging. Even brands with “shake” in their names, like Shake Shack and Steak ‘n Shake, offer a wide range of menu options, driving up their per-person sales. Those two brands are considered to be consumers’ favorites, but others in the top 10 popularity list as reported by Restaurant Business based on a Technomic study are:

  • Five Guys
  • Sonic Drive-In
  • In-N-Out Burger
  • Whataburger
  • Potbelly
  • Dairy Queen
  • Arby’s
  • Smashburger

Fast food brands are known for their milkshakes, and some of them charge as much as $7 for a shake. But that’s a bargain compared to the $100 shake that Serendipity3 introduced back in 2018. Called The Luxe, it was served in a crystal-studded glass and garnered a Guinness World Record designation and a big serving of media buzz.

Further proof that milkshakes are stylin’ is this article from Cosmopolitan that reports on fave milkshakes in every state.

And, although the sweet treats contain some amount of nutrients, they range in calories from 300-500 calories without toppings and booze.

MULO brands will continue to shake up their industries, experimenting with new tastes and offering more options for consumers. Be sure to search “Milkshakes near me” to see what’s new and next.

Shakes have come a long way over the last century!




Nancy A Shenker, senior editor with Street Fight, is a former big brand (Citibank, Mastercard, Reed Exhibitions) marketing strategist and leader. She has been featured in, the New York Times and Forbes.