With McDonald’s reporting strong sales of its Real Fruit Smoothies, Jamba Juice has moved to turn the tables on the burger giant for encroaching on its territory.
Jamba Juice said Monday it would honor any McDonald’s coupon for a Real Fruit Smoothie by giving customers the same discount printed on the offer through Aug. 15. The coupon offer follows a video posted last month on YouTube — in which Jamba advertised a fake Cheeseburger Chill Smoothie — that poked fun at McDonald's for straying too far from its roots.
McDonald's said its Real Fruit Smoothies have been strong sellers since debuting this summer, contributing to a 5.7-percent spike in U.S. same-store sales for July. Though it canceled plans last month for a national sampling event because of supply concerns, McDonald's said it has used coupons as part of its marketing mix to promote the new beverages.
“We continue to see unprecedented demand for our smoothies, far above our projections, and we hope that will continue," said McDonald's spokeswoman Ashlee Yingling. "We’re working very hard to become a beverage destination for our customers.”
When McDonald's introduced smoothies, Darren Tristano of Technomic speculated that the product could chip away at some market share from smoothie specialists like Jamba Juice and Smoothie King but also that those chains’ loyal fans would maintain their volume over the long haul.
“Over time,” Tristano told Nation’s Restaurant News, “[McDonald’s item] will make smoothies even more mainstream, and that will benefit all players.”
Jamba Juice, however, has declared war. Its Cheeseburger Chill Smoothie video has already been viewed more than 272,000 times, and the chain also has created a microsite dedicated to what it calls The Great Smoothie Showdown at www.cheeseburgerchill.com.
Jamba says on the site that it will honor McDonald's smoothie coupons and offers its own downloadable coupon for a $1 off any smoothie. The offer is good in select markets where McDonald’s coupons are distributed: New York City, Chicago, Denver, Miami, and Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and Sacramento, Calif.
Redeeming competitors’ coupons is similar to a move El Pollo Loco tried last year to counter the introduction of KFC’s grilled chicken. El Pollo Loco honored KFC coupons for a free piece of grilled chicken but admitted in August 2009 that the promotion, along with other discounts, ate away at sales, contributing to a 6.8-percent decline in same-store sales and a 4.9-percent decrease in revenue for the 2009 second quarter.
Contact Mark Brandau at [email protected].