Sister ice cream concepts Marble Slab Creamery and Maggie Moo’s have shifted their pricing structure to allow for unlimited mix-ins at a fixed price.

To help boost sales, the company asked franchisees of the more than 500 Marble Slab Creamery and Maggie Moo’s units to reduce their prices to between $2.99 and $5.99, depending on the size, for a treat with unlimited mix-ins. At the same time, the company trained staff to modulate the amount of each mix-in depending on how many were ordered: The more mix-ins, the less of each one was to be used.

The new structure was quietly rolled out in January and will be promoted starting in March.

The change was in response to declining transaction counts at the chains, according to Allison Lauenstein, vice president of ice cream brands for Global Franchise Group, which franchises the two ice cream concepts, as well as Great American Cookies and Pretzelmaker.

“We started to do some pricing research a little over a year ago, and what we found was that our prices were extremely high compared to our competitors for comparable products,” Lauenstein said. She added that consumers felt that the chains’ “value proposition was out of whack.”

Previously, Marble Slab Creamery and Maggie Moo’s allowed customers to mix just one item into an ice cream order at no extra charge and charged an additional 69 cents to 79 cents added for every extra mix-in. The result was sticker shock at the cash register that reduced customer satisfaction, according to Lauenstein.

The new pricing had been tested previously at 15 units, and Lauenstein said the result was a 15-percent increase in transactions at a food cost similar to the one under the previous pricing structure, along with improved customer satisfaction.

“It changed the conversation with the customer,” Lauenstein said. “It immediately allowed us to get at that value proposition, which was broken.”

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