We’re always happy when we figure out what’s next – and then our Guests agree! We’ve tried a lot of things over the years – new activities, flavors of ice cream, menu items and more. Some have been a big hit, some not (and we stop doing those quickly!). Here are a few stories.
Cookie Dough Ice Cream – when a fellow ice cream dipper named Jenny first approached me about a new flavor of ice cream idea, I didn’t think it would sell. This was in the mid-1980’s – just a few years after we started making ice cream in our batch freezers on the farm. I told her we already had a flavor with cookies in it – Cookies & Cream – and who would buy ice cream with raw cookie dough in it?!
Jenny was very persistent, and kept pestering me about this flavor, so one day we made a batch of 5 gallons. Of course, you know the story at this point – turns out a lot of Guests liked Cookie Dough – it’s now usually the number one or number two flavor we dip on cones, every year!
Buffalo Cheddar Deep Fried Curds – we were just about one year into making our deep fried cheddar cheese curds – and they were selling well. We thought we had a winner and the sales kept growing as a nice side choice at both of our restaurants. Meanwhile, a few times a year we hold an event with about a dozen Staff at Young’s called Great Tastes of Young’s. Each of us cooks something for each other, and then we rate it. Craig, a new manager (just a few months into his job) at his first Great Tastes of Young’s came up with Buffalo Cheddar Cheese Curds (pictured above) – we all loved it and we immediately put it on the menu. It was, and is, a hit. This caused us a year or so later (at another Great Tastes of Young’s) to discover Sweet Chili Deep Fried Breaded Cheddar Curds.
Sea Salty Caramel Ice Cream – this flavor is what I refer to as our first Facebook® flavor! One day about five years ago I posted on our Facebook® page – “What flavor of ice cream do you like that Young’s does not make?” We got 100’s of responses, many that referred to some version of a caramel ice cream that had salt added. We had never heard of this flavor, but it sounded intriguing and it was mentioned so many times. We investigated – found a couple places dipping this flavor, tasted it and immediately created our recipe and got it on the menu. This flavor is now consistently in the top 15 flavors we make each year (out of close to 100 flavors of ice cream and gelato made each year).
A few other ideas that have come from Staff or Guests over the years include Buttermilk Chicken, Chicken & Dumplins, Chocolate Fudge Brownie ice cream, Grandma’s Meatloaf, and our Homemade Chili recipe.
Of course, every list like this also has a few that did not work so well. Some of these include a Marshkin Sundae, pick your own strawberries, Orange Macaroon ice cream, P-Nut Butter & Jelly ice cream, Maple Waffles & Bacon (another Facebook® flavor – that did not work!) and the first two recipes for our Deep Fried Breaded Cheese Curds!
We always are looking to new tastes and activity ideas. We know we are only as good as you – our Guests – think we are. Our aim is to keep ahead of you just a little with new stuff to do and taste!