Weather Watch

Summer weather boosts frozen yogurt sales in San Luis Obispo

Peter and Laura Shaker with their children Amanda, 6, Helen, 8, and Benjamin, 11. The Shakers own Snofari Frozen Yogurt in San Luis Obispo.
Peter and Laura Shaker with their children Amanda, 6, Helen, 8, and Benjamin, 11. The Shakers own Snofari Frozen Yogurt in San Luis Obispo. Courtesy Photo

Weather conditions affect all of us — from the clothes we choose to wear to how we spend our days. Weather-related changes can also impact the types of food we eat or if we stay home, go out to a restaurant or visit a food truck.

People who work in restaurants know that their business is influenced by external factors such as weather. In fact, a study by www.blueskylocal.com claimed that 75 percent of U.S. restaurants see drops in sales of at least 10 percent because of negative changes in the weather. If it’s stormy, many people often decide to stay home. It may seem counterintuitive, especially in drizzly Seattle, but coffee houses report a significant decrease in sales when it rains, although temperatures don’t seem to affect the number of cups of java they sell.

Even through air temperatures may not affect coffee sales, I always thought that hot and sunny days could generate more demand for ice cream and frozen yogurt. This assumption might depend on where you live in the country.

Data from Culinary Operations at Harvard University Dining Services indicated that consumption of ice cream and frozen yogurt is nearly constant year-round, with an increase during exam time.

In other words, heat and humidity don’t seem to affect frozen concoction consumption on campus, which I found a bit of a surprise. However, local frozen yogurt shops near campus reported they are busiest in May, the end of July and August. Similar to Harvard’s affect on Cambridge, Massachusetts, the schedules of Cuesta College and Cal Poly students also influence food sales.

In San Luis Obispo, few things hit the spot like frozen yogurt or ice cream on a hot day. According to Peter Shaker, who owns Snofari Frozen Yogurt in the Laguna Village Shopping Center in SLO, there is a direct correlation between temperature and frozen yogurt sales. He says serves more yogurt when it’s hot than when it’s cold. He also pointed out that there are other factors, such as rain, that reduce yogurt sales. One way he’s found to mitigate lower yogurt sales on rainy days is to offer customers the chance to guess the weight of their yogurt. If you guess correctly on a rainy day, you get it for free.

Peter told me that as a small local business, he focuses on serving the community. Not only does he sell frozen yogurt, but he also serves gelato, Italian ice, custard and gelati, which is Italian ice mixed with vanilla custard and Sweet 8 yogurt that is safe for most diabetics.

With the warm to hot weather forecast on Sunday through next week, frozen yogurt and ice-cream shops throughout the Central Coast should see a significant increase in sales.

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This Week’s PG&E Safety Tip: Stay cool — temperatures are forecast to rise again this week. When temperatures are unusually high, avoid strenuous activities in hot, direct sunlight and drink plenty of water. Pay attention to your body. Muscle cramps, dizziness and nausea may be signs of a heat-related illness.

John Lindsey is Pacific Gas and Electric Co.’s Diablo Canyon Power Plant marine meteorologist and a media relations representative. Email him at pgeweather@pge.com or follow him on Twitter @PGE_John.

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