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Salt & Straw churns out a new ice cream topping: Perfume

Marketing Bites: No, it’s not an April Fool’s joke; plus, White Castle pushes late night, Nando’s celebrates its South African heritage and more marketing news of the week.
Salt & Straw edible perfume
Photo courtesy of Salt & Straw
Marketing Bites

Welcome to RB’s weekly roundup of the latest developments in restaurant marketing.

Very occasionally, a press release crosses the wire that inspires me to immediately e-mail the PR person and ask, “Is that for real? Like, seriously?”

Such is the case with premium ice cream chain Salt & Straw, which announced Wednesday the addition of “Culinary Perfume” as its newest ice cream topping. The edible spritz will be offered up for free at the chain’s 27 scoop shops on Sunday, in honor of National Ice Cream Day.

“We’ve been stuck on sprinkles and whipped cream for the past 100 years,” Tyler Malek, the chain’s co-founder and “head ice cream innovator,” said in the press release. “I’m fascinated with the fact that you can’t actually smell ice cream and that seemed like too big of an opportunity to just let lie.”

Salt & Straw worked with Portland, Ore.-based craft perfume brand Imaginary Authors on the three varieties of culinary perfume. They are A Cloud of Cocoa (“rich and robust, combining a luxurious smoky warmth with malty cocoa”), A Plume of Blooms (“evoking a euphoric spell of untamed blossoms in late spring”) and A Swoon of Citrus (described as “intense and subtle” and “energizingly juicy”).

After National Ice Cream Day, Culinary Perfume will be 50 cents per spritz. It’s also available to buy in stores in a 65-ml bottle ($65) or a sampler pack of three, 10-ml bottles ($48).

Customers are encouraged to mix and match the scents with Salt & Straw’s inventive ice cream offerings such as Pear & Blue Cheese, Arbequina Olive Oil and Goat Cheese Marionberry Habanero.

It sounds a little bonkers, but given consumer demand for experiential dining right now, the spritz is likely a good way to score a little upcharge with each scoop.

Plus, it could have a secondary use: If you can’t smell the robust odor of A Cloud of Cocoa or the wild waft of A Plume of Blooms, you likely have COVID.

White Castle becomes ‘Night Castle’

White Castle, long known as the spot to grab some late-night sliders to soak up a few too many cocktails (What? Don’t judge; you’ve done it, too), is leaning in to that after-hours reputation.

The burger chain this week debuted a line of Night Castle-branded merchandise and packaging.

White Castle

Night Castle packaging / Photo courtesy of White Castle

The 20-slider “Crave Clutch” now features a Night Castle design, as do soft drink cups. The packaging’s “scary eyes and teeth … inspire nighttime merrymaking,” the company said. (I am not entirely sure what such “merrymaking” entails.)

White Castle’s online merch portal, House of Crave, also now sells Night Castle apparel, including socks, a hoodie, a beanie, a glow-in-the-dark T-shirt and more.

Nando’s honors Mandela Day

South African-born Nando’s Peri-Peri will celebrate Mandela Day Monday by giving out free grilled chicken and chips from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at all U.S. locations—with a small catch.

Customers are encouraged to donate new school supplies at the restaurants to support underserved communities.

Mandela Day celebrates the legendary work of anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela, who fought for rights in South Africa for 67 years.

“Mandela Day holds a special place in our hearts, and we hope that Nando’s fans everywhere will embrace this iconic day of giving,” Sepanta Bagherpour, Nando’s chief brand officer, said in a statement.

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