March 14, 2016

Jerusalem Artichoke Experiment

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At this point you’ve probably tried the new mushroom sandwich, the one we’re calling Sunchoke Mushroom. You might not know that it’s a bold experiment.

Did you know that Sunchokes are the same thing as Jerusalem Artichokes? They first appear in the written record around 1605 when Samuel de Champlain saw them in a Native American garden on Cape Cod. Yeah, that’s right, they were “discovered” here in MA.

Later they were avoided because people thought they caused leprosy (they don’t but they’re all nubby and strange looking).

Last little factoid, Sunchokes have nothing to do with Jerusalem. They are native to North America. The East coast in particular. It’s not exactly known how they got their name, but folks suspect it was a corruption of the Italian “girasole.”

We launched this sandwich a little more than a week ago, and since then it’s been our best selling sandwich (by dollars). It has a slight advantage there, in that it’s the only sandwich we’ve ever featured that has its own price. It’s also easily the most expensive sandwich we’ve ever sold. The Sunchoke Mushroom is priced at $10.28. Other sandwiches are priced at $7.47. But it’s almost winning by number of sandwiches. By units it has outsold every sandwich other than the Chickpea Fritter since introduction. And one day (3/9/16) it almost outsold the Chickpea Fritter. If we stop running out of it I think it will easily be our best selling sandwich.

It’s another one of these big bold moves that was met to little fan fare. But I’m not sure that’s a bad thing. I started wondering about variable sandwich pricing more than a year ago. When Ethan joined us one of his first tasks was to help us get a new version of the menu up that had prices after, rather than before the sandwich names. This was laying the track to have prices vary by sandwich.

But it’s a big step for us because day 1 at Clover I had 3 prices: $2 drinks, $3 sides, $4 sandwiches. That was it. There’s a lot I still love about that, but it made changing prices brutal. We waited more than 2 years, then when we did change prices it was from $4 to $5 for a sandwich, a huge overnight change.

So now we’re working to make price changes more flexible. We’re hoping that allows us to offer more fun sandwiches like the Sunchoke, that previously wouldn’t have fit our cost structure. So happy you’re all enjoying this so much. The feedback has been awesome. Keep it up!

 

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