April Fool's: Restaurant brands get in on the fun

April 1, 2014 | by Cherryh Cansler

The creation of a "clear coffee," an edible pizza box, a kale shake and a shortage of avocados were just a few of the April Fool's jokes playing out via social media today, courtesy of restaurant brands. 

Here is a roundup of some of the best pranks (if they really are, indeed, pranks):

Boloco's Guacapocalypse

The Mexican fast casual restaurant sent an email to fans and tweeted today that the rising price of avocados was leading to a shortage and would cause the chain to stop serving its guacamole. The "#Guacapocalypse" fooled several fans via twitter and email.

Artemis Mahvi ‏@ArtemisSM 22m
#guacapocalypse is real. Almost got me there @boloco

Marissa Lowe ‏@marissa_lowe 24m
@boloco You almost gave me a heart attack this morning! #guacapocalypse But that may have been the best joke all day...

Victoria ‏@124VictoriaRoad 55m
My favorite part of April Fools' Day is reading my email from @boloco! If only I had one in western Massachusetts so I could #guacapocalypse

White Castle's two-story apartment building

The Columbus Underground website reported today that White Castle was planning to build a six-story development in the Short North arts district in Columbus, Ohio.

The proposed building," The Residences at Crave Castle," would replace a White Castle restaurant but allow it to remain a tenant on the first floor of the building.

"The aroma of delicious White Castle burgers wafting up into the upper floors of the building... we think it's a great amenity, something that will really set this project apart from the many other offerings in the neighborhood," the story said. 

Caribou's clear coffee

Caribou Coffee released a national press release announcing the creation of its new clear coffee in response to a "survey" that said coffee drinkers are concerned that the dark drink is ruining their teeth and shirts.

The press release said the chain developed Clear Coffee, a proprietary new coffee blend that has removed the color while retaining all the flavor. Thanks to an innovation in bean cultivation techniques and processing, Caribou has been able to produce an entirely colorless, stain-free beverage, the company claimed.

"It's a game changer," said CEO Mike Tattersfield. "Caribou Coffee has always been an innovator in the coffee market, so naturally this was the next step. And we knew April 1 was the perfect day to share this new beverage innovation with the world."

The brand even created an infographic and set up a website for the "launch," at CaribouClearCoffee.com.

Ivar's proclaims April Fool's Day as its own

Seattle seafood chain Ivar's is famous for its practical jokes, publicity stunts and endless puns, so much so, that the city of Seattle has officially declared April 1, 2014 to be "Ivar's Fools' Day!" The official proCLAMation by Mayor Ed Murray is in recognition of company "flounder" Ivar Haglund's knack for a good prank, a tradition the company has carried on for more than 75 years and still maintains as part of its culture today by playing many memorable April 1 gags, according to a company press release.

Ivar Haglund has staged a number of pranks in his time, making him a Seattle legend synonymous with creative mischief, the release said. Some of his most famous public stunts include:

  • Placing the aquarium's Patsy the Seal in a baby buggy and strolling him to Frederick & Nelson to visit Santa Claus in 1940;
  • Issuing a clam postage stamp in 1960 to combat Maine's sardine stamp (the clam stamp was later revoked by the U.S. Postal Service);
  • Turning a messy 1945 situation into a slick photo opportunity by wading into a large syrup spill outside the restaurant caused by a derailed train car. With a stack of pancakes in hand and surrounded by a crowd of reporters – Haglund declared, "Eat at Ivar's. We don't spare the syrup!"

"Ivar Haglund was quite a character," said Bob Donegan, president and co-owner of Ivar's. "He publically carried out these capers, while behind the scenes there was never a dull day at the restaurant. We will certainly continue to entertain our fans and carry on his spirit at every chance we get."

Edible pizza box

Domino's UK came up with its new "Snackaging" technology — an edible pizza box. According to the Domino's UK website, the creation of the #DominosEdibox was inspired by the crust, which is "overwhelmingly the most popular part of the pizza experience."

"With every future Domino's delivery, you'll see the Edibox upgrade option: double the dough to enjoy alongside double the glorious garlic and herb dip. And the best bit? You won't have to fight to fit that square box into a round bin – this is a waste-free dining experience," the company said.

The Kale Shake

And finally, Sonic Drive-In today announced on its Facebook page that it will rollout its new "Kale Cream Pie Shake" this summer. Some of the brand's fans have cried "April Fool's," but Sonic insists it's real, and part of its upcoming 25 Summer of Shakes promotion. The company even created a video featuring Mackenzie Gibson, director of Culinary Innovation, showing how to make the unusual shake.

"It is going to be refreshing, beautiful and indulgent," she said. The Kale Shake may seem like a prank, but CEO Cliff Hudson said last week that chocolate jalapeno shakes will be on the menu this summer, so who knows?

Alicia Kelso contributed to this story.

Photo: Courtesy of Domino's UK.

Guac photo:Courtesy of Wikipedia

Topics: Marketing / Branding / Promotion , Online / Mobile / Social

Cherryh Cansler / Before joining Networld Media Group as director of Editorial, where she oversees Networld Media Group's nine B2B publications, Cherryh Cansler served as Content Specialist at Barkley ad agency in Kansas City. Throughout her 17-year career as a journalist, she's written about a variety of topics, ranging from the restaurant industry and technology to health and fitness. Her byline has appeared in a number of newspapers, magazines and websites, including Forbes, The Kansas City Star and American Fitness magazine. She also serves as the managing editor for FastCasual.com.
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