a chocolate and strawberry milkshake with lots of extra toppings

Monster Milkshakes, Outrageous Profits

Attention-grabbing treats offer operators family-friendly and boozy options.

How sweet would it be to have a profit-building, Instagram-worthy menu item that’s both family-friendly and adult treat? Introduce your customers to monster milkshakes.

Call them what you want—mega shakes, over-the-top shakes, freakshakes—they convert ordinary milkshakes into eye candy using a versatile array of easy to stockpile ingredients. Some assembly required.

“We’re all looking for something that can bring a great profit line, and milkshakes are one of those things,” says Tina Calhoon, owner of Frescos in Lakeland, Florida, “A milkshake may have $1.50 of our cost, and then we may stick another $3.00 of other things on it and sell it for $12 to $18.”

Chocolate or vanilla ice cream pureed with fresh fruit and piled high with whipped cream, sprinkles, breakfast cereal, lollipops, doughnuts, waffles, cookies, brownies … heads turn every time one comes to the table. Photos shared on social media generate buzz. Soon, everyone wants in on the fun.

They’re sweet, sticky and family-friendly. Calhoon adds a shot of Bailey’s Irish Cream or Kahlua for a $5 upcharge and they become an adult treat. She sells as many as 15 per day.

In the Detroit area, Garrido’s Bistro sells 60-80 shakes on summer weekend days. When the weather turns cooler, they make hot chocolate drinks with similar toppings. “Some people come in just for the shakes, then they see the food on the menu and order that, too,” says Garrido’s co-owner Vanessa Gonzalez.

Monster shakes are the perfect shareable. Their size makes them too big for one person, which fills tables. 

“If bar and grills or pubs are more family friendly, they draw more people in,” Calhoon says. “Families come in to eat and drink, so shakes are something for everyone to enjoy while it grows your business.”