Winter weather brings mixed economic results
COLUMBIA - As winter weather reaches a snowy peak, some restaurants are faring better than others.
When the temperature drops, so do the ice cream sales in the Midwest, according to a survey conducted by a consumer market research firm. The NPD Group found that from June to August, restaurant customers are 3.36 times more likely to purchase ice cream than they are from December to February.
Jon Rhodenbaugh, assistant manager at Andy's Frozen Custard in Columbia, has seen this trend firsthand. The restaurant cuts back on the number of employees that work during winter months, and reduces the hours that Andy's is open.
Other restaurants in Columbia do not have the same results during the winter months. Lakota Coffee customer Caroline Goessing said that her favorite coffee shop is busier during the winter, probably due to the appeal of hot coffee on a cold day.
"Definitely when it's colder I like to drink hot beverages," Goessing said.
As a regular at Lakota, Goessing said that she often has to scope out her favorite table in the winter, because it is often taken by someone else when she first goes in.
Barista Abi Leibovich said that winter nights bring in lots of students trying to study and stay warm.
Lakota's armchairs and coffee may be a draw for some students during winter, but Andy's regular Haley Willis said that no matter the weather, dedicated ice cream enthusiasts can be found. From the comfort of a warm car in the parking lot, Willis speaks with finality while holding her empty peanut butter concrete.
"If you're a committed customer, it doesn't matter," Willis said.
Rhodenbaugh agrees that many customers are not deterred by the winter weather.
"We have a running joke that we must put something in the custard because we have no idea why people come in the winter," Rhodenbaugh said. "Snow or no snow, we're here and we're serving custard."
[Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct the misspelling of a name.]