Cinnabon Is Intentionally Controlling Your Brain With That Famous Cinnamon Bun Scent
Everyone who has ever walked through a mall or airport in the U.S. knows the hypnotic smell of Cinnabon. You might not want a Cinnabon–you might even know for a fact that you do not enjoy the taste of Cinnabons–but as soon as you are within 10 feet of a Cinnabon store that smell hits you and an animal part of your brain wakes up and says, “Man, I could really use a Cinnabon.”
And it turns out that is completely intentional. According to Eater, Cinnabon goes out of its way to blast passersby with the intense and unmistakable Cinnabon scent that lures customers into its stores. For example, Cinnabon units put ovens close to the front of the stores so as much of the scent escapes out the front as possible. Cinnabon president Kat Cole said they tried putting the ovens in the back at a test location, and sales dropped significantly without that mind-controlling aroma to bring in the customers.
The stores make sure cinnamon rolls are made at least every 30 minutes, and franchisees are instructed to buy the “weakest hood possible” that is legal to use with their ovens, so as to let more of that golden aroma suffuse the area around the store. Some Cinnabon units even throw cinnamon and brown sugar onto baking sheets and cook those, just to generate more scent.
The customer-seducing aroma is so integral to Cinnabon’s sales that it even influences menu development. The chain intentionally stays away from rolling out any menu items with scents like garlic or onion that might compete with the smell of the cinnamon rolls.
People just love that Cinnabon smell. As Eater points out, there’s even a Cinnabon-scented air freshener, which seems like the olfactory equivalent of putting subliminal messages in your home movies.
Cinnabon knows what its signature scent does to people, and it's going to milk that power for all its worth. So if you have to pass a Cinnabon, you might want to take a deep breath and run if you do not want to succumb to temptation and find yourself ordering an 8-pack of cinnamon rolls and a frozen coffee drink.