After months of uncertainty, the current outlook for convenience-store coffee bars is all-around positive: Most consumers (60%) who commuted pre-pandemic are traveling to and from work again, according to Technomic’s 2020 C-Store Foodservice in the COVID-19 Environment report. The average consumer’s financial outlook is far more positive than it was in April, and fuel customer conversion is increased, according to Technomic’s Q3 2020 C-Store Consumer Marketbrief.
In short, customers have the motivation and the means to start grabbing a cup of joe at their favorite c-store again.
C-stores can expect foot traffic to pick up in the coming months—and they ought to prepare to make busy days a success. Here are three best practices for c-stores to maximize their coffee bar sales as demand continues to increase.
1. Ensure enough product is on hand
Now that many consumers’ daily routines have seen drastic changes and c-store operations have shifted to meet new priorities, predicting demand throughout the day can feel like a shot in the dark. Retailers may find themselves struggling to ensure there’s fresh coffee available for each customer who comes through their doors while avoiding preparing in excess and seeing coffee go to waste.
To help solve coffee waste and deliver signature coffee recipes all day long BUNN recommends a combination of batch brewing and bean-to-cup platforms they refer to as the Daypart Duo. The Infusion Series batch brewing system is outfitted with precision brewing controls to consistently deliver signature coffee to the morning rush. Operators can continue this flavor profile in the Fast Cup bean-to-cup machine that uses an exclusive brewing method to quickly achieve the same drip-coffee flavor profile. Batch-size options on the Infusion Series allow operators to brew just the right amount of fresh coffee during rush hour and other parts of the day, while the Fast Cup reduces waste by grinding and brewing single servings on demand.
2. Plan regular sanitation guidelines
While the prospect of busier days bodes well for sales, it simultaneously presents a challenge to maintaining social distancing in the store and to keeping high-touch areas clean. Ensuring customers feel comfortable in the c-store is crucial to continued sales in the coming months. For retailers, this may mean reassessing cleaning schedules to enforce more frequent cleanings and placing that schedule where customers can see it—providing visual proof that health and safety are top priorities.
Jamie Ratterman, Vice President of Product Management at BUNN, recommends keeping rigorous cleaning practices front and center: “Before, it was trying to keep cleaning behind the scenes,” she says, “but now it’s more about pulling that curtain back and publicly showing staff wiping surfaces down and cleaning. The goal is to put people’s minds at ease that steps and measures are being taken.”
While self-serve coffee bars speed up transactions, they are also high-touch areas. VirtualTOUCH and clean contact solutions from BUNN provide a much-needed answer to the self-serve dilemma.VirtualTOUCH is a touchless beverage dispensing experience wherein the customer can select and dispense their order from their smartphone. Anti-microbial film, Tap-Kins (single-use paper sleeves customers can slide over dispenser handles), and faucet adapters allow for reduced shared contact points.
3. Keep equipment in tip-top shape
Time is precious, especially during rush hours when quick transactions are the name of the game. Frequent or lengthy equipment malfunctions can mean long lines, crowded stores and lost sales. To prevent this, retailers should be proactive in choosing and maintaining top-quality equipment.
BUNNserve offers full-service support with comprehensive, customizable service packages for BUNN equipment and most dispensed beverage brands. Operators can maximize daily uptime and profitability with a wide range of capabilities including logistics and pre-installation services, planned maintenance, reactive service and repairs.
To learn more about how BUNN products can prepare c-stores to win on busy days ahead, visit https://commercial.bunn.com/more
This post is sponsored by BUNN