3 Ways to Boost Coffee Sales

How GasBuddy’s top five c-stores are pushing caffeine

Earlier this month, GasBuddy announced the gas station and c-store chains that ranked highest in categories its users can rate within the GasBuddy app. Results were based on more than 7 million consumer generated ratings and included 131 different c-store brands with 30 locations or more.

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By taking a closer look at how the top five in the coffee category are serving their caffeine-craving customers, retailers can learn how to better capture consumers’ coffee dollars.  Here are just a few things these chains are doing to help grow share of wallet.

Coffee-Centric Promotions

During the month of March, caffeine champions Wawa treated members of its rewards program to “Free Coffee Fridays” if they downloaded the app and added a gift card. Runner-up KwikTrip allows customers to earn points for food and beverage purchases when they use their Kwik Bucks card to buy fuel.

This shows that loyalty is key. A recent survey by marketing intelligence agency Mintel found that 36% of c-store coffee consumers would like to see loyalty programs where they shop.

Quality and Quantity

Some retailers have been brewing big coffee sales by investing in high-quality espresso machines, temperature-controlled urns and globally sourced beans. From Wawa’s eight hot coffee flavors and varieties to third-place winner QuikTrip’s latte, mocha and Americano options, c-store coffee offerings are increasingly mirroring coffee shops and bakery-cafes.

Upping coffee quality and variety may help land more of the largest U.S. demographic—millennials. Mintel discovered that millennials, unlike their parents, are more focused on the coffee experience than on price and enjoy sweeter coffee options as a treat any time of day.


Many c-stores still recognize the convenience and speed of the self-serve model, but a offering made-to-order drinks is helping retailers attract more foot traffic. Number-five ranked Sheetz’s in-store coffee experience includes a touchscreen menu and drinks prepared on the spot. Customers who want to experience Sheetz coffee on lazy weekends can buy a bag of the chain’s coffee to brew at home.

Building your brand’s reputation for stellar coffee is a win-win. Consumers only need to make one stop for both kinds of morning fuel and retailers get customers from the pumps to the store, where they just might pick up other food items to go with that steaming hot cup of java.

This post is sponsored by GasBuddy

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