It’s no secret that since the pandemic began, consumer preferences have shifted and operators have faced new challenges. Now as consumers are more comfortable returning to in-person visits amid pandemic recovery, operators continue to experience lasting challenges and changes. What are these challenges, and how can c-store operators navigate these challenges to attract consumers by utilizing a bean-to-cup coffee program?
Every industry has experienced a volatile labor market over the past 2+ years, and convenience has been no different. This complication resulted in unfilled positions and climbing expenses for operators, and continues into today. According to recent c-store data, even increasing wages did not improve employee turnover, and management turnover followed the same trend—nearly 7 out of 10 total separations were voluntary separations.
With elevated consumer expectations and growing competition on coffee across all foodservice segments, how do c-stores compete with little staff?
The answer here could be offering a bean-to-cup coffee program. With this program, machines brew coffee cup-by-cup from whole beans, eliminating the need for your staff to brew new batches throughout the day, or worry about stale coffee. Additionally, these bean-to-cup machines eliminate complex cleaning often experienced with older equipment. With today’s bean-to-cup equipment, cleaning is automated and only requires staff to follow directions on screen for a daily cleaning, at a predetermined time each day.
Sustainability and waste reduction
Sustainability continues to be a driving factor in terms of consumer purchase intent. According to the 2022 National Coffee Association Coffee Drinking Trends Report, 46% of consumers say a key driver when buying coffee in 2022 is the coffee is grown in an environmentally sustainable way. Other top purchase drivers include: the coffee is freshly roasted, a fair price is paid to farmers and the coffee is processed using natural methods.
Another concern around sustainability and coffee is what sustainable waste management looks like for coffee programs.
“Coffee programs of the past have traditionally produced a lot of waste,” said Megan Vargin, VP of Sales – Convenience/Retail at SEB Professional. “Employees would have to dump expired coffee, clean dispensers and then brew fresh coffee. This would occur multiple times a day. The great thing about SEB Professional’s bean-to-cup equipment—with brands Schaerer and Curtis—is you have no waste. Each cup is brewed on demand and only uses the amount of coffee needed for the size cup that is selected by the consumer.”
The effects of inflation have been felt across the globe, from rising prices of gas, food, goods and more. According to recently released industry data, convenience shoppers “have elevated expectations and every interaction, and will pick ‘winners’ and ‘losers’ in the face of inflation.”
What exactly does this mean for c-store operators and their coffee? How can a retailer make sure their store is top of mind when consumers look for top quality coffee at an affordable price? Operators will need to communicate both quality and value to consumers to pull customers in during all dayparts.
“The search for value starts before the shop,” according to recent c-store data, with “80% of shoppers digitally engaged and searching post-pandemic.” Operators should communicate through both in-store POP as well as digital influences that with the bean-to-cup coffee program they offer, shoppers can expect a consistent cup of coffee every pour with top quality guaranteed, because each cup is ground fresh from whole beans no matter the time of day they visit the store.
Bean-to-cup coffee programs not only satisfy consumers’ elevated coffee expectations, but offer value in a time of inflation across all industries.
Through offering a bean-to-cup coffee program, operators can expect to address today’s challenges of labor shortages, waste concerns, focus on sustainability and ongoing inflation. C-store consumers can enjoy an elevated coffee experience at a great value, which can help keep them coming back to their favorite establishment day in and day out. With over 40,000 bean-to-cup machines in the c-store space, SEB Professional—brands WMF, Schaerer and Curtis—can help elevate the c-store coffee program with the right equipment. Retailers can contact SEB Professional to discuss their coffee program via firstname.lastname@example.org
This post is sponsored by SEB Professional North America