Make Your C-Store a Breakfast Destination

Freshness, convenience, value are key

breakfast and coffee to-go

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Sitting down to a relaxing breakfast with all the fixings can be a true indulgence. But for the millions of consumers who need something a bit more fast-paced, convenience-store breakfasts offer a great solution.

Grab-and-go breakfast items are perfect for on-the-go eating, and growth in the category means consumers have more convenient, portable options than ever before.

C-store retailers can capitalize on consumers’ need for convenience by ensuring that breakfast programs are strong—and part of any strong breakfast program is, of course, the coffee bar. According to Technomic’s 2016 Beverage Consumer Trend Report, powered by Ignite, 65% of consumers say they ordered coffee at least once in the past month, but beyond offering a hot, fresh cup of joe, what can retailers do to ensure success?

Elements of a great coffee program

In Technomic’s 2017 Value & Pricing Consumer Trend Report, powered by Ignite, consumers report on the attributes that they believe define quality, and 75% of consumers say freshness is key for creating a good value. With that in mind, c-stores certainly benefit from serving fresh-brewed coffee.

Beyond freshness, though, consumers also place importance on the ability to customize their beverages. According to Technomic’s 2016 Bakery & Coffee Café Consumer Trend Report, powered by Ignite, 55% of consumers say the ability to customize their beverage order is important when choosing which coffee cafe to visit, and this logic can apply to c-store offerings as well. Options such as nondairy and flavored creamers, as well as plant-based milks allow consumers to customize their drinks.

Coffee is key for breakfast

Coffee is, without a doubt, the most popular breakfast beverage. In Technomic’s 2015 Breakfast Consumer Trend Report, 60% of consumers say they purchase brewed coffee for breakfast at least occasionally.

While drip coffee is the best seller, hot specialty coffee and iced regular coffee are also popular, with 22% and 16% of consumers ordering them at least occasionally, respectively. Offering a variety of options for consumers to choose from, while again giving them the opportunity to customize with flavors and add-ins, will help ensure customers are satisfied with c-store coffee offerings.

Increasing sales with breakfast combos

To increase sales during breakfast hours, loyalty programs can help, as can offering breakfast food combos with coffee drinks. In the Technomic Bakery & Coffee Cafe Report, 41% of consumers say available food and beverage combos would encourage them to purchase food during beverage-only orders. Retailers can harness that inclination by offering combo meals of a breakfast baked good—such as a doughnut or muffin—with a coffee drink. Hot breakfast items, such as grab-and-go breakfast sandwiches, can also drive breakfast traffic.

Convenience may be key at c-stores when it comes to breakfast, but that doesn’t mean consumers want to skimp on a great-tasting, healthful breakfast. In the Bakery & Coffee Cafe Report, 36% of consumers said better-tasting food would encourage them to buy food, while 32% say healthier options would encourage them.

To create a strong breakfast and coffee program at c-stores, retailers need to take into account what consumers want most: freshness, customization options, convenience and a good value. With fresh-brewed coffees, a variety of add-ins and combo options, c-stores can enjoy an increase in breakfast sales.