Today’s consumers are drinking more coffee than ever before. According to Technomic’s 2017 Breakfast report, 57% of consumers’ away-from-home breakfast occasions include purchasing coffee; 66% of those coffee orders are hot or iced brewed coffee and 34% are specialty coffee beverages.
With 70% of consumers saying they’re more likely to purchase fresh-brewed coffee, it’s no wonder many c-store retailers have been working hard to up their coffee game. Here are 4 ways to increase repeat visits by upgrading coffee offerings.
1. Know what “fresh-brewed” means
The first step in upgrading a coffee program is ensuring that the coffee itself is fresh. But what does that even mean? Generally, the more recent the coffee was made, the better. While the answers to “how old is too old” will vary depending on who is asked, it’s safe to assume that coffee is best within an hour or two after it’s brewed—any longer than that, and its richness can become stale-tasting or burned (if being kept in a warming carafe).
Curtis’ brewing solutions help retailers know exactly how fresh their coffee is — with LED displays that communicate coffee freshness and volume at a glance, retailers can take a quick look and know the moment that coffee should be rotated. Even better, Curtis’ dispensing systems, including the ThermoPro Server with Thermal FreshTrac, can alert employees when freshness has expired and it’s time for a new brew.
2. Use higher quality machinery
In a similar vein, using top-quality machinery can help boost consumers’ enjoyment of coffee offerings. By using equipment that holds coffee at its ideal temperature—never letting it get too hot or too cold—customers can expect every cup to taste consistently delicious. And when that happens, operators can expect a steady stream of regulars looking for their morning (or afternoon) joe.
Curtis’ newly introduced GemX IntelliFresh Brewer with FreshTrac is an advanced satellite brewing system that helps hold and maintain coffee’s freshness and temperature by delivering pulses of gentle heat to keep the coffee at a consistent temperature. Additionally, FreshTrac technology streamlines labor by alerting employees with a silent LED that signals when the coffee should be rotated.
Unlike coffee brewers and carafes of yesterday, today’s coffee brewers help ensure that every cup tastes rich and delicious—never burned, too strong or cold.
3. Consider other elements of an upgraded coffee bar
Beyond coffee freshness and temperature, though, consumers may be looking for other options. Whether it’s iced coffee in the summertime or pumpkin spice creamer during the fall season, each customer has individual preferences that operators should consider. Beyond stepping up the quality of brewed hot coffee, retailers should consider offering other formats of coffee, such as iced coffee or cold brew.
Additionally, offering flavor syrups and a variety of creamers can help pique customers’ interest. According to Technomic’s 2017 Breakfast report, the top flavors for coffee are vanilla, mocha/chocolate, caramel, hazelnut and cinnamon, while the top milk/creamer choices are coffee creamer, half-and-half, whole milk, almond milk and coconut milk. Letting customers customize their beverage can help boost repeat visits, since they’ll be looking forward to crafting their cup just the way they like it.
4. Don’t forget promotion
According to Technomic’s recent Beverage report, consumers went to c-stores most often for their beverage orders—an average of 6.2 times per month. While visit frequency like that might make it seem like promotion isn’t important, that’s simply not the case. Customers might have a favorite product at your store, but that doesn’t mean they’ll recognize or notice a new offering such as upgraded equipment, new flavors of creamer or seasonal blends of coffee. Make sure top-of-pump signage is clear and visible, and don’t forget to post in-store signage indicating the changes in coffee program offerings as well.
Upgrading a c-store’s coffee program doesn’t have to be complicated or difficult—in fact, simply ensuring freshness with the use of upgraded equipment, offering different varieties of coffee (including hot, iced, cold-brew and more) and add-ons like flavored creamers and posting adequate signage all contribute to getting more customers in the door every day. Don’t underestimate the power of a good cup of coffee—it’s what your customers are looking for when they stop in.
To learn more about how Curtis can help take your coffee program to the top, visit https://www.wilburcurtis.com/.