Coffee is a standout in any convenience store product lineup, driving a healthy portion of morning traffic. And during the holidays, when competitors such as Starbucks, Dunkin’ and McDonald’s promote seasonal hot drink flavors, c-stores that want to keep customers coming back need to step up their game and promote their own spin on holiday drinks.
The holidays are a time for treats, indulgence, fun, tradition and nostalgia. Seasonal beverages have become part of that tradition, and the holiday season offers plenty of inspiration for innovation.
Pumpkin spice-flavored drinks by now have a cult following, but instead of following the herd, c-store cafes have a chance to offer alternatives that will drive traffic. Holiday alternatives to the ubiquitous flavor range across a broad spectrum, including:
- Spices—cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves are key ingredients in traditional holiday pastries and cookies; flavors such as snickerdoodle and praline remind coffee drinkers of childhood treats.
- Eggnog, which makes a brief appearance during the holidays; offering eggnog-flavored creamer is a way to riff on the classic.
- Chocolate, a year-round favorite; paired with mint, it takes on a cool-weather character.
- Peppermint, sometimes paired with white chocolate, evokes childhood memories.
- Marshmallows—not just for hot chocolate, they pair excellently with coffee.
- Maple-flavored blends with nutty notes, especially pecan, are a fall fixture.
Loyalty for holiday beverages is strong, but some coffee drinkers prefer flavor-spiked coffee year-round, not just during the holiday season. Technomic’s MenuMonitor finds that the most popular flavors are mocha, vanilla and caramel—marshmallow, coconut and almond are trending up.
Simply adding flavored coffee isn’t enough to keep customers coming in during the holiday season; this is a time to get creative with names and offer an extra treat to drive business—such as a coffee or tea combined with a seasonal bakery item such as Christmas cookies, pumpkin scones or cranberry muffins.
Equipped for success
The right equipment will ensure flavored drinks retain their consistent quality and freshness, especially important features for locations with many regulars throughout the day. Adding seasonal coffee drink flavors is a simple matter with Infusion Series® Platinum EditionTM by BUNN. Equipped with a large touchscreen and Visually Intuitive ProgrammingTM, these units also feature a USB port that simplifies recipe programming. The Soft Heat servers are ergonomic, lighter, and energy efficient, and they offer programmable holding times and temperatures. The servers also alert the staff when it’s time to brew a fresh batch.
Promoting seasonal flavors appeal to both c-store regulars and new customers who crave the taste of the holidays. Give your regulars a taste of the unexpected, and compete with local coffee shops with new and exciting flavors, creamers and more.
This post is sponsored by BUNN