Perk Up Your Coffee Bar

Upgrades to c-store coffee bars are easier than they appear

While some coffee drinkers are content to stick with their faithful drip coffee every morning, others will line up to try the newest iteration of their favorite cup. Cold brew and the newer nitro coffee are taking over bit by bit, with appearances in convenience stores becoming more common every day.

coffee to go

Coffee drinkers are turning to cold brew for its smooth and rich flavor, and consumer interest in specialty coffee drinks is on the rise: According to Technomic’s 2016 Beverage Consumer Trend Report, 26% of consumers purchased a cold/iced or blended coffee dispensed or made from scratch in the past month.

Making upgrades to c-store coffee bars is easier than it appears, too. Mathew Mandeltort, Vice President-Foodservice Insights at Eby-Brown, spoke to the growing popularity of new iterations of coffee. He says, “More and more, consumers are seeking out new ways to get their caffeine fix. Cold brew and nitro coffee are both delicious and unique preparations, and I expect them both to become more ubiquitous in the coming years.”

BUNN showcased a forthcoming cold-brew and nitro coffee dispenser at this year’s National Restaurant Association Show. Their machine makes dispensing these new coffee preparations a breeze—this self-serve option is perfect for on-the-go consumers.

What’s more, consumers are increasingly interested in high-tech ways to get their caffeine fix. According to Technomic’s 2017 Convenience Store Consumer Marketbrief, 59% of consumers said they would like to customize coffee beverages with a touchscreen ordering system.

That doesn’t mean operators need to implement expensive, futuristic ordering systems, but it’s important to know that many consumers are interested in finding new ways to enjoy their favorite drink. It’s crucial for retailers to keep an eye on trends making their way through foodservice establishments so that they can be ready to strike while the iron is hot and offer customers interesting new products.

For instance, in Technomic’s 2016 Convenience Store Consumer Marketbrief, 32% of consumers 18-34 said they purchase cold-brew coffee at least occasionally, so it can be beneficial to offer it in stores, especially since its popularity is expected to grow even more in the coming months and years.

Offering new coffee styles, flavors and roasts can keep customers coming back. For instance, the top five flavors of coffee currently being offered in c-stores are vanilla, hazelnut, chocolate, mocha and caramel. Popular roasts include Brazilian, Guatemalan, Colombian, Ethiopian or French. These roasts provide consumers different levels of richness to choose from, and can also be marketed as premium blends, particularly if fair-trade or organic options are available.

“It’s important to give consumers the option to try new things on a regular basis,” says Sharon Kuncl, Vice President of Foodservice Merchandising and Strategy at Eby-Brown. “Whether that’s a different roast than they’re used to, new flavor syrups or creamers, or something else entirely, the end goal is the same—to keep customers coming back.”

Consumers enjoy variety, and while many people are creatures of habit, many others look for the next big thing when they purchase food and beverages away from home. By upgrading your c-store’s coffee-bar offerings, you’ll be able to attract customers with what they want—new and trendy items, tasty flavors and delicious roasts.

This post is sponsored by Eby-Brown

Want breaking news at your fingertips?

Get today’s need-to-know convenience industry intelligence. Sign up to receive texts from CSP on news and insights that matter to your brand.