Successful Coffee Shops Adapt to Consumer Changes, Report Shows used location intelligence to study visitation patterns; strong companies change product offerings, expand into new markets
A report from examines shifts in coffee consumer behavior
Photograph: Shutterstock

Even though coffee is perhaps the most widely consumed beverage in the world and coffee shops’ resilience during a global pandemic and historic inflation isn’t too surprising, successful coffee chains know there’s more to it than relying on the drink’s popularity, according to a new report from

The report from the Los Altos, California-based location-analytics company examines shifts in coffee consumer behavior—and contains information valuable to convenience stores regarding attracting visitors and remaining innovative. used location intelligence to show how leading coffee shops are adapting to consumer changes, where coffee visitation patterns shifted post-pandemic, and what brands might pose a threat to established coffee behemoths.

Strong companies, the reported continued, are constantly adjusting branding strategies, changing product offerings and expanding into new markets to remain fresh and relevant.

“As the wider dining space adapts to changing consumer behavior, coffee shops may continue to face challenges in the coming months,” said. “But if the last few years are any indication, these chains will evolve to meet changing customer needs into 2023 and beyond.

Likewise, c-stores can—and have—adjusted. And, as Kesha Alexander of Supper Co. said at the recent CSP Dispensed Beverages Forum, QSR coffee is “ripe for the taking” for c-stores.

Key takeaways from the report:

Outdoing Dining: The coffee space is resilient, with coffee shop visits outpacing overall visits to dining destinations throughout 2022. Since January 2020, coffee’s COVID recovery regularly outperformed that of the overall dining industry, said. “The success of the space may be thanks to, and not in spite of, the recent economic challenges brought about by rising commodity costs,” said. “With many consumers feeling the strain of inflation, going out for a meal might feel like too steep of a splurge—but picking up a coffee can be an affordable indulgence.”

Behavior Deviation: Consumers have shifted coffee consumption preferences in recent years, and the share of daily visits to coffee shops between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. has grown since 2019. “Several factors may be driving the shift, but coffee shops can take note and build out their lunch menus to better cater to these midday customers,” said.

The rise in these visits might be due to people looking for a midday pick-me-up or to hybrid workers seeking a place to feel more creative, said. In addition, the shift in visit times is a great opportunity to increase sales via expanded lunch offerings.

“With the growth in late morning and early afternoon visits, these brands can tap into the market of customers looking for a convenient and comfortable place to grab a bite alongside their coffee or tea,” said.

The analysis by found that between Q1 2022 and Q1 2023, there were more weekday visitors to Dunkin’, Dutch Bros, Starbucks and Tim Hortons—an indication that “the shift from remote work to hybrid work is driving some of the recent visitation shift.”

Youth Movement: Chains are reaching younger customers, who are driving c-store dispensed beverage growth. As an example, said that Dunkin’ has been targeting younger coffee drinkers. “By featuring Gen Z influencers and offering a product selection that fits their tastes, the chain saw the median age within its trade areas drop by 7.2% between Q1 2019 and Q1 2023,” said.

Space for Small: Smaller, regional chains are thriving. There is space for smaller brands to thrive, and there is no single strategy to success. “In the Midwest, Scooter’s Coffee has been steadily expanding its visit share by leaning into drive-thrus and franchising, while Black Rock Coffee Bar has grown in the Southwest through its emphasis on community and company-owned stores,” said.

More CSP Dispensed Beverages Forum news can be found here.

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