At a time when the terms cold brew, nitro and bean-to-cup have the convenience-store industry buzzing, coffee programs are more competitive than ever. Retailers are pulling no punches, creating streamlined store models and operations, launching high-end coffee lines and developing oddball limited-time offers—anything to cater to caffeinating consumers.
With that innovation in mind, CSP explored how consumers rate some of the leading c-store brands’ coffee programs, as well as some of those at leading limited-service restaurants, using Technomic’s Consumer Brand Metrics program. “It is very telling that five of the 10 highest-rated chains for quality of coffee are c-stores,” said Robert Byrne, senior manager of consumer insights for Technomic. “The top quick-service restaurant (QSR) brands in this area are exclusively built around great coffee programs, and the degree to which c-stores compete in the minds of coffee consumers says a lot about the equity and strength of their offering.”
What follows are 25 c-store and QSR chains—out of 27 participating c-store brands and 55 participating QSRs (barring buffets) tracked in total—within Technomic’s Consumer Brand Metrics program that received the highest rating for their quality of coffee. (Scores ranged from 46.7% to 71.4% and are organized alphabetically by segment.) Consumer Brand Metrics surveys 700 recent customers per chain throughout the year to understand guest experience and brand usage.
By Brett Dworski and Alaina Lancaster