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.