Coffee Reimaging Best Practices – Part 1

Coffee Reimaging Best Practices – Part 1 - GSP

A great-looking coffee bar is a c-store’s best friend. Just look at some of the numbers: According to Gas Buddy, c-stores rated as having “excellent coffee” receive 12.5% more traffic in the morning. Did you know that c-stores outperform the rest of the foodservice industry in hot dispensed beverage sales (55% vs. 33% of dollars spent)? Plus, coffee drinkers spend more on foodservice than any other demographic. Almost 70% also buy a donut or something to go with their cup of joe. It’s no wonder that hot dispensed beverages generate some of the highest gross profit margins in the entire store. Yes, coffee is definitely a c-store traffic driver.

3-pronged Approach

The key to driving profit is having the right product, presentation and promotion in place. Most c-stores already have their product offering down pat with equipment that rivals the best coffee shop in town. So we’ll concentrate on the other two, presentation and promotion, to help you grab customers away from the QSRs and other competition. Here are 10 ideas to help you shine:

  1. “Cleanliness is as important as convenience,” to quote a key takeaway from the 2018 Hot Dispensed Beverages Forum in Chicago. As a best practice, NACS magazine reports that Rutter’s has been assigning a “coffee host” during peak hours to interact with customers, keep supplies well stocked and counters wiped down.
  2. Let customers be their own baristas. Personalization is a big trend in retail right now. That custom cup of coffee with their name on it is probably the thing customers like most about high-end coffee shops. But by adding counter space with neatly organized flavor shots, creamers and toppings next to your roasts, you have all of the same DIY ingredients. They just need room to experiment. According to CSP, 41% of customers said they’d buy c-store coffee if there were flavored creamers at the ready.
  3. Use professional food photography to really showcase your coffee program in its best light. It can be used on menu boards, wall décor and POP.
  4. Since you know that 70% will buy something to go with their coffee, cross-promote bakery and snack items in your coffee POP to increase basket size.
  5. Millennials respond well to value pricing and bundles. Remember, they’ve grown up with dollar menus and Groupon.
  6. Keep the LTOs coming. 42% of consumers say that seasonal menu items inspired them to purchase.
  7. Think of coffee as an afternoon pick-me-up, too. Millennials are more likely to splurge on whipped cream-topped coffee beverages in the afternoon (usually instead of buying lunch).
  8. Build loyalty with a punch card program that gives customers an incentive to return. Or try a BOGO. Remember, millennials like to share. Maybe they’ll get their entire office hooked on your brand, one extra cup at a time.
  9. Start talking about coffee at the pump to drive traffic into the store. Customers spend almost five minutes refueling so they have time to read and savor a longer brand message. Millennials have elevated coffee into a beloved ritual so use romantic copy to describe what makes your blends special as well as eye-catching photography.
  10. Come back for part 2 of our blog to see the top coffee reimaging design trends that will make your program really stand out.