Friday, April 14, 2006


only because you asked

long-time readers here know that i'm always happy to talk about beautiful specialty coffee, which tends to come most reliably from those who are pro members of the scaa and roasters guild. i will on occasion mention the large chains, like the mermaid or dunkin.

truly devoted readers know that of the two, i actually prefer dunkin, because they have strictly enforced policies on brewed coffee freshness and beverage service quality, even tho' i'm not personally a big fan of the blend. it would be rare for me to discuss some place like mickey d.

but i have received several emails today regarding the recent news that improved coffee quality has resulted in big sales gains for the chain. this of course doesn't surprise me in the least.

who wouldn't like better quality coffee? it's always been my contention here that, in contradistinction to what the jaded say, americans do care about coffee, and they respond to better coffee -- simply because it tastes better.

as scaa chief ted lingle has long said, "coffee is the engine that pulls breakfast." if, like mickey d, you depend on a strong breakfast trade for sales, then improving the coffee will also improve your breakfast sales.

in the u.s.a., studies of consumer habits show that the prime coffee-consumption window slams shut at 11am. unless the industry moves more quickly to improve the taste of decaf, that probably won't change.

and so for the majority of americans, coffee is inevitably linked to breakfast or a late-morning snack. the truth of this is shown as well by the fact that while outside specialty beverage service is a hugely growing market, 75% of the coffee americans drink is still made at home in the morning.

thus clever retailers of all types, either cafes or roaster/retailers, should focus some innovation around the breakfast market -- and also realize that while those customers are in your store, you have a prime opportunity to sell them beans to make at home. if your retail locations are along a route primarily used by commuters, then definitely this is a way to make $$$ from your customers even when they stay at home on weekends.

i remain constantly surprised at how many shops i enter here in nyc that are obviously primarily filled with commuters and office workers have counter-monkeys who never seem to make an effort to sell the beans. often, there aren't even wall displays for the beans.

not necessarily that they'd be beans of quality, mind you. . .but am i missing something here, or is this a staff-training issue?

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posted by fortune | 8:27 AM | top | link to this | email this: | links to this post | | 4 comments

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