Why a good coffee program is good for your restaurant business

By Barbara Smyth
November 29, 2013
Potatoes stand the test of time on Canadian restaurant menus

Canadians love their coffee. The NPD Group’s just-released report, What’s Brewing in the Coffee Market: A Consumer Perspective, reveals that 73 per cent of Canadians drink coffee, consuming an average of 12.4 cups per week, or nearly two cups a day.

It comes as no surprise then that coffee is the most popular beverage at foodservice establishments in Canada. In fact, coffee is ordered so frequently in Canada that only one country has a higher share of coffee consumers and that is the espresso-loving Italians!

Developing a compelling coffee program

The NPD Group’s recent report Full Service Dining: What Consumers Want, revealed that 67 per cent of full-service diners said they’d like to see greater menu variety. One option to grow an FSR menu is to expand the coffee offerings. Hot brewed coffee is the most popular type of coffee consumed at foodservice and the coffee programs at some FSR operators are perceived to be of poor quality, according to NPD data.

How many roasts does the average FSR operator offer compared to the leading quick-service coffee operators? FSR operators should consider offering a variety of blends from mild to bold. Or, give your menu an international flair with coffee produced in different regions around the world.

And why stop at simple hot brewed coffee? Sales of specialty coffee such as lattes and iced coffee grew at double-digit rates during the past year, led by the QSR segment which saw successful specialty coffee beverage launches by Canada’s top two QSR operators. Based on such increased popularity of specialty coffees, the opportunity is there for FSR operators to capitalize on this growth. How can FSR operators entice customers to enjoy a specialty coffee after a meal? Consider offering a variety of specialty coffees like espresso, iced coffee or alcoholic coffee drinks. Another option – add coffee pairings to your menu. You can offer a variety specialty coffees or coffee blends paired with a complementary desert.
FSR operators could also consider developing their own branded coffee blends focusing on quality or innovation or they could partner with a well-known, high-end coffee brand to offer specialty coffee drinks. In fact, 44 per cent of FSR customers said branded coffee is very important or extremely important to them. Could a full-time barista be part of the staff at your FSR in 2014?

Improve customer satisfaction

Seventy per cent of FSR customers surveyed in NPD’s Customer Satisfaction report said they were extremely or very satisfied with their overall experience when a good, quality hot coffee was included in their meal. For those who did not have hot coffee, the satisfaction rating was 65 per cent. Likewise, 59 per cent of QSR customers whose meals included hot coffee said they were extremely or very satisfied with the overall dining experience compared to 54 per cent of those who did not have hot coffee. There is little doubt that a quality cup of coffee increases a customer’s overall satisfaction with their dining experience.

Coffee incidence trended, by country

It seems that today’s FSR operators have not been capitalizing on the coffee culture that is part of the foundation of the Canadian restaurant market. The opportunity for FSR operators is to demonstrate an understanding of coffee’s importance to Canadian consumers by serving up the hot, specialty, and branded coffees Canadians expect. Quick service restaurants have already validated the benefits of an innovative coffee program: increased customer traffic, increased customer satisfaction and increased market share. Now is the time for FSR operators to capitalize on Canadians’ love affair with coffee.

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About the author

Barbara Smyth is Director, Foodservice Canada for The NPD Group. The NPD Group has more than 25 years of experience providing reliable and comprehensive consumer-based market information to leaders in the foodservice industry. For more information, visit www.npd.com or contact her at barbara.smyth@npd.com.

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