Bread isn’t the only thing rising at cafe concepts. Customer traffic to that restaurant type has also grown in recent years, according to Technomic’s 2016 Bakery & Coffee Cafe Consumer Trend Report.
Yet evolution will be key to continuing to grab those guests’ attention, particularly where technology and the menu are concerned, Technomic notes. Here are five ways to keep them coming back.
1. Keep it cool
Cold and iced coffee are gaining popularity, with 35% of customers at bakery cafes and 29% at coffee cafes saying they drink more of the stuff than they did two years ago. Offering a variety of iced coffees could help add topspin to sales, as cold-brew varieties are piquing customer interest and blended drinks are a popular specialty option at both cafe types.
2. Dip into new dayparts
Twenty-seven percent of 18- to 34-year-olds say they would be more likely to visit a coffee shop at night if alcohol were on offer. With increased competition in the segment, some concepts are turning to hooch as a way to stand out from the fray. Starbucks, for example, seeks to boost business late in the day with the boozy beverages and small plates offered on its Starbucks Evenings menu.
3. Consider different concerns
Sixty-two percent of coffee-cafe customers visit those locations for the beverages offered—making beverage quality and the availability of a customer’s preferred coffee variety more important to those guests than their bakery counterparts. Conversely, food quality is more top of mind to those visiting bakery-cafes, just 18% of whom seek out those locations because of their beverages.
4. Beef up the menu
Protein-centric fare can help bolster sales late in the day, as well as average tickets—more than a third of 18- to 43-year-olds say they would spend more on high-protein offerings. Breakfast sandwiches featuring bacon and sausage are top-growing entrees among coffee cafes, and protein sides are up 50% at bakeries during breakfast, Technomic notes.
5. Dash, then dine
While nearly half of bakery-cafe customers view those concepts as a place to gather with family and friends (45% and 43%, respectively), more of those guests are ordering their meals to go than they did two years ago. Operators can take advantage of this increase by bulking up carryout options and improving the ease with which customers can order meals ahead.