How to Make Your C-Store a Coffee and Tea Destination

Coffee and tea drinkers crave variety and want an experience to go along with their customized beverage of choice.

January 17, 2023

This article is brought to you by Finlays.

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Forward-thinking convenience stores are increasingly positioning themselves as restaurants and coffee shops in addition to their traditional model of selling fuel, packaged beverages and snacks. Finding ways to keep shoppers on-site for their coffee and tea purchases is always top of mind.

“Consumers’ desire for novelty experiences is heightened now, as people are ready to connect with the outside world following the pandemic,” said Art Lopez, Senior Director of Marketing, Finlays, an independent B2B supplier of tea, coffee and botanical solutions. “Convenience stores are perfectly positioned to give customers a unique beverage experience and become a go-to destination for their favorite drink.”

Coffee consumption has soared to a two-decade high as Americans brew up new post-COVID routines, according to the National Coffee Association. Sixty-six percent of Americans now drink coffee each day, more than any other beverage including tap water and up by nearly 14% since January 2021, the largest increase since the association began tracking data.

Iced coffee, in particular, has soared in demand. According to NACS State of the Industry Report of 2021 Data, other cold dispensed beverage sales, which includes iced coffee, increased 61.2% year over year in 2021. Earlier this year, Starbucks reported that 75% of its drink sales were from cold beverages.

“Cold coffee also transitions well to the afternoon daypart, with many consumers who may buy a hot coffee in the morning, buying a cold coffee in the afternoon,” said Lopez.

Additionally, a growing number of consumers are drawn to unique tea products with flavor combinations that also support health and wellness, according to Finlays. The U.S. tea market was worth an estimated $11.3 billion in 2021.

“Tea is the original functional, better-for-you beverage,” said Lopez. “The pandemic saw many consumers gravitating toward indulgent foods and beverages, but now that people are getting back to a normal routine, interest in better-for-you products is having a resurgence.”

Lopez said a custom beverage solution is a way for c-stores to differentiate their dispensed beverage offer to drive trips amid competition from QSRs. It can also help reinvigorate morning daypart sales that haven’t fully recovered post-pandemic.

So how can convenience stores create a coffee or tea beverage program that will make their store a destination for the coffee- and tea-craving consumer? Finlays has the solution. Find out more in the Tuesday, January 24 edition of NACS Daily.

This is the first installment of a two-part NACS Daily series on how convenience retailers can implement a unique, custom beverage program. Learn more about Finlays.