We welcome our Vice President of Food Service and SCAA VP Ben Pitts to talk about how consumers are demanding better coffee and what that means for businesses
I just returned from a road trip covering such cities as New York, Chicago, Denver, Charlotte, and Greenville, South Carolina and specialty coffee drinks, especially cold brew, are everywhere. The fact that specialty coffee is now over 50% of consumption and dollars spent in the U.S. is excitingly evident in the market place. Yet, only a small percentage of restaurant operators are benefiting from this consumer craze that has evolved way beyond a trend. Why?
It seems that cost would be the biggest inhibitor to chains capitalizing on this opportunity. Many restaurant, hospitality, and entertainment businesses are still dealing on the product cost side of the equation only. Consumers, especially those under the age of 50, have a higher expectation for their coffee experience than what is being served. These consumers not only will but are paying more for coffee; just not within the four walls of these aforementioned operators. Coffee roasters and operators have a wide open window to partner in the sourcing, roasting, and serving of fantastic coffee and coffee drinks to a consumer that will continue to vote with their dollars and their feet.
As a roaster and supplier to the broad food service market, we have a responsibility to maintain and grow consumption in our customers businesses - together we will grow or we will fade. Today, a restaurant can move specialty coffee and drinks like cold brew onto their menu and enhance profits and maybe even traffic. Consumers will accept a menu price increase if the quality and experience justify it. Menu price increases will be necessary to cover rising labor and operating costs regardless, so why not now while the coffee commodity is stable? So, let's pay a little more for better coffee and expand the menu, and meet consumers with what they want where they want it - in America's best restaurants and hotels.
You can follow Ben on Twitter for more opportunities on growing your beverage business and be sure to follow the Specialty Coffee Association of America for the latest on coffee trends and more!
Interested in taking advantage of the new demand for better coffee? Visit our Dining page to see previous successes and find out how we can help make your business more profitable!