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Market for coffee is fueling restaurants, including Stumptown, Peet's and more

Smartphones are not the only addiction. A new generation of coffee addicts are making morning coffee stops part of their routine. Here's our theory: in the evening, people are interested in trying something new. In the morning, they want something reliable.

Chicago Tribune: Your morning fix is fueling Chicago's coffee boom, 2018-Jan-15 by Samantha Bomkamp

...Coffee builds a habit. When customers find a coffee drink they enjoy, they’re far more likely to come back every day — or at least several times per week — than they are for, say, a great burger, NPD analyst Bonnie Riggs said. 

...

Coffee tends to produce higher profit margins than other food and drink businesses.

And coffee chains are expanding to capture the growth. Chain coffee shops increased their locations by 6 percent from 2016 to 2017, according to NPD. In all, the U.S. has almost 3,000 more coffee shops than it did five years ago. In Chicago, that includes smaller chains like Stumptown and Joe & the Juice. Stumptown opened its first Chicago location in December in the West Loop’s Ace Hotel, and Copenhagen-based Joe & the Juice opened its first Chicago location on the Near North Side on Wednesday.

... 

“I’ve got to tell you, I don’t think it’s going to slow down,” Coonan said of the broader coffee market. “I was nervous a couple years ago.”

Coonan said part of his confidence is tied to the growing desire by landlords to bring coffee retailers into buildings as an amenity for tenants. 

... 

Mallory Pilcher, Stumptown’s marketing director, said she feels there’s still a lot of room for coffee growth across the U.S. “So many parts of the country are just getting turned on to high quality, sustainably sourced, hand-crafted coffee,” she said. “Cafe concepts are evolving and menu options are expanding.”

Pilcher said the brand plans to roll out a loyalty program in the future to reward its regulars.

At larger sister brand Peet’s Coffee, which has a dozen Chicago locations, nearly a third of transactions earn loyalty points, and CEO Dave Burwick said the chain is working on “significant enhancements” to its app this year, including testing mobile ordering. 

... 

The rise of mobile ordering also is helping drive quick, habitual coffee purchases, Riggs said, because it makes people less cognizant of what they’re paying than when they hand over cold hard cash. The use of mobile ordering raises the chances that customers will opt to make multiple visits and spend more when they do, she said.

... 

Riggs said coffee sellers are finding ways to expand the market instead of fighting over the same group of java-loving customers.That’s helped by a focus on breakfast, which has seen growth while lunch and dinner slow, and afternoon snack time, when more people are justifying a cappuccino when they take a break from work, Riggs said.

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Customer visits to quick-service burger and gourmet coffee chains spurred by deals rose by 7 percent in the third quarter of 2017 compared with a year earlier, according to NPD, which called it the “strongest (traffic) seen in quite some time.” Customer visits not driven by promotions rose 4 percent. The burger and coffee categories together account for less than one-tenth of the total food service industry, but their growth was so strong they pulled the whole industry into positive territory, NPD said. It was the first time the sector recorded overall growth in a year and a half.

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