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Hamilton Beach Commercial Blog


Get Coffee Inspiration from Fast-Growing Coffee Chains

11:45 AM on April 15, 2024

Get Coffee Inspiration from Fast Growing Coffee ChainsGrowing coffee shop chains are coming up with all kinds of new ways to entice customers and build loyalty. Whether they offer a welcoming place for customers to sip a crafted coffee drink or a high-speed drive-thru for an afternoon treat, several up-and-coming coffee chains in the U.S. have created uniquely compelling reasons for customers to come in the door.

It’s all about feeling special

How do you create a memorable customer experience at a drive-thru-only location? Several chains are turning to novel ideas to engage young customers by offering amusing extras that increase brand loyalty. One great example? Dutch Bros. This fast-growing coffee chain delights young customers in multiple ways. Once a month is the popular Sticker Drop, when the store gives customers its latest cute sticker design. Baristas — or “broistas,” as the chain calls them — are famous for making regulars’ drinks as soon as they spot their car and delivering the drink before the customer has even ordered.

“One of our priorities is to empower our team to connect with our customers and make the right decisions for those customers on the spot. If they see you’re having a bad day, they’ll hook you up. They’re never going to get in trouble for that,” CEO Christine Barone told Nation’s Restaurant News. The best thing about Dutch Bros, as one customer said, is “being treated like I'm the best customer all day every time I go.”

Chains can be part of this trend by taking a closer look at what delights customers, and leaning in. Whether it is a fun extra like stickers or a way to recognize repeat customers, making customers feel noticed (and special) is a great way to drive loyalty and increase share of mind.

It’s all about quality

As consumers continue to grow in their coffee sophistication, their expectations for quality coffee grow in step. For example, customers don’t come to Blue Bottle Coffee for fancy, sweet or syrupy drinks. They come for really, really good coffee. This coffee chain started as a single cart in Oakland, CA., that precisely roasted small batches of beans and brewed coffee from them within 24 hours.

“The minimalist third-wave coffee roaster is best known for light and airy cafés and deliciously creamy New Orleans–style cold brew. Their Exceedingly Rare small-batch, single-origin beans greatly expanded my expectations of what is possible in coffee,” former barista Kelsey Borovinsky writes in Bon Appetit. Even its instant espresso is excellent.

Why is Blue Bottle Coffee so good? They’re up front about their approach:

  • All coffees exceed 84 points on the specialty-coffee grading scale
  • Almost all their coffee is organic
  • They pay suppliers fair-trade prices and often more
  • They still roast their own coffee in small batches (70kg max)

This unwavering commitment to quality has won devoted fans. Chains looking to replicate that success need to consider what is most important to their customers when it comes to quality. Should you invest in unique roasts? More fair-trade options? Different brewing techniques? Testing to see which quality factors resonate most with your customers can give you the insight you need to make a big impact.

It’s all about frozen drinks (and other cool options)

The number one coffee trend? Turning down the temperature. Industry data shows that Gen Z consumers order cold coffees far more often than hot coffee, and cold beverage sales overall are growing much faster than hot beverage sales.

One coffee chain that’s capitalizing on this is Biggby Coffee, a Michigan-based chain with close to 400 U.S. locations. Biggby has an enormous menu of 100+ specialty drinks. This includes more than 75 flavors of Creme Freeze Smoothies. Some are espresso-based, some are fruit-based, and some are just plain sweet, with flavors of cinnamon, chocolate, caramel. Also popular are their Sweet Foam Favorites: cold brew and other iced coffee drinks with sweetened cold foam.

The secret to making great frozen coffee drinks: It isn’t just about flavor. Texture is key. The drink should be thick but sippable, icy but not slushy, and consistently creamy. To get this perfect texture, all you need is the Hamilton Beach Commercial® Summit® Edge High-Performance Blender. Trusted worldwide, the Summit exclusive Auto Blend makes a perfect drink with just one touch. It automatically stops blending when drinks achieve the perfect consistency. Add an AirWhip™ Frothing Jar to froth skim milk into cold foam topping in less than 20 seconds.

How can Hamilton Beach Commercial help your coffee business stand out from the crowd? Browse our full line of commercial equipment for coffee shops.

Topics: Coffee, Beverage, Frozen Coffee Drinks, Beverage Trends, high performance commercial blenders, Summit Edge

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