Three Critical Retail Coffee Trends Through 2011 & Forecasting for 4th Quarter

The Specialty Coffee Association of America recently released their Sector Report which outlines trends within the coffee house and cafe industry through the second quarter of this year. I’ve spent some time looking over the data and here’s what I think you, as an independent retailer, should pay attention to:

1) Overall coffee house sales dipped in the second quarter, but don’t panic. The first quarter was incredibly strong in terms of growth rate and that should bode well for fourth quarter. An incredibly hot spring and summer, coupled with sticker shock over commodity increases, probably kept some fringe consumers away. Many investors tend to be bullish on commodities and some see signs of improvement in that area.

2) Total sales of specialty coffee whole bean or ground at the retail level is trending up. In the last decade, retail coffee sales have increased by over five billion dollars. If a regular customer can’t come in twice a day any more, they can afford to come in once a week to brew your freshly roasted specialty coffee that they can’t get anywhere else.

The opportunity to hit a home run in 4Q is there, and retail coffee has huge potential, but now is the time to begin to execute a plan of action. Be sure to heavily market your seasonal blends and flavored coffees. This year, Stockton Graham & Co. has created some fantastic (and FREE with purchase) point-of-sale material that will help your business sell more coffee. Check out what’s available HERE and contact your customer care associate for additional information.

3) Customers continue to rank quality as the most important aspect of the overall cafe experience, postioned over price, WiFi, variety, etc. This one is critical and extremely encouraging because you promote a high-end experience. Don’t assume the customer will know your product is top notch – remind them! Your employees should be intimately familiar with each and every coffee served. All the background information on the growing region, farm and roasting notes are available in our online library. Mark the page as a favorite and have print outs of our single-origin PDFs available behind the bar.

Stockton Graham & Co. has the expertise to help guide you through the remainder of 2011 and beyond. Whether this is your first year in business or your 21st, our team is available to you. Contact us today!

Mike Adams
Stockton Graham & Co.