Coffee Shop Regulars: Pumpkin Spices Up Business

It‰Ûªs that time of year again for falling leaves, football games, and the annual tradition of limited-​time-​offer pumpkin specialty drinks. Turns out that it‰Ûªs one of the favorite times of the year for foodservice operators who offer the limited-​time drinks because their businesses benefit in more ways than one, reports The NPD Group.

Limited Time Offer Pumpkin Beverages Spice Up Business for Foodservice Operators. The seasonal beverage offers can spur additional purchases by established customers, bring in new customers, draw customers from competitors, and stimulate business during slow periods, according to research from NPD‰Ûªs Checkout Tracking‰ã¢, which harvests receipts from more than 35,000 diners to track consumer purchase behavior.

An analysis of the purchase cycle of pumpkin spice latte buyers reveals that these lattes are likely considered to be an ‰ÛÏindulgent‰Û purchase, and the vast majority of these purchasers, 72%, did so just once. About 20% of pumpkin spice latte customers purchased the item twice, and about 8% made three or more purchases during the offer period.

In addition to increasing visits and visit frequency, seasonal beverages also produce higher checks, NPD found. During fall and winter 2014, the average check for pumpkin latte buyers was $7.81, compared with $6.67 for non-​buyers. Similarly, the average check for buyers of a white mocha, another popular seasonal beverage, was $8.37, compared with just $6.84 for non-​buyers. Consumers‰Ûª purchase of food items in addition to the beverage contributed to the higher check average, according to the Checkout Tracking analysis.

To determine the impact of limited-​time offers on visit frequency, NPD also examined the purchase cycle of a seasonal shake offer at another major chain. The data revealed that these shake purchasers tended to be the restaurant‰Ûªs most loyal customers, with higher purchase frequency rates, especially during the promotional period. Shake buyers made 5.7 visits in the two-​month period before the limited-​time offer, and then made an additional visit during the limited-​time offer period. Meanwhile non-​shake buyers made only 4.7 visits prior to the promotion and 4.4 visits during the limited-​time offer.

‰ÛÏConsidering the battle for traffic share in the restaurant industry, it‰Ûªs critical to offer unique, craveable menu items that attract both new customers and keep current ones coming back,‰Û says Bonnie Riggs, NPD restaurant industry analyst. ‰ÛÏFor the restaurant operator, seasonal beverages have a positive impact on visit frequency and check averages as consumers tend to purchase food along with the seasonal beverage. It doesn‰Ûªt get much better than that.‰Û

Coffee Shop Regulars are prime targets for fan-​loyal Pumpkin Spiced Lattes and other seasonal LTO lattes, and AudienceSCAN reported that 7.7% of consumers order drinks from coffee shops 3–4 times a week. And another 4.3% of adults order drinks 5 or more times during a typical week. Coffee Shop Regulars are 105% more likely than average consumers to take action based on ads they see on a social networks. Also try reaching them via newspapers (print, online, mobile or tablet) because 71% took action after reading them in the past year.

AudienceSCAN data is available as part of a subscription to AdMall for Agencies. Media companies can access AudienceSCAN data through the Audience Intelligence Reports inåÊAdMall.

Courtney Huckabay
Courtney is the Editor for SalesFuel Today. She analyzes secondary customer research and our primary AudienceSCAN research. Courtney is a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University.