The Pak-A-Sak stores in Indiana and Ohio are picky about the chain’s hot bever- age bar, featuring every- thing from hot chocolate to specialty drinks. Naturally, the perennial favorite is coffee, which “drives the
morning business for us,” said Gary Tabor, director
of marketing for the 35-store chain.
The hot beverage bar is a mandatory morning
stop for millions of commuting Americans.
According to the NACS State of the Industry Report
of 2014 Data, 13% of convenience store foodservice
sales came from hot dispensed beverages in 2014,
providing an average gross margin of 56%. (2015
data will be released at this month’s NACS State of
the Industry Summit.) Pak-A-Sak discovered a way
to move even more.
For years, Pak-A-Sak used traditional glass pots
to brew coffee and would toss any unpurchased
product after 30 minutes. “We thought customers
wanted to see fresh coffee in nice, clean pots, and we
put timers on all the pots to show that it was good
quality,” he said. “But the program cost a lot in coffee
that we threw away.”
About 18 months ago, the chain’s supplier, Wall-
ingford Coffee, suggested replacing the glass pots
with different equipment that brews coffee directly
into thermal urns. A digital reading on the equipment
tells staff members and customers when the coffee is
Retailers brew up hot dispensed beverage sales.
BY PAT PAPE
made. Best of all, the urns maintain the quality of the coffee for
two hours instead of 30 minutes.
“Customers complain any
time we make a change, but
they’ve jumped right in there,”
said Tabor. “In 2015, actual
coffee sales in 33 [of our] stores
jumped by 21,000 units, and by
throwing away less product, we
saved 2,500 pounds of coffee.
We’re offering the same coffee
presented in a different way and
without sacrificing quality.”
Although the new equipment
has been a sensation, Pak-A-Sak
remains picky. The company
still conducts hot beverage bar
inspections at each store six or
seven times a month to ensure
quality is maintained.
Beverage Bar Trends
A recent U. S. Department of
Agriculture report predicted that
U. S. coffee consumption will
decrease about 1% from 2015 to 2016, making the
United States the only country among the top eight
coffee-consuming nations to show a decline. But
many people still crave hot beverages.
HOT DISPENSED BEVERAGES
> Hot Tea
> Hot Chocolate
> Coffee Club Mugs
> Other Hot Dispensed
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benchmarks and a framework for
retailers and suppliers to discuss
market performance compari-
sons. For more NACS category
definitions, visit nacsonline.com/