As part of an Explorer changing habits research study, we looked at the morning coffee Drive-Thru routine and how companies can win back consumers as they start to re-establish routines. The morning coffee Drive-Thru is a perfect example of a routine that many consumers abandoned as they started working from home.
Thinking back to the morning coffee Drive-Thru routine, when I was working full time at the office, my morning coffee was a treasured part of my routine. After dealing with the bustle of getting kids off to school I could reset for the day of work ahead.
So, while the morning coffee Drive-Thru declined with 46% of OOH coffee drinkers using pre-Covid we are now seeing 40% of OOH coffee drinkers using. For coffee Drive-Thru during other dayparts, 48% of OOH coffee drinkers used the Drive-Thru pre-Covid and today that is 38%. With the change in habits, the morning Drive-Thru does not play the same positive role it did prior to Covid with pre-Covid 42% of users saying it is a great way to start the day compared to 30% today.
But overall coffee consumption is on the rise with 50% of consumers drinking more coffee at home with ¾ of OOH coffee buyers purchasing a coffee store brand for at-home consumption. However, for those who do leave home, using the Drive-Thru is a great way to get out of the home.
As we move into reopening, the majority of OOH coffee drinkers are excited to re-establish this routine. With more consumers saying they will use the Drive-Thru more often than they did pre-Covid. So, with habits disrupted what do coffee brands need to do to win back consumers?
Our research showed the following strategies were most important:
- Daily deals – make it exciting for consumers to re-establish the Drive-Thru as part of their routine.
- Eye-catching menu boards – consider redesigning your menu board to make it easy to navigate and to provide a sense of discovery.
- Shorter wait times – queue management and speed are critical for the morning Drive-Thru.
- Incentives for heavy users – loyalty programs and other incentives are important as consumers begin to re-establish routines.