Coffee sales are making a big difference in the otherwise sluggish restaurant industry, according to a recent article in the Chicago Tribune.
Chain coffee shop locations increased by 6% from 2016 to 2017, reflecting increasing interest in high-quality and specialty coffee across the country. The U.S. has almost 3,000 more coffee shops than it did five years ago.
So what makes coffee special?
Analysts at research firm NPD attribute the growth in coffee sales to two key factors: limited-time promotions and offerings to bring in new customers, and loyalty programs to keep them coming back.
Ultimately, coffee builds a habit. Consumers are more likely to return regularly for their favorite coffee drink than they are for something like a burger (even if it’s a great burger), according to the market research firm NPD.
The rise of mobile ordering is also helping drive quick, habitual coffee purchases, because it makes people less aware of what they’re paying. Mobile ordering raises the chances that customers will opt to make multiple visits and spend more when they do, says NPD analysts.