WASHINGTON (FNS) -- Coffee-bar devotees have above-average incomes, high expectations and discriminating tastes, according to a National Restaurant Association study.
"Coffee-bar patrons are sophisticated," said Joseph K. Fassler, chairman of the board of the NRA here and president and chief executive officer of Restaura Inc., a subsidiary of Viad Corp., based in Phoenix. "They want unusual, exotic coffees that are expertly prepared, and coffee cafe owners are meeting their exacting standards."
In addition, the survey found that those who belly up to the barista most are between the ages of 31 and 49 and tend to have high expectations for taste, interesting variety, and quality packaging: translation, a sturdy insulated cup.
These patrons are mostly young singles, young couples and retired couples with above-average incomes, according to the survey. They tend to purchase coffee on weekday occasions before 11 a.m. and after 8 p.m. in one-person parties. Access and location convenience are very important, suggesting that impulse-buying is high, according to the research.
While the study did not specifically examine coffee bars operating in supermarkets, the implications of the research are promising for an operation located inside a retail food setting, provided it meets the criteria outlined by the NRA poll. Likewise, other aspects of the research show that shoppers look at specialty coffees -- and the environments in which they are served -- as a reward for themselves.
"Specialty coffees are perceived as a treat," Fassler said. "Consumers use them as a mini-escape from the stress of daily life."
The survey analyzed demographic trends and usage patterns among some 13,000 patrons of takeout establishments, a segment which has experienced explosive growth. Seventy percent of U.S. households now make at least one carryout purchase per month. Gourmet coffee shops, along with ice cream and snack parlors, account for about 4% of the total takeout business, according to the NRA study.