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DALLAS -- Coffee sales at 7-Eleven have historically been the highest in the month of November. This year is no different. On average, 7-Eleven coffeeholics pour more than one million cups of hot coffee daily -- equal to 10,000 pots of coffee brewed every hour for an entire year, according to the company.
The seasonal temperatures may have a lot to do with the increase in hot coffee sales, however, hot beverage category manager Donald Driver explained it's more than that.
"Besides colder temperatures, fall and winter mean shorter days and less daylight," said Driver in a written statement. "I think people feel hurried to get more done during the daylight hours. … Add the advent of the holiday season and the need for a pick-me- up, you'll find that many people feel like a cup of coffee is a necessity. This time of year, people want all the help they can get."
7-Eleven succeeds in the coffee category because it offers what other popular retailers don't -- customization. While a medium, caramel latte, soy, no whip can be a mouthful, 7-Eleven allows consumers to make and customize beverages to their tastes with flavored syrups, creamers and condiments, along with offerings such as hot chocolate, cappuccino and tea.
"Personalization is hot. Just look at wireless phones and iPods," said Driver. "Consumers want to personalize their beverages too. At 7-Eleven, they can do that conveniently in a self-service environment without having to wait in line to place an order, have it made and then served -- all of which can take an eternity when you're in a hurry or have a lot to do."
As many large retailers know, tastes vary across the country; what's hot in Kansas might be a slow mover in New York. Because of this, the chain is regionalizing coffee offerings along with its fresh food menus, as part of its Retailer Initiative strategy.
"We are paying attention to what coffees people prefer in different areas of the U.S. and adding regional favorites to our national top-sellers," Driver said. "That might mean Southern Pecan Pie in Texas and Florida, Butter Toffee in the Midwest, Hawaiian Hazelnut of the West Coast and Caramel Crunch in the Northeast."
Regional picks can achieve national popularity as well. This year, Dutch Apple Crumb coffee -- a Northeastern favorite -- will be offered across the country this fall, the company stated. A typical store will carry eight different coffees, a mix of top-sellers, regional picks, flavored coffees and international varieties, according to Driver.
"7-Eleven will always be a destination for coffee because we offer the ultimate trifecta: quality, value and convenience," concluded Driver. "For the price, fresh-brewed 7-Eleven coffee with all the free syrups, creamers and condiments is hard to beat and easy to drink."