Industry News | June 28, 2005
Chick-fil-A Introduces Fast Food's First Gourmet Coffee Line, New Cinnamon Cluster
Atlanta-based restaurant chain Chick-fil-A, Inc. is going back for seconds on breakfast. On the heels of launching a wildly successful breakfast menu enhancement earlier this year, Chick-fil-A is adding two more offerings to its morning menu. Today, the chain is rolling out its Cafe Blends Coffee line -- marking the quick-service industry's first premium coffee program to offer three blends of coffee -- along with its new Chick-fil-A® Cinnamon Cluster.
The new coffee line and Cinnamon Cluster round out the chain's two-phased breakfast menu overhaul that began last November -- a strategy that already has helped fuel a 30-plus percent first quarter breakfast sales increase for the chain. The initial phase included the introduction of three new entrees, including two Breakfast Burrito varieties; Chicken, Egg, and Cheese Bagel Sandwich; Chick-fil-A® Chick-n-Minis(TM), while also promoting its Fresh Fruit Cup (also an industry first that was introduced in May 2004) as a breakfast alternative as well.
The Cafe Blends coffee line, which includes three custom-roasted blends (including a decaf blend), brings Chick-fil-A's coffee offer up to par with the quality of its other menu items, and the Cinnamon Clusters provide a sweet item for customers who prefer sweeter breakfast options. The products were evaluated for seven months in 38 Chick-fil-A restaurants throughout Maryland, primarily in the Baltimore area. Following is an overview of the new items:
--Cafe Blends Coffee: Available in three specialty blends -- Coffeehouse Light, Bistro Dark and Expressly Decaf -- Cafe Blends Coffee contains 100 percent, hand-picked Arabica coffees specially selected from Central and South America. The blends are custom roasted for Chick-fil-A. Each flavor is available in three sizes: small (12 oz.), medium (16 oz.), and large (20 oz.), ranging in price from $0.99 to $1.39. Chick-fil-A is also offering a 96 oz. container to accommodate off-site breakfast orders. Also included in the launch are a variety of creamers and sweeteners that allow customers to "personalize" their own coffees.
--Chick-fil-A Cinnamon Cluster: Fresh-baked mini swirls, filled with sweet cinnamon, cream butter, and whole eggs, with creamy vanilla icing. Served warm, the new Cinnamon Cluster is offered at $1.59.
"We have made great strides toward enhancing and diversifying our breakfast menu, primarily by listening and responding to our customers," says Woody Faulk, Chick-fil-A's vice president of brand development. "As our customer base continues to grow, so does the variety of our customers' appetites and preferences. Cafe Blends Coffee and the Cinnamon Cluster further broaden the appeal of our already diverse breakfast offerings, while maintaining the product quality and consistency customers have come to expect from Chick-fil-A."
Chick-fil-A anticipates that its latest breakfast additions will continue the upward sales trend the chain has enjoyed since enhancing its breakfast menu.
The chain's expectations are bolstered by the most recent findings by the National Coffee Association (NCA). According to a preview of the 2005 NCA trend report (full report to be released in July), coffee consumption in the past year continues to increase, as 52 percent of the U.S. population claimed to drink coffee on a daily basis last year, up from 49 percent in 2003. The 2004 NCA trends study also shows that breakfast is still the strongest daypart for coffee, but consumption during other dayparts is on the rise. From 2002 to 2003, the percentage of coffee drinkers who claimed to drink coffee during the morning period rose from 18 to 23 percent; for lunch, the number rose from seven to 10 percent; for the afternoon, the number rose from 9 to 15 percent; and in the evening, from 9 to 11 percent. This second statistic is especially encouraging to Chick-fil-A, as the new Cafe Blends Coffees will be offered throughout the day.
Despite its new premium coffee line and all-day coffee service, Faulk says Chick-fil-A's new coffee program is not an attempt to compete with national coffee chains. "A good coffee program is the cornerstone of the breakfast daypart. We are not trying to compete with specialty coffee shops that feature a variety of coffee drinks. We are purely offering a great cup of coffee to complement our delicious breakfast choices, or whenever our customers wish to have a cup." Adds Faulk, "And rather than offering a host of lattes, espressos and cappuccinos, we have developed three blends that are brewed really well using all new, specially designed equipment."
The chain realized the potential of breakfast in the mid-1980s when it opened its first free-standing restaurants and introduced its now-famous and largest-selling breakfast item, the Chick-fil-A® Chicken Biscuit. Before then, Chick-fil-A was a mall-based chain with limited breakfast choices. As its free-standing restaurant growth has now surpassed its mall locations, Chick-fil-A's breakfast daypart currently accounts for more than 15 percent of the chain's overall sales.
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