In the wake of the unofficial shopping holiday that is Black Friday, some coffee quick-serve brands are finding an opportunity to reach out to new customers among the 20 percent of Americans who will go back to work.

When Seattle's Best Coffee started its free coffee promotion on Black Friday three years ago, the Washington-based subsidiary of Starbucks did so to appeal to its loyal customer base. “More than 63 million Americans are going to work on Black Friday,” says Sanja Gould, spokesperson for the brand. “Just offering a simple cup of coffee for those of us going back to work was a little moment of triumph.”

The promotion is run through and largely advertised on Seattle's Best Facebook page, Gould says, and that's resulted in a growth of social media followers for the coffee concept. “Already in the first three days, we have 40,000 new customers join our Facebook fan page,” she says, adding that year over year, this is one of the most effective ways the company has actually cultivated new customers. Seattle's Best has over 700,000 fans on Facebook in total.

To capitalize on the promotion, Gould says Seattle's Best relies on an honor system. “Those who come in on Black Friday to our retail stores, they can drive up to the window of our drive thru, say that they're on their way to work, and they'll get a free tall cup of coffee,” she says.

Seattle's Best will also send a free coffee sample that makes up to four cups and a coupon for $2 off packaged coffee sold in grocery stores to those who sign up through Facebook.

Several other brands are jumping on the Black Friday promotional bandwagon, too. Sister-concepts Einstein Bros. Bagels and Noah's New York Bagels targeted retail workers with a discounted catering special. Both brands will offer delivery on value combinations for as low as $1 per person for breakfast and $4 per person for lunch on orders for 30 people or more. Customers can choose from various bagels and spreads for a Bagel and Shmear Nosh Box or opt for a the Egg Sandwich Nosh Box for breakfast. For lunch, Enstein and Noah's will offer a choice of three deli sandwiches, Turkey, Ham, Chicken Salad, Tuna Salad, or Veg Out, that can be made part of a complete meal with a drink, chips, and mini cookie.

“Everyone knows Black Friday is the kick-off to holiday shopping and a time for customers to receive great deals on holiday items, but we think it is just as important to create a promotion that rewards the hardworking employees across the country who devote many hours on the job serving shoppers on one of the busiest shopping days of the year,” said Glenn Lunde, chief concept officer for Einstein Noah Restaurant Group, in a statement.

Other brands have taken a more traditional approach to promotions and marketing for Black Friday. Dunkin' Donuts, for example, is offering discounted prices on its three-pound bag of packaged coffee and on its K-Cup Packs through November 29. The brand is also using Black Friday to unveil a new tee-shirt designed through a global contest in partnership with custom apparel design company Threadless. The shirt, which is sold exclusively on Dunkin's website, features the slogan, “C is for Coffee.”

By Tamara Omazic

Beverage, Marketing & Promotions, News, Dunkin' Donuts, Einstein Noah Restaurant Group, Seattle's Best