With Coffee Cups, Live Large

Size really matters in coffee cup sales. Consider this. In America, roughly half of restaurant orders for coffee (regular and specialty) are placed during the breakfast/a.m. snack mealtime, and a majority of breakfast day-part sales are either takeout or drive-thru. Now, the most common three coffee cup sizes by volume are 12 ounces (small), 16 ounces (medium) and 20 ounces (large). Have you ever stopped to deconstruct the reasoning behind these sizes?

Let’s take large for instance. 20 ounces isn’t just arbitrary. Habitual coffee drinkers are typically defined as those who consume between two and three cups of coffee per day. At two and a half cups, 20 ounces represents their full consumption. The large capacity is perfectly designed. Unlike dine-in customers, drive-thru or takeout customers need their refill “on board,” and they’ll pay you for it. The average commute in our country is almost thirty minutes. I don’t know about you but that’s plenty of time to drain the large. Not to mention that a large coffee is essential in order to navigate heavy traffic. (A top “need-state” for coffee consumers is alertness).

What does all of this mean for concepts that compete at breakfast for precious coffee sales? Live Large! While medium remains the most ordered coffee size by almost a two to one margin, large meets too many functional purposes to be neglected any longer. Getting them to “trade-up” has always been a battle cry in foodservice marketing. With coffee, you have profit room to play and a healthy beverage with no size stigma. Capitalize on the coffee commuters’ morning habit. Promote your large!