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Top 10 trends driving bakery café sales

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By Technomic, Inc.

The bakery-café segment has yet to fully evolve and emerge as a middle-ground between fast-food and full-service restaurants, likely due in part to heavy competition from overall foodservice industry leaders, such as Tim Hortons. This means relatively low patronage; 29% of consumers say they never visit bakery cafés, mostly due to a lack of convenient locations. Coffee cafés, on the other hand, accounted for more than $7 billion in 2011 sales, about 28% of the total industry sales. They boast remarkably high patronage; 62% of all consumers visit at least weekly, and 12% do so daily.

Both sectors have room to expand their reach, as each caters to differing need states. Consumers look to bakery cafés for top-quality, healthy offerings in an upscale atmosphere ideal for dine-in and special occasions. Coffee-café patronage is generally driven by routine: convenience, quick service and low prices are key for these occasions, which are most often for takeout.

As consumers demand higher-quality, healthier options in a more upscale atmosphere, expect to see these segments continue to blur as they compete more aggressively.

Top 10 themes:

  1. Coffee-café patronage is very frequent and has increased over the past year.
  2. The bakery-café segment continues to evolve in the Canadian foodservice market.
  3. Consumers visit bakery cafés for a wider variety of day parts and occasions than coffee cafés.
  4. Convenience, quick service and habit drive visits to coffee cafés.
  5. Drive-thrus are an expectation at coffee-cafés due to the prevalence of takeout occasions.
  6. Consumers value bakery cafés due to their top-quality, healthy offerings.
  7. Consumers seek a wider variety of food and beverages at bakery cafés than at coffee-cafés.
  8. Breakfast sandwiches proliferate on bakery- and coffee-café menus.
  9. Regardless of daypart or occasion, regular hot coffee remains the beverage of choice at cafés.
  10. Consumers call for menu items that allow them to adhere to special diets at bakery cafés.