Restaurant Development & Design

January-February 2017

restaurant development + design is a user-driven resource for restaurant professionals charged with building new locations and remodeling existing units.

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I t used to be so simple. Coffee was coffee, steaming hot and typically enjoyed in the morning or maybe after dinner with dessert. Tea was tea, usually mass-produced black tea in bags and, except for iced tea in the South, not top of mind with the majority of American consumers. Oh, how things have changed. Coffee and tea today are anything but simple, and consumers — especially Millennials and their younger Gen Z siblings — have a coffee- and tea- fueled buzz going that demands anywhere, any time access to diverse, premium and customizable options. Led by so-called second-wave trailblazers such as Peet's Coffee & Tea and Starbucks, coffee has evolved dramatically from a simple, cheap and homey beverage to a culinary and cultural phenomenon. That evolution is impacting how virtually every foodservice operation, from fine dining to fast food, de- velops and markets its coffee program. Given specialty coffee's profitability and its proven ability to boost traffic and appeal to a younger demographic, even concepts far removed from the coffee-culture kings are tapping the vein. (For more key data points on coffee and tea, see page 8.) McDonald's McCafé program kicked off the so-called coffee war as the burger chain set out to lure consumers who'd gotten used to spending more for premium coffee drinks. Dunkin' Donuts, too, launched a specialty coffee program. And both chains have debuted more contemporary, comfortable store designs that, like Starbucks, invite customers to linger over their lattes. Indeed, the floodgates have opened, and brands of all stripes are getting on board with at least minimal specialty coffee programs. Among them: • Chick-fil-A swapped out its old ho-hum coffee for a new farmer-direct, specialty-grade blend. Staff was trained to brew smaller quantities more often, and a cold-brewed iced coffee was added. An extensive section of the chain's website is dedicated to telling its specialty coffee story. • Burger King upped its game with Smooth Roast, which it describes the way a sommelier might describe a wine: "Our Smooth Roast Coffee is a 100 percent Latin American Arabica blend characterized by sweet, nutty and chocolaty notes that delivers a balanced mild flavor and pairs perfectly with both sweet and savory menu items." The chain offers regular coffee, plain and vanilla iced coffee, and coffee frappés. • Dairy Queen recently announced its "biggest beverage launch ever," led by new flavored iced coffees, as well as frappés and fruit smoothies. Available all day at regular prices, the chain touts "happy hour" specials, during which small flavored coffees sell for just $1. 4 2 • r e s t a u r a n t d e v e l o p m e n t + d e s i g n • J A N U A R Y / F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 7

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