Sheetz Fights the Starbucks Phenomena

Jun 04, 2003

By George Anderson

Starbucks has demonstrated that consumers will spend more for what they perceive
as a superior cup of coffee.

Now, Sheetz and others are trying to convince consumers they can get their
coffee at the local convenience store and doughnut shop with no fall-off in

Tammy Dunkley, advertising manager, Sheetz told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
what her companies and others have to overcome. “People assume you can’t get
good food or good coffee at a convenience store.”

Two years ago, to upgrade its coffee image, Sheetz added a coffee hostess to
each of its stores and put time limits on how long a pot could sit.

Ms. Dunkley said, “It’s all about changing habits. Coffee is a habitual purchase.”

Moderator’s Comment: Does a retailer need to be in
the gourmet bean business to be successful selling hot coffee today? How important
is the “atmosphere” to the performance of Starbucks and others seeking to grab
a share of the gourmet coffee business?

The great majority of coffee drinkers do not spend $3
for a cup. According to the National Coffee Association, 88 percent of coffee
drinkers do not drink gourmet coffee. [George
Anderson – Moderator

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