Caffeine and Commerce: MULO Coffee Perks Street Fight

Caffeine and Commerce: MULO Coffee Perks

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Starbucks and Dunkin may be the giant-size MULO (multi-location) players in the brew space (with 38K and 13K locations respectively). However, coffee is a staple of many consumers’ routines and represents a market size of close to $500B.

Many regional and national players are heating up the field and coffee brands are offering a wide range of options to consumers, including:

  • Drive-thrus
  • Hot and cold options
  • A wide range of snacks and meals in addition to hot and cold beverages
  • Non-coffee alternatives, including exotic options like Boba
  • Stores-within-stores (like Starbucks has been doing for a while and PRESS is now doing in Sprouts)
  • Favorite coffee brands and flavors at retailers, including bags, boxes, and pods
  • Merch
  • Loyalty programs
  • Gift cards and subscriptions
  • Apps for ordering ahead and storing your fave blends

Convenience stores (C-stores) have long been a source of coffee for commuters and travelers and many of them are taking a page (or a sip) from the big brands and are creating java “experiences” within their locations, offering a range of flavors, creamers, and sweeteners.

Among the brands to watch in the years ahead are:

  • Tim Hortons: The brand has 5K locations around the world and the company has been in business for 50 years.
  • Dutch Bros: With a drive-thru-only concept, this brand plans to quintuple its 800 locations within the next decade.
  • Peet’s: A legacy brand like Tim Hortons, this chain is concentrated primarily in California and has about 300 locations, according to one source.

With approximately 75 percent of the U.S. population consuming coffee and people looking for places to sit, work, and meet, coffee shops are not likely to lose their flavor and favor any time soon.

Whether consumers just want a fast and black cup of basic joe or a huge mocha latte with dairy-free milk and a lemon poppy muffin on the side, MULO brands are ready to serve them — now and into the future.


Nancy A Shenker, senior editor with Street Fight, is a former big brand (Citibank, Mastercard, Reed Exhibitions) marketing strategist and leader. She has been featured in, the New York Times and Forbes.
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