Given the tight market conditions that continue to permeate today’s foodservice industry, operators remain wise when they follow the flow of consumers money. Oftentimes following that flow leads right to the beverage business. In fact, beverage programs remain a key ingredient in many operators’ recipe for success.

Overall, away-from-home beverages grew about 4.1 percent over the past few years, according to Technomic’s 2019 Away-from-Home Beverage study. “Beverage growth has outpaced that of foodservice within the past few years thanks to innovative options such as nitro coffee, plant-based milks and other alternative beverages entering this space,” explains David Henkes, principal at Technomic. “Although challenges like third-party delivery are encroaching on beverage occasions, the category has a lot of opportunities available through offering a wide variety of innovative beverage options to their guests.”

In addition, Technomic reports 59 percent of total beverage sales come from just three segments: quick-service restaurants, coffee cafes and full-service restaurants.

As a result, beverages such as coffee continue to play a more prominent role in many operators’ redevelopment or innovation efforts. And they allow operators to adapt to customers’ needs across various dayparts and even seasons.

Tim Hortons

Take, for example, Tim Hortons. Last month the Canadian donut chain opened Tim Hortons 130 King, the company’s first-ever innovation café which resides on the first floor of the office building that houses the operator’s corporate headquarters. One of this operation’s key features is the Tim Hortons 130 King brew bar that serves an amped up menu of coffee-inspired drinks.

The brew bar’s signature drink is a draft latte. Tim Hortons staff layer this nitro-infused cold brew coffee with milk for a silky and smooth texture. In addition, customers visiting the brew bar can also choose from a selection of espresso based-beverages — americanos, lattes, cappuccinos, flat whites, cortados and macchiatos, among others — and new tea beverages — whole leaf specialty teas and tea lattes. Tim Hortons’ staff of baristas will make each of these drinks to order. In addition to the espresso and tea drinks, baristas employ a variety of brewing methods, such as cold brew, pour over, manual press, nitro coffee and, of course, drip.

Tim Hortons King 130 also offers a selection of handcrafted iced teas and lemonades. One notable item here is the nitro peach mango iced tea and a blueberry lavender lemonade.

Coffee has long been a part of the menu at Krispy Kreme and that will likely remain the case in the future. But when the donut chain rolled out its first comprehensive store design in more than a decade, it was another type of drink that played a more prominent role in the chain’s expanded menu: hand-spun milkshakes. These frozen treats are made with chain’s line of Original Glazed Doughnut-infused ice cream and are topped with whipped cream and a mini Original Glazed Doughnut. Flavors include Vanilla Glazed, Double Chocolate, Salty Caramel, Classic Strawberry, and OREO Cookies & Kreme.

Krispy Kreme unveiled its new design in Concord, N.C. And, like Tim Hortons innovation café, it’s relatively close to Krispy Kreme’s Global Product & Innovation Center in Charlotte. Other new menu items include scoop sandwiches, Krispy Kreme’s take on an ice cream sandwich. Guests are also able to customize their own donuts by choosing among 5 different glazes, 10 toppings and 5 drizzle flavors.

Krispy Kreme’s new design also includes what the chain refers to as multiple customer service enhancements, including online ordering, delivery, in-shop self-service pickup, dedicated parking for mobile order pickup, and an expanded drive-thru with two lanes and digital order confirmation.

“This new shop experience honors the heritage of Krispy Kreme while at the same time acknowledging and addressing the rising expectations of our customers,” said Andy Skehan, president, North America, Krispy Kreme Doughnut Corporation. “From our time-tested process of producing the world’s most loved doughnuts to our new Original Glazed Doughnut infused ice cream, we’re very excited for what the future holds.”