Seattle's Best Coffee, part of Starbucks Corporation, has opened the doors -- and drive-thru window -- of its new coffee drive-thru concept in Northlake, Ill.
Designed to meet the needs of the more than 36,000 commuters in the suburban Chicago neighborhood, the concept features brand new coffee beverages, freshly-baked food items and other sandwiches and snacks.
"Our customers are constantly on-the-go and they tell us that finding great coffee options that fit their busy lifestyles is tough. They're sacrificing great tasting coffee and food for speed and convenience, and we can put an end to that," said Jim McDermet, senior vice president and general manager of Seattle's Best Coffee. "We've designed all elements of this concept with a focus on world-class drive-thru service and because of our history as a coffeehouse brand we can also guarantee the highest-quality coffee and food with a smile."
An easy-to-navigate menu board design and straightforward pricing let drivers choose signatures such as original or dark, or add flavored creamers for no extra cost.
Featured in the center of the menu board are the brand's new beverages, including Caramel Candy and Birthday Cake lattes, and Caramel Pretzel and S'mores mochas.
"In this location we're debuting our revamped coffee and food menu based on what customers have told us is important," McDermet said. "And we're excited to welcome the discerning taste buds of Chicagoans to our fast, friendly and delicious drive-thru experience."
Also, for the first time, the brand will offer fresh-baked muffins, cookies and multigrain bars. Breakfast sandwiches are available on either a biscuit or a muffin, and warm pretzel bread stuffed with a choice of either turkey or ham round out the lunch options. Snack items include Sour Cream Coffee Cake, individual Caramel Apple Pies and a Cheese Pretzel Danish.
This new coffee drive-thru concept will serve as a pilot for the brand as it evolves its retail presence to meet the growing demand for premium coffee on-the-go.
Real-time results from this store will inform menu strategies for the current base of nearly 100 cafes as well as future locations.
Seattle's Best Coffee is available in more than 50,000 locations including cafes, college campuses, restaurants, hotels, airlines, cruise ships, grocery stores and movie theatres.
Competition is stiff
With its new drive-thru concept – opened in the shadows of McDonald's Oakbrook, Ill., world headquarters – Seattle's Best is entering a particularly crowded space. Not only has the McCafe line provided solid results for the Golden Arches, but with Dunkin' Donuts and Tim Hortons expanding aggressively, the quick-service coffee wars have heated up in the past two years.
Even Krispy Kreme and Wendy's have jumped in with their own lines of signature coffees.
Seattle's Best is also looking to grab a share of the fastest growing dayparts in breakfast and snack offerings. Foodservice marketing and research firm Technomic estimates that the breakfast segment accounts for 12 percent of the total restaurant industry, generating around $42 billion in annual sales.
Breakfast patronage is up at foodservice locations, particularly in the quick-service segment, where 46 percent of consumers now occasionally purchase weekday breakfasts compared to just 33 percent in 2009.
Read more about food and beverage launches.