I’m not a coffee drinker, so I’m not part of the newest groundswell, but apparently the hottest drink of the summer of 09 is well, not hot. Instead Americans are clamoring for iced coffee. And the battle of the brew is being fought in franchises all across the country. According to the market research firm, the NPD Group, in restaurants iced coffee has surpassed iced tea as a breakfast drink. In fact NPD reports that sales of iced coffee at breakfast has doubled in the last five years.
Driving the sales are teens (mostly girls) and women. Reacting to this fact and hoping to attract more women to its stores 7-Eleven is now offering iced coffee across the chain. Cold Stone Creamery is joining the fray by offering five flavors of iced and blended coffee for the first time in its stores. Cold Stone president Dan Beem told USA Today that many of their customers (mainly women) would buy Cold Stone ice cream and then head to a nearby coffee house for an iced or blended drink. Beem expects the iced beverages will quickly climb to four percent of the chain’s sales.
And of course at the heart of the iced coffee battle are the coffee war’s Big 3—McDonald’s, Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks. Starbucks is wrapping up a chain-wide discount on iced coffee drinks. Dunkin’ has been handing out free coffee (iced or hot) to purchasers of a pound of coffee. The biggest player has been McDonald’s which is focusing on iced coffee in its McCaf? offerings. McDonald’s CMO told USA Today that iced coffee sales at the burger chain have “seen double-digit sales growth.” New mocha drinks are being added to the menu and to drive awareness, the franchise is planning on giving away samples of iced mocha next month.