The Frictionless Experience

Trends that will Shape the Coffee Shop in 2022

When we look back over the last 12 months and even further since the pandemic first took hold, our industry, like so many others, experienced a seismic shift. While this shift presented challenges, it also created significant opportunities. As a result, there is now a fundamental coffee store evolution underway, which will strengthen the industry overall, but most importantly, better meet the demands of today’s consumers.  

It’s not your imagination; coffee shops feel a little different than they did a year or so ago. The familiar ritual of picking up a coffee on the way to work is not the same for many who have not returned to the traditional office environment. Office setups have changed and so too have consumer behaviors. The good news is, the brew goes on, and The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf has adeptly evolved to meet these new behaviors and provide coffee and tea lovers with their favorite beverages – just how they want them, where they want them, and at their convenience. 

A few trends for 2022 that are fueling our company innovation and the industry:

Beyond the “Third Place”

The so-called third place used to be an integral part of everyday life, but the pandemic has minimized that need. More people than ever before are working remotely and not making the previously customary coffee shop visits. As a result, customization, and hyper convenient ways of accessing consumers’ favorite coffee have become much more critical. At The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, we’ve been building prototypes that implement faster service, along with doubling down on technology to offer frictionless purchasing experiences. To cater to this new normal, in 2022, we will open many more drive-thru and walk-up locations, where all orders are made digitally and ready for grab-and-go.  

Bring it to Me

While App-based delivery had been growing in importance, the pandemic significantly propelled this into the future as tens of millions of people in lockdown ordered food & beverages online for delivery, some for the first time. As a result, customers have become more accustomed to instant convenience. At The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, we have seen a massive surge in sales now coming through delivery, a number growing by the day. Consequently, we have been investing heavily in our native delivery program, including convenience for consumers through their favorite delivery platforms: Uber Eats, DoorDash, Postmates, and GrubHub. We have also seen an uptick in consumers eager to replicate their coffee experience at home through their brewing and preparation. As a result, consumers are purchasing more coffees and teas at the eCommerce and retail level and more machines to help with their coffee preparation. 

Uber Customization

One area that has also taken off, and will continue to grow, is the hyper-personalization of coffee beverages. No other consumer product allows one to create a specific order with hundreds of variations. Today’s consumers can decide on the caffeine level, origins of their coffee beans or tea, roasting type, flavoring, sweetness, dairy. The list is endless. We have built this into our product innovation, team members’ training, the development of new stores, and how we connect with our consumers across multiple touchpoints. The intense level of customization is what consumers demand, and we are creating seamless experiences to deliver that customization.

A few other areas to watch and consider in 2022 include the continued growth in cold beverages over hot (3 out of 4 beverages ordered today in our industry are cold); people’s desire for easy to attain daily indulgences or escapes vis-a-vis a cup of their favorite coffee; navigating worldwide supply chain issues and environmental impact, which has affected everything from the cups to the actual beans; and labor shortages.

We have accepted the challenges and seized the opportunities. So stay tuned as our coffee evolution continues and our relentless focus on meeting our customers where they are with what they want continues.

by Sanjiv Razdan | President, Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, Americas and India

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