Although there are over 18,000 donut shops in the U.S. and gourmet donuts have been trending for years, it appears that consumers may be visiting them more for the coffee than the donuts.
According to a new report from market research company The NPD Group, 2.1 billion servings of coffee were ordered at QSR donut restaurants against 805 million servings of donuts in the year ending in October 2019. While these two items are typically believed to be purchased together by a large portion of customers, NPD Group’s research finds that only 15 percent of QSR Donut purchases include a donut and coffee combo.
That same research finds that for those who visit donut shops, 68 percent of their purchases include coffee and only 30 percent include a donut. These beverage purchases tend to be more in the specialty coffee category, like lattes and frozen coffee, than in regular coffee. Servings of specialty coffee ordered at donut shops are up 14 percent while regular coffee servings are down by 4 percent.
Whatever customers are purchasing, it has been good news for donut shops. There were 3.2 billion visits made to QSR donut outlets in the year ending in October 2019, up 2 percent compared to the same period a year ago.
“We are a nation of coffee drinkers and while we like our donuts too, we tend to be fueled by coffee and drink more of it,” says David Portalatin, NPD food industry advisor and author of Eating Patterns in America. “The takeaway for donut shops? If you serve good tasting coffee with your good tasting donuts, consumers will visit.”