The return of fall brings with it many traditions. An increasingly popular tradition for many is the pumpkin spice latte, with its flavors that capture the spirit of the season. Coffee and donut chains began introducing these beverages in late August and the offers will last for the next few months. The current coronavirus pandemic isn’t hindering the return of pumpkin spice lattes, but it could impact how well the promotions do because of a decline in visits, according to The NPD Group.
Mandated restrictions and safety protocols as well as consumer reluctance have hurt overall restaurant visits, which were down by -14% in July. The same goes for visits to quick service coffee and donut outlets, many of which offer pumpkin spice lattes, which were also down in July.
“Pumpkin spice lattes are a harbinger of fall,” says Darren Seifer, NPD food and beverage industry analyst. “Consumers anticipate their availability and know the drinks are only around for a short period of time and this anticipation creates demand. With foodservice visits down overall, the success of this year’s pumpkin spice latte offers remains to be seen.”
According to NPD’s research, pumpkin spice latte offers don’t attract new customers but instead appeal to existing customers who purchase often, sometimes three times more frequently than non-buyers. They also help lift check size, as the average check including a pumpkin spice latte in September and October of last year was $2.77 more than the average spend in previous months.