Coffee business steams ahead: Report shows its bounce-back from the pandemic has been swift
- March 1, 2022: Vol. 9, Number 3

Coffee business steams ahead: Report shows its bounce-back from the pandemic has been swift

by Mike Consol

While the overall dining business took a beating from COVID-19, leading coffee brands have proven resilient in the face of the pandemic. Indeed, foot traffic data for the coffee space shows that visits returned to pre-COVID levels in April 2021, and have consistently outpaced 2019 numbers since May 2021, according to a new white paper from Placer Labs.

The report says coffee vendors posted year-over-year growth of 8.4 percent and 7.5 percent in November and December, respectively, while overall dining experienced a decline in visits of 6.4 percent and 1.8 percent in comparison to 2019 — showing that the demand for coffee stands apart from the wider demand for dining.

“This reveals that the demand for coffee can remain robust in the face of widespread disruptions to routines,” a report summary reads.

Though Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts are usually the first brands that come to mind when the conversation turns to national coffee chains, there are several other national coffee players showing strength. The most prominent jump in year-over-year customer visits belongs to Dutch Bros. Coffee. The brand’s rise can be attributed to its significant expansion, both to new markets and within states where it already had a strong presence, and to its drive-thru-based business model, which was particularly well suited to the realities of life during the pandemic.

Taking California as a test case is revealing. Dutch Bros. is accelerating its expansion in the Golden State and has seen a 170 percent average growth in visits between January 2020 and December 2021 — largely due to its store fleet expansion.

Among the secondary players in the space are Caribou Coffee, Peet’s Coffee & Tea, Tim Hortons, and The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.

Download the complete Placer Labs report here.


Mike Consol ( is editor of Real Assets Adviser. Follow him on Twitter (@mikeconsol) and LinkedIn ( to read his latest postings.

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