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Cinnabon to focus on ‘non-traditional venues’ to aid pandemic sales recovery

Focus Brands-owned chain launches new digitally enabled services to diversify its sales channels, highlighting an emerging e-commerce trend among US hospitality companies  

Cinnabon to focus on digitally enabled services to diversify its sales channels | Photo credit: Cinnabon

US bakery chain Cinnabon has announced new delivery and e-commerce sales channels in a bid to expand its footprint beyond its traditional shopping centre locations. 

The Atlanta-based coffee and bakery chain also launched an app and rewards programme in September 2021, as part of efforts to retain customers and adapt to a new digitally focused trading environment following the pandemic. 

“It’s a huge focus point for us to take Cinnabon street side,” commented Kendall Ware, Chief Brand Officer for Cinnabon.  

“We know we’re strong in malls and there are plenty more malls we can get into and continue to grow in, but we want to grow in non-traditional venues, food trucks, ghost kitchens, and whatever we can get our hands on. We want to open the doors to experience the brand in a way that has not been done before,” added Ware. 

Cinnabon has sought to embrace technology to mitigate disruption to store sales during pandemic trading restrictions. It follows similar moves by many US food and beverage brands to target new customers through delivery, drive-thru, pick-up formats and subscription services over the last 12 months.  

In October 2020, Starbucks announced it would focus on developing a 'digital ecosystem' to promote seamless transactions, which included pick-up, suburban drive-thru, and delivery services. 

In April 2021, Panera Bread CEO Niren Chaudhary revealed the food-to-go and coffee chain would focus on takeaway, delivery, drive-thru and e-commerce to cater to new customer preferences. 

US boutique coffee chain Bluestone Lane has also successfully deployed app-based ordering to maintain sales during Covid-19 lockdowns. In July 2021, the chain launched a new loyalty programme, enabling customers to order delivery, pick-up, or dine-in. 

In September 2021, coffee and food-to-go chain Pret A Manger launched a US coffee subscription service, in a bid to offset reduced footfall from coronavirus disruption. 

Highlighting the opportunities these revenue streams present for US operators, World Coffee Portal data shows 45% of US consumers surveyed in 2020 would be open to the option of coffee delivery. Meanwhile, nearly two thirds of US consumers indicated they would prefer to use a drive-thru service when visiting coffee shops. 

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