Starbucks, Dunkin’ and New Urban Centers

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While we knew the wider coffee sector was trending in the right direction, the latest numbers from top brands in the space only deepen the optimism. Additionally, the results also strengthen key findings from migration analysis data speaking to unique retail and hospitality opportunities in rising regions.

The Coffee Rebound Continues

Visits to top coffee and breakfast oriented chains have continued to improve in recent months when comparing visits to a ‘normal’ 2019. Visits to Starbucks locations were down just 4.2% in April, while Dunkin’ actually saw visits match the levels achieved in April 2019. Panera has also seen steady improvements with the visit gap seeing consistent and significant improvements culminating in an April visit gap that was down to just 17.6%.

The returning normalcy to work and school routines, alongside wider retail re-openings looks to be driving a major surge for the space.

Regional Analysis – Even Brighter Days to Come

And critically, this success is taking place while major states like New York and California lag behind. Looking at the week beginning May 17th, visits to Starbucks locations nationwide were down just 2.7% compared to the equivalent week in 2019. In Texas and Florida – two states where reopenings were in full swing – Starbucks locations saw visit growth of 6.5% and 13.0% respectively when comparing that same week to the 2019 equivalent. In California and New York however, visits were down 14.2% and 7.5% respectively. 

The clear conclusion here is that the re-openings and the return of regular routines are driving a major boost for the coffee sector. Top brands are already in range of 2019 levels, and this is without a full recovery in two of the most important states – California and New York. As those areas return, the direct impact on visits to brands like Starbucks and Dunkin’ could be massive.

Rising Region Takeaways

But the implications are not limited to brands. Looking at visits on a DMA level shows that migration patterns are closely linked to Starbucks visits. Harder hit areas like San Francisco and New York are seeing slower recoveries for Starbucks locations. On the other hand, thriving DMAs like Raleigh and Tampa Bay are seeing Starbucks visits surge. 

The takeaway here is that the movement patterns driving new residents for these DMAs are creating real and powerful retail opportunities. Just as major cities are likely to provide new retail benefits, so too will rising regions gain new strengths. Should the success sustain, it could point to a significant shift in how many brands approach their national site selection efforts and even their marketing focus. It even gives another reason to love Panera’s neighborhood bakery concept.


Will the coffee recovery continue? How will regional strengths be affected by further re-openings? Visit Placer.ai to find out.

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