The average Australian’s love for a cup of coffee is far from secret. You only have to look around as franchised stores and individual barista operations circulate themselves around almost every corner. With research from Roy Morgan states that approximately 10.4 million Australians consume coffee in the average week, it is no surprise we are so spoilt for choice. Given it is relatively cheap to make a cup of coffee and with sales prices upwards from $3.00, there is some serious money doing the rounds.
Research by BIS Shrapnel found that around 1.4 billion cups of coffee were consumed in Australian cafés last year. Accompanying this, 718 million café meals were eaten. More than one in every two coffees consumed included food. Wow!
Prioritising the value and quality of the accompanying meal or snack has been the catalyst for Muffin Break’s success. The traditional focus of the barista upsell (snack with coffee) was turned around by Muffin Break, as it pushed for coffees to be upsold with the signature muffin. This opened the door to grab a greater slice of the coffee and café meal market. The muffin was the ideal product to be eaten on the run whilst balancing a coffee in another hand. It also became a great afternoon snack to consume whilst sitting down. The opening to capture both types of customer was very ajar and the market responded favourably.
Muffin Break now has around 180 stores Australia wide, with products baked fresh in stores daily. Without knowledge of its average consumer purchase data, it is likely that most of its customers purchase multiple items per sale. I would also assume that coffee makes up a significant portion of its total margin. What Muffin Break has managed to do is differentiate itself from “just another coffee shop” and from “just another snack shop”. Although muffins headline the business, Muffin Break repeatedly appears in Roy Morgan’s customer satisfaction survey for coffee shop of the month. Clearly, it can brew an exceptional cup as well. This is far from coincidental given the coffee statistics. Knowing its customers isn’t a weak suit either, with Muffin Break currently refreshing its brand to enhance the “me moment” vibe desired by the majority of its core market. Customers cherish experiences where they can truly appreciate indulging or treating themselves.
The success of Muffin Break from positioning itself as quality snack providers with coffee is evident. There can also be no question that franchising has allowed it both to expand quickly and reach a greater portion of its target market. The interesting question for the future will be their ability to evolve and match it with the next exciting product designed to accompany a coffee. I look forward to seeing what that might be.