A new consumer trend report from Technomic says that the number of bakery cafés operating in the United States climbed more than 4 percent during the past three years while sales at those units rose 12 percent.
The study also found that 71 percent of consumers have visited a bakery café this year, up significantly from 43 percent in 2008. Moreover, nearly three quarters of those consumers said they visit bakery café concepts at least once a month, which indicates that consumers are driving growth in the segment by becoming frequent customers once they do visit.
“More consumers are visiting these restaurants and are gaining familiarity, but nearly one in three consumers surveyed still haven’t been to a bakery café concept,” Darren Tristano, executive vice-president of Technomic, said in the report. “Their most common reasons have to do with location and unfamiliarity. As more units open and as marketing efforts continue to boost awareness, there is little reason to think the segment will not continue to perform well.”
The bakery café segment currently accounts for $5 billion in annual sales and more than 3,600 units nationwide. Other findings from the report include:
• A third of consumers (34 percent) strongly agreed they would visit bakery cafés more often for breakfast if menus offered a wider variety of breakfast items.
• Three in four consumers (75%) said the quality of service is very important when deciding which bakery cafe to visit, and about two-thirds (66%) consider the speed of service to be very important.
• Panera led the segment, with 7 in 10 consumers (69 percent) saying they visit and buy food from the chain at least occasionally.
The “Bakery Café Consumer Trend Report” examined bakery café purchasing behavior, attitudes and preferences of more than 1,500 consumers and used comparison data from a 2008 study.