In the realm of coffee-centered concepts, Dunkin’ and Starbucks reign supreme, but traffic is down at both locations. And that is despite the recent introduction of those much-loved pumpkin coffee varieties.

For all its energizing properties, coffee appears to be lagging in sales among the top two limited-service brands: Dunkin’ and Starbucks, according to data from Cuebiq, a location analytics and footfall attribution company. It reported that year-over-year visitation trends were down for the coffee giants during the months of June, July and August, as well as partial numbers for September.

“The decrease in visits to both Dunkin’ and Starbucks could be due to a variety of factors,” Cuebiq Vice President of Marketing Christian Kunkel told QSRweb. “Many people were working from home in the summer, which affected their usual pre-COVID coffee purchasing habits — such as going out for coffee every day — while others might have started watching their spend a bit more carefully.”

Of the two coffee-centered brands, Dunkin’ has fared better in the comparison of visits, but Kunkel said it was notable that not even the much-anticipated seasonal introduction of pumpkin-flavored coffee drinks have helped either brand.

Visits to Starbucks were down 29% on its pumpkin spice latte launch date (Aug. 25) compared to the 2019 debut, for example. Dunkin’ saw a 5% YoY drop in coffee sales on Aug. 19 — when it introduced pumpkin-flavored coffee — compared to the same time last year.

“Similarly to the summer months, with less people going to work and more people becoming conscious of their spending, the pumpkin coffee promotions could have been impacted by those shifts in behavior, not necessarily from a direct burnout of the promotion itself,” Kunkel said.

Table insert: Provided

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