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With Coffee Cup Size, Live Large

Posted in: Truckstop Business, Marketing & Retail

Size matters in coffee cup sales, so promote your large.  In America, nearly two-thirds of coffee in the away from home market is consumed at breakfast, and the majority of breakfast sales are either take out or drive through. The most common three coffee cup sizes by volume are 12 ounces (small), 16 ounces (medium) and 20 ounces (large). Have you ever stopped to deconstruct the reasoning behind these sizes? 

For instance, a “large” 20 ounces is not just arbitrary. Habitual coffee drinkers are typically defined as those who drink about three or four cups of coffee per day. At close to three cups, 20 ounces represents close to full consumption so the large capacity is perfectly designed. Unlike dine-in customers, drive-through or take-out customers need their refill “on-board” and they will pay for that convenience. The average commute in our country is almost thirty minutes, plenty of time to drain the large. With a top need-state for coffee consumers (their reason for drinking) listed as “alertness”, a large coffee can play an important role in navigating morning traffic.

What does all of this mean for concepts that compete at breakfast for precious coffee sales? Live Large! While medium remains the most ordered coffee size by almost a two-to-one margin, the large cup size meets too many functional purposes to be neglected any longer. Getting consumers to “trade-up” has always been an important battle cry in foodservice marketing. With coffee, you have profit room to negotiate plus a healthy beverage with no size stigma. Capitalize on the coffee commuters’ morning habit and promote your large.

Join Us For Education and Networking March 25 - 26!
We are hosting NATSO travel plaza and truckstop members March 25 - 26, 2015 in Concord, NC for education and networking. The event will include: 

  • An exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of S&D’s state-of-the art coffee facility;
  • A Seed to Cup” presentation by expert licensed Q-grader, Stephen Schulman; and the 
  • Opportunity to taste excellently crafted coffees from S&D’s new Specialty Coffee Collection.

In celebration of the truckstop and travel plaza industry, and to honor the history and heritage of the Carolinas, the group will also visit the NASCAR Hall of Fame in uptown Charlotte and attend a networking dinner at The Speedway Club at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Email to sign up or learn more.

Ten FREE custom brewer signs! Email to receive (10) free promotional signs for your coffee bar. Offer includes professional graphic services to create a completely custom 7x5.5 POP sign designed to maximize your message. Consider a discount offer on a large coffee. Limited to first five responders, so reply now! Package value $185. 

/// S&D Coffee & Tea, in continuous operation since 1927, serves over 90,000 customers through national distribution and direct store delivery. S&D has been distinguished for supplier excellence by many of the largest retailers and consumers of coffee and iced tea, including McDonald’s and the U.S. Military. In 2009, S&D added a state-of-the-art Liquid Extracts Division, which extracts the flavors of coffee, tea and botanicals for use in iced coffee, shakes, ice cream and frozen desserts, energy drinks and other packaged and dispensed products. Operators can learn more about the innovative beverage solutions that S&D Coffee & Tea offers by visiting the company website at or by contacting Jim Edmonson at

The opinions and advice given by guest post contributors are not necessarily those of NATSO Inc. The posts should not be considered legal advice. Qualified professionals should be sought regarding advice and questions specific to your circumstances.

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About the Author

John Buckner

John Buckner

John Buckner joined S&D Coffee & Tea in 2009, after a 20-year career in sales and marketing for several Fortune 500 companies. He has a track record of generating profitable growth by building brands, successfully launching new products and gaining distribution.

His team is responsible for beverage strategies, new product development, customer-centered marketing, market research, merchandising, trade shows, media planning and advertising.

Buckner holds a master’s degree from the University of Virginia, and an executive MBA from Queens University’s McColl School of Business in Charlotte, N.C.