GetGo Café + Market, which is owned and operated by Giant Eagle, Inc., has successfully completed a chainwide upgrade of its self-serve beverage bar area. The technology and equipment upgrade included a rollout of new bean-to-cup coffee machines, which feature GetGo’s new “signature blend” coffee beans and the addition of new nitrogen-infused and cold brew coffees. The upgrade took four months to complete and marks the latest in GetGo’s strategic enhancements in its food-first approach to serving guests.
“Our food-first approach means making sure our made-to-order menu is fresh, delicious and unique above anything else,” said GetGo’s Director of Culinary and Innovation Farley Kaiser. “Our goal was to serve the freshest and best-tasting coffee in the market, which meant undertaking a large-scale upgrade across our entire footprint. Our guests’ reactions to our new coffee products have made all the effort worth it. We couldn’t be happier with the results.”
The upgrade focused on three areas: 1) sourcing great-tasting, always-fresh coffee beans; 2) the installation of bean-to-cup machines that both grind and brew coffee on demand; and 3) the introduction of nitro and cold brew coffee.
“You can have the fanciest, most expensive coffee machines in the world, but if what gets put into it is cheap or stale, you’re going to get a bad cup of coffee,” said Marion Clarke, category manager. Clarke is in charge of GetGo’s coffee program and led the upgrade project. “Coffee beans were the first step, and we sampled hundreds of beans until we found the right combination of taste and consistency. Only the best coffee beans would earn the right to carry the GetGo name, so we kept our standards extremely high throughout the sourcing process.”
Clarke said the hard work paid off in the end as the beans they selected after the rigorous evaluation process stands in a league of their own. She said, “Our coffee beans are premium quality and their taste gives those large coffee chains and QSRs real competition.”
Convenience store coffee has a bad reputation largely because of the way its brewed and stored. “If you’ve ever had coffee that coats your mouth or has a strong bitter flavor, then you’ve probably had coffee that’s been prepared in large quantities and sat in a metal urn for too long,” Clarke explained. “Coffee served this way can sit there for hours, which just further concentrates that bitter flavor and also infuses it with that tinny, metallic taste.”
GetGo solved this problem with the installation of new bean-to-cup machines that grind and brew hot or iced coffee on demand in less than a minute. “With our new machines, guests make a couple of preference selections on a touch screen, then they’ll have our amazing coffee beans ground and brewed in less than a minute,” said Clarke. “You’ll never get a fresher cup of coffee.”
Coinciding with the new machines is the introduction of GetGo’s new Signature Blend coffee, which is a hand-blended, full-bodied mix of four premium beans from around the world with hints of smokiness, cocoa, citrus and cherry. In addition to their coffee’s bold and rich flavor, which is elevated far above what is typically found at convenience stores, Clarke noted that GetGo’s coffee quality is a treat for all the senses. “The first thing that hits you is that amazing aroma; no matter which flavor bean you choose, the scent will be smooth and fragrant.”
She explained that from there, the coffee will have a rich color and a light froth on the top. “That froth is called ‘crema’ and it marks exceptional quality,” she said. “Crema is produced from coffee bean oils in a delicate brewing process. Not only does it help the final coffee taste better than an average cup of coffee, but you’ll also only get crema when the coffee is made from fresh beans in a top-quality machine.”
Nitrogen-infused and cold brew coffees were once seen as fads, but GetGo knows these products have staying power. The coffee upgrade included the installation of a new machine to offer nitro and cold brew coffee on demand. With a pull of a large tap, guests can serve themselves a cup of fresh nitro coffee or a French vanilla latte cold brew. “At GetGo, we take pride in giving guests the ability to customize their experience, which you’ll see with all the options featured in our made-to-order menu,” said Kaiser. “These nitro and cold brew machines are no different, and I recommend mixing the two flavors together.” By giving guests the ability to determine their own level of sweetness and creaminess, Farley said this is just another example of their guests having the ability to choose the flavors they like best.
GetGo is the first convenience store in its market to launch a campaign with nitro and cold brew coffees. “Nitro and cold brew are both elevated coffee experiences,” said Clarke. “We’ve seen strong consumer demand for both these products, and we knew our coffee upgrade wouldn’t be complete until we added these to our lineup.”