Be it summer or winter, people like to indulge in frozen blended drinks all year long. Indeed, research reveals that, prior to the pandemic, nearly one-third of consumers surveyed said they were buying more slushies, shakes and blended iced coffees than in previous years.
That’s very encouraging data for convenience stores, especially considering additional research suggests frozen dispensed beverages (FDBs) can deliver as much as 20% greater profit margins than fountain drinks.
According to one FDB manufacturer, more than three-fourths of c-stores around the world have installed frozen beverage dispensers, but there’s no established standard as to how large or small this section should be in order to stir up sales.
Of course, a store’s total square footage is the first factor that shapes the size of any FDB station. Naturally, larger sites can accommodate larger sections. But with strategic design choices, smaller stores also can support stations serving up multiple frozen beverage choices.
Type and size of equipment often determine the space required. Do you want to install multi-barrel dispensers or accommodate smaller tabletop versions?
While traditional barrel dispensers can be big and bulky, newer touchscreen machines deliver multi-flavor selections within one device, thus saving valuable real estate in a store. Next, FDBs typically come with electrical and water requirements, which not only affect the station’s dimensions, but also dictate where in a store dispensers can be installed.
When designating the space, be sure to account for the various FDB accoutrement. In addition to displaying cups of various sizes, allot room for organizers holding lids and straws. Also carve out enough floorspace in front of the machines to hold nonslip mats to absorb spills and prevent falls for customers and workers.
When it comes to plotting out frozen coffee drink stations, there are two schools of thought: Keep all FDBs together or keep hot and cold coffee options together. Again, space and access to the necessary infrastructure ultimately make that decision for many stores.
For most people, frozen blended drinks are an impulse purchase, so enticing customers is essential. Therefore, the design of any FDB station must incorporate attention-grabbing merchandising. Many manufacturers build in bright lights and colors. Newer versions even offer screens that can be programed as electronic billboards.
Perhaps even more important is the station’s visibility. Design consultants stress the value of positioning FDB stations in the direct line of sight from a store’s front door so it’s one of the first things people see as they walk in regardless of its size.