Chick-fil-A introduced a custom-made, specialty-grade coffee today to its more than 1,800 restaurants nationwide.

The Atlanta-based quick-service chicken chain has partnered with Thrive Farmers Coffee to source the beverage, which is available hot or iced. Chick-fil-A says it is the first quick-service chain to offer coffee that meets the standards of the Specialty Coffee Association of America, which set guidelines for roasting and brewing coffee, among other criteria.

“We reflected on feedback from our customers, who expressed that they wanted a better cup of coffee, and we found a partner who brought the added expertise we needed,” Chick-fil-A vice president of product strategy and development David Farmer said in a press release. “The true magic of this relationship is that not only does the coffee taste great, we also found a partner who shares our belief that business can be bigger than the bottom line. Now we are able to serve our customers an amazing cup of coffee that also will improve the lives of the farmers who grow it.”   

Thrive Farmers signs contracts with farmers and farmers’ groups that meet its and Chick-fil-A’s specifications and shares the revenue with the farmers once Chick-fil-A buys the coffee. The process removes added costs in the supply chain and allows the farmers to benefit by earning more for their coffee and getting more stable prices, according to Chick-fil-A.

“Our partnership with Chick-fil-A is rooted in a shared commitment to providing quality coffee while impacting farmers and their communities,” Thrive Farmers founder and chief executive Michael Jones said. “By partnering with Chick-fil-A’s 1,800-plus restaurants, we have together an unprecedented opportunity to expand the impact of our farmer-direct platform and allow Chick-fil-A’s customers to know the positive impact they are having on the farmers who grow their coffee.”

Chick-fil-A said its blend — a medium roast with notes of caramel and cocoa and a light citrus finish — has been designed to pair well with its breakfast items.

A cup of hot coffee is priced starting at $1.59. The iced version is cold-brewed, sweetened with cane syrup and served with 2-percent milk. It is available in regular and vanilla flavors in 16- and 20-ounce sizes, which start at $2.29 and $2.59, respectively.

Although Chick-fil-A may be the first national quick-service brand to introduce specialty coffee, many chains have upgraded their coffee offerings in recent years. McDonald’s introduced its McCafé beverage line in 2009, and Burger King has experimented with various coffee upgrades, including BK Joe from 2007 to 2010, and new Smooth Roast coffee and latte drinks introduced in 2013.

Last year, Subway introduced Keurig single-cup brewers as an option to its more than 25,500 domestic franchised restaurants. The company reported in June that more than half of those franchisees had installed them.
 
Contact Bret Thorn at bret.thorn@penton.com
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