Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Second Cup to Launch Loyalty Program, Push for More Renovations This Year

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Second Cup to Launch Loyalty Program, Push for More Renovations This Year

Article excerpt

Second Cup hopes coffee lovers stay loyal

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TORONTO - After another tough quarter, Second Cup hopes coffee drinkers chasing their java fix will also get behind the company's new loyalty card this spring.

The chain plans to expand "Perks from Second Cup" across the country in the coming months after a test run in Calgary. The program will allow users to accumulate and redeem points for every dollar spent through either a plastic card or smartphone app.

The rewards launch is part of a three-year turnaround plan that chief executive Alix Box expects will change the perception of the brand.

"We've taken it to a much more premium type of experience," she said in an interview on Monday, after the company reported a quarterly loss.

"I felt the brand was playing way too much in the middle, and too close to the McDonald's and Tim Hortons of the world."

Second Cup has been trying to overcome an identity crisis that stunted its growth just as a barrage of new competitors entered the market about four years ago in hopes of taking a share of the basic and premium coffee markets.

While McDonald's has chased the low-priced segment in competition with Tim Hortons, others like Starbucks have stepped up their Canadian expansions at the same time independent coffee shops see a resurgence in popularity.

But a recent study suggests the traditional bean has lost flavour to some Canadians.

An ongoing study of consumer consumption habits from research firm NPD Group says that Canadians drink about 2.1 billion cups of coffee per year, their out-of-home consumption declined by more than three per cent in 2014.

Even though coffee orders are down, the study found that consumer visits to coffee shops remain steady, which suggests more people order non-coffee items from the menu.

Box joined the top ranks of the Toronto-area coffee company a year ago as part of an effort to turn around its eroding market share in an already pressured coffee business. …

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