MERCER ISLAND Wash. Emerald City Smoothie, a 65-unit chain based here, is rolling out a new weapon in the coffee wars: a cup of joe that not only wakes you up but gives you a burst of energy as well.
Since February, the smoothie chain has introduced its JavaFit coffee line to 18 units, with three stores debuting the nutrient-enhanced coffee product this week. The JavaFit line features four different types of drip-coffee products that are nutrients enhanced, including the Diet, Energy Plus, Immune and Multi-Vitamin coffees.
Before February, Emerald City did not offer coffee on its menu. In March, the chain expanded its hours to better compete with other chains making a run at the breakfast daypart. Jamba Juice earlier this year rolled out a steel-cut oatmeal product, as did Starbucks. In March Seattle-based Starbucks also began offering its “breakfast pairings” value deals for under $4.
A16-ounce serving of JavaFit coffee is priced at $1.50. Customers can request the coffee with soymilk, or add other protein and nutritional boosters for an additional 75 cents per boost. Guests can also request to blend the coffee with any smoothie on Emerald City’s menu.
“We are a company that was founded out of the Seattle, Washington, market; we’re obviously in the neighborhood of many well-known coffee locations so many of our customers look for coffee,” said Julie Vance, Emerald City’s vice president of operations. “We’re also in an environment where the weather fluctuates, not everyone wants a smoothie in the dense Seattle weather.”
The chain also is offering 2.5-ounce packs of ground JavaFit coffee as a retail item available in stores for $3.50. Emerald City also launched last November a protein-based oatmeal product aligned with cereal brand Kashi Co.
Vance said that the JavaFit items are being introduced to Emerald City locations where such products make sense, such as freestanding units and those found within gyms.
“You get that audience and they need something to give themselves energy that’s healthy — those were natural picks,” Vance said.
Vance said that Emerald City already has seen an increase in morning traffic at locations that offer the coffee products. “We’ve seen a trend of people coming in, grabbing coffee in the morning and visiting lunchtime for a smoothie, which is a perfect scenario,” she said.
Emerald City two months ago also introduced a loyalty program and the chain is exploring the introduction of such new products as healthful sandwiches and wraps by the end of the year.