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Kristina Tipton

Director, Market Research at Near

3 mins read

For the love of Fall: how do Pumpkin Spice Lattes affect Starbucks’ foot traffic?

Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL) is a drink so popular, it merits its own annual release date. The 2022 PSL season kicked off its 19th year on August 30th. But how does this zeitgeisty beverage translate into actual store visits? And have inflation and increased prices affected whether people are coming out for their PSL fix? Near took a look at three of the most popular Starbucks in the U.S. to find out.

We looked at the estimated visitors to 3 top Starbucks locations in different areas of the country:

1. Pike Street in Seattle, WA
a highly trafficked location around the corner from the original Starbucks Pike’s Place store where the chain started.

2. Lebec, CA
an unassuming rest stop in the desert of California, this Starbucks is among one of the busiest in the U.S.

3. Disney World in Orlando, FL
a popular location in the Downtown Disney area of Disney World Resort.

For the first 6 days of PSL season (8/30-9/4), here’s the increase in footfall each of those locations saw versus the same days the prior week:

Footfall to Starbucks Post-PSL vs the week before

Combined, the 3 locations averaged a 15.5% increase in foot traffic at the start of PSL season, indicating that PSLs seem to be translating into real gains in visitors. 

Playing up limited menu items has long been a successful strategy across a wide range of QSRs, from the McDonald’s McRib and Shamrock Shake to the Taco Bell Nacho Fries. Starbucks itself features other popular seasonal menu items, from the holiday-centric Peppermint Mocha to a whole lineup for Fall including the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew. But few have reached the level of fame and fervor of the Pumpkin Spice Latte.

Want to learn more about trends in dining? Join our Research Reveal: What Diners Want: 5 Top Trends in the Restaurant Industry.

Methodology

Near studied estimated visitors for Starbucks locations in Seattle, Lebec, and Orlando between August 30 – September 4, 2022, versus August 23-29, 2022. Reports used included Near Pinnacle’s Estimated Visits.

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