Stage Three: Consumer Research Survey in progress

Today I am posting to discuss the inundation of Consumer Survey responses and Qualtrics data that I have received so far. My goal is to have 100 consumers answer the questionnaire that I developed; currently there have been 79 responses. After studying the preliminary data in my possession, I am ruminating on several clear trends.

The survey consists of a set of sixteen items that have to be ranked from 1 (Very Unimportant) to 5 (Very Important). Out of those sixteen items, the following emerged as statistically significant data points. I haven’t yet analyzed the data thoroughly (I am in the process of deciding how to do so – recommendations anyone?), but these six qualities stood out due to the overwhelming responses for or against them:

  1. 69/79 respondents say that superior quality of the coffee is either Somewhat Important or Very Important (32, 37 respectively).
  2. 70/79 respondents say that easily accessible location is either Somewhat Important or Very Important (25, 45 respectively).
  3. 76/79 respondents say that friendly staff is Somewhat Important or Very Important (36,40 respectively). The other three people are neutral.
  4. 61/79 respondents say that the availability and the comfort of seating are Somewhat Important or Very Important (31, 30 respectively.
  5. 69/79 respondents say that enjoying the “atmosphere” (as defined later in a free response) is Somewhat Important or Very Important (31, 38 respectively).
  6. 61/79 think that the availability of alcoholic beverages is Somewhat Important or Very Unimportant (15, 46). 12 more are neutral.

Of course these are just my general impressions at this moment. Once I collect the remaining 21 responses, I will do a much more thorough analysis of the data and qualitative responses that I have received.

I also gained some insights from the free response questions that I asked on the survey. There was a certain group of respondents who seemed to prioritize convenience and efficiency above everything else in a coffeehouse. However, when I dug into their individual replies to the free response questions, this group preferred chain coffeehouses like Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts to independent coffeehouses; they are not the group whose data I am interested in for the bulk of this project. It did make me think though – if independent coffeehouses found a way to be more convenient and efficient, like having an option to call-in and pick-up or having separate lines for coffee and specialty items/food, could they capitalize on a segment of the market that has previously been out of reach for them? Food for thought.

Tomorrow I am analyzing 5 coffeehouses in Washington, D.C. Next week, I will be doing 5 more in D.C. and 5 more in southern MD/northern VA. After finishing these visits and completing my interviews (the ones that I can get – coffeehouse owners and managers have not been very forthcoming), I will begin to analyze the qualitative and quantitative data so that I can pair up my insights and look for trends. At the end comes the fun part – positing theories and recommendations for the essential factors that independent coffeehouse start-ups likely need to have!


  1. katiemcghee says:

    Hi Barbara!
    This coffee lover thinks your research is interesting and it looks like it will turn out to be very helpful in the future. I agree with your observation that convenience is an important factor for many coffee drinkers, at least in America, since it fits the general “go go go” attitude of our culture. I know many people who see coffee as mostly a tool to wake up rather than something to enjoy. It would be interesting to know more about patterns in those opinions. Just curious, do you aspire to open an independent coffee shop one day?