Do you get the feeling your customers are losing interest in your coffee shop? That a little excitement could keep them from opting for your competitors?
Keep your customers’ attention by reviving your coffee shop menu and expanding your product offerings. Kim Logsdon and Scott Couchenour, Coffee Business Strategists interviewed five business owners to understand ways they’ve achieved success in the coffee business.
Here are seven ideas from coffee roasting industry experts on ways to expand your coffee shop’s product offerings. Read on to learn how you can brew up excitement in your business and improve cash flow.
#1: Introduce Unique Flavors That Add Sparkle
Have you toyed with your roasts or crafted your own spin on a common coffee flavor? Let your inventions shine. Give your flavors the spotlight by introducing distinctive coffees. If your customers respond positively, consider making one of your specialties a permanent resident on your coffee shop menu.
For example, Modcup Coffee specializes in fruit-forward coffee roasts that customers keep coming back for. Travas Clifton, the owner of Modcup Coffee recommends Modcup’s fruit-forward iced coffee as an alternative to loading up lattes with surgery syrups. “Fruit-forward cold coffees are […] our biggest selling by far. [W]hen a coffee has a hybrid taste quality, that’s kinda like an iced tea hybrid of iced coffee, that’s going to be a big sell. […] So when people come in and ask for those iced latte flavored drinks, our baristas are trained to [offer] peach cold brew. Not everyone’s gonna go for it, but a lot do.”
#2: Craft Seasonal Menus with Exciting Specialties
Add seasonal excitement to your menu with holiday drinks and limited-time roasts. Get creative with commonly overlooked flavors, or highlight your personal favorite blends. Daniel Krenzer, Alamance Kaffee Werks owner, nostalgically described his shop’s dark roast vintage blend: “[T]hat was the most fun coffee to develop because [it’s like] our dad’s coffee or our grandpa’s coffee. [I]t’s the coffee that you put in your big thermos to take to work. It’s the diner-style, and I just love that this time of year, the vintage blend.” Written by Shauna Johnston
#3: Sell Baked Goods and Snacks That Complement Your Coffee
Consider selling muffins, cookies, or other baked goods that pair with coffee. If your shop has a full kitchen, you could even serve breakfast. Mike Lenda, the owner of The Well Coffeehouse, expanded his company’s roastery to add a commissary kitchen. The Well now serves breakfast and lunch: “[I]n our stores, people come for breakfast and lunch and baked goods and beyond […]. We’ve added a baking facility [to our roastery] to help our stores. We make all of our food fresh […], ultimately things that will complement the coffee and the beverages and the experiences that customers have.” No access to a kitchen? Think about pre-packaged foods with long shelf lives or bottled beverages that won’t compete with your shop menu. For example, Modcup Coffee and Cottonwood Coffee sell growlers of their cold brew, perfect for events or office meetings.
#4: Share Your Homemade Specialties
Bethani Wright, the owner of The Coffee Scoop, makes homemade marshmallows – her customers can’t get enough. Bethani also crafts her own peppermint flavor and follows her father’s vanilla recipe. Written by Shauna Johnston
Bethani explained her customers’ reactions to her creations: I’m getting skilled at it and everyone loves them. […] My dad always made his own vanilla, so I have a little bit of his that I just keep going. So I have vanilla marshmallows, I make peppermint, [and] I made boozy marshmallows, which are people’s favorite marshmallows. If marshmallows are outside your comfort zone, try a simple family-favorite recipe. For example, Jacob Limmer, owner of Cottonwood Coffee, sells jars of homemade jam and granola. Do you have any personal favorite recipes you could make in bulk? Try selling batches in your coffee shop or giving out samples for customers to try.
#5: Design Branded Merchandise
You’ve labored over your logo and branding – why not promote yourself on practical souvenirs? Place your logo on shirts, sweatshirts, hats, or other merchandise. You can sell items in your shop or include freebies in a holiday gift set. These examples might offer some inspiration: ● Modcup Coffee offers “JRSYCTY” t-shirts as well as coffee mugs sporting the shop’s “Caffeine and Dreams” tagline. ● Cottonwood Coffee sells a variety of merchandise. Customers can buy branded sweatshirts, beanies, tote bags, and chocolate. ● Bethani Wright, the owner of The Coffee Scoop, puts together gift sets around the holidays. She includes gifts like hand-selected travel mugs, homemade marshmallows, and boozy sugar spoons. Written by Shauna Johnston
#6: Sell Coffee Tools so You’re Always in Your Customers’ Minds
Why stop with everyday merchandise? Sell branded coffee scoops, travel mugs, or carafes. Your customers will remember you when they use your coffee tools at home. For example, new customers of The Coffee Scoop receive a perfectly portioned coffee bean scoop. Do you partner with other businesses? You can customize products for your wholesale customers, too. Alamance Kaffee Werks offers specially-sized coffee packages for business customers. Alamance pre-weighs beans or ground coffee to accommodate commercial machines in restaurants and gas stations.
#7: Expand Sales to Local Retailers
You can expand your product offerings outside the coffee shop, too. Consider investing in shelf space at grocery stores where your returning customers shop. Jacob Limmer, the owner of Cottonwood Coffee , sells Cottonwood Coffee products at the local Walmart. He explained that the partnership provides his community better access to his roasts: That happens to be where a large segment of my target audience shops on a regular basis. […] I don’t think that they should be prohibited from being able to access high-value, high-quality coffee. […] And as it unfolded, I realized that not only was it the right choice, it was a great choice for us.
Spice up Your Offerings and Give Your Customers an Exciting New Reason to Return.
Have you found inspiration for brewing up excitement about your coffee shop offerings? Spice up your drink menu with unique flavors and limited-time roasts. Refresh your specialties seasonally and offer homemade treats. Take your offerings beyond the menu with branded gifts and souvenirs that will remind your customers of your shop. Think of ways you can support local businesses so you’re top of mind for their next wholesale purchase. With these seven tips, you can get creative with your offerings, both inside and outside your coffee shop. Try these ideas to attract new faces and give your existing customers something unique to try. You’ll level up your offerings and your cash flows in no time.
This article was Brewed Up By Kim Logsdon and Scott Couchenour of The Business Lab, an online community of coffee business owners who are learning from each other and building worldwide relationships together.
Written by Shauna Johnston