As in-person dining and socializing slowly re-enter our everyday life this year, opportunities abound for Coffeepreneurs® like you to grow your coffee business. Try these impactful ways to increase revenue and expand your business in 2021 and 2022!
1. Commit to Quality and Consistency
When the hardworking customer rushes into your door for their morning coffee to-go, the mom of three swings by for an afternoon pick-me-up, or the college student settles in to a table for coffee and snacks while they study, they are looking for one thing: a consistent cafe that will serve them with excellence. It’s why people will fork out $5 for a great beverage. Customers want to feel like they can depend on you to meet their needs at any given time. A few steps you can take this year to ensure consistent quality at your coffee business are sourcing quality products and equipment, and investing in barista training.
Source quality products and equipment.
High quality coffee equipment can be very expensive. But using bargain or used equipment is one of the most common mistakes that business owners make when opening their coffee shop! Trying to save a few bucks by purchasing less expensive and lower quality equipment will limit the quality of your drinks dramatically, even if you’re using great coffee. The investment makes a statement that you are serious about coffee and you want to be the best of the best. Focus especially on your espresso machine, grinders, water filtration system, and brewing equipment.
It’s important to note that just buying quality equipment does not guarantee great coffee. You also need skilled hands using the machines, which leads to our second suggestion:
Invest in barista training.
Your objective this year is to ensure the staff are performing to the highest company standard on a consistent basis. This begins with training. Your staff should be trained the same way every time–that way, everyone receives the same information and prevents the potential excuse of, “No one ever told me that.”
The benefits of comprehensive, individualized, hands-on training are robust. First, you create a culture of consistency, so each barista can make identical drinks, offer over-the-top customer experiences, and work as a team. Second, you improve efficiency, as a great barista training program helps your staff optimize their time and resources. And third, you attract and keep the best talent. Barista training is a great way to fuel passion and invest in your staff’s professional development!
Our 2-Day Barista Training Class can help your employees gain the skills necessary to feel confident working as a barista in a quality-oriented coffee shop environment. We cover everything from how to properly operate traditional coffee brewing equipment, prepare all the classic espresso based drinks, and isolate and control individual factors that affect coffee’s taste.
2. Revise Your Menu
Too many menu options or poor pricing may be stifling your coffee shop’s success. If your menu is a hodgepodge of hasty additions, it’s time to regain focus. Your menu should reflect what makes your cafe special for your customers.
Start by reshaping your menu based on a strategy, not emotions. Look at your market and location and build your menu to suit their needs. A bustling main street location may call for a simple to-go menu, while a quiet block in the suburbs may call for drinks to linger over and lunch options.
Additionally, sell an experience, not just a beverage! Presentation, without sacrificing quality of beverage (and profit margin), is absolutely key. The new generation of coffee drinkers want a beverage they can boast about to their friends on social media. Give your customers something to be proud of that will keep them coming back with their friends (and followers) in tow.
Lastly, the prices on your menu should not be arbitrary. Are you charging based on what you think customers will buy or what competitors charge? Or, have you calculated the cost of each item and factored in a specific percentage of profit margin? Unsurprisingly, we encourage you to do the latter.
3. Consider Expanding
A creative or alternate location to your coffee shop provides customers another way to purchase your coffee AND respects individuals’ desired pandemic boundaries. Drive thrus, curbside pick-up, and outdoor seating can be incorporated into your preexisting design to grow your coffee business.
Coffee trucks and coffee carts are an on-the-go, affordable option to serve beverages to a wider audience. Thus, explore local options for locations and events where you could set up a portable point of sale!
If you’re considering expanding, you can also buy and convert an existing shop! Coffeepreneurs® know how much effort goes into starting a successful coffee shop from scratch. If you already own one thriving cafe, acquiring another coffee shop or bakery’s successful location may be faster than launching a new location. To be clear, it will still take considerable effort, and you will likely inherit some big challenges with that acquisition. To mitigate a number of very common challenges, plan on replacing all of the equipment up front and selling the old equipment to recoup a portion of the investment. This way you have brand new equipment that you know is functioning correctly, reliably, and up to your quality standard. You will also need to do a cosmetic remodel to distance yourself from the previous owner’s brand. If you can avoid structural, electrical, and plumbing changes it will make the permitting process significantly easier. The best part is you can usually get open faster and you inherit a loyal customer base. (Pro tip: A location with a drive-thru is a huge plus for profits!)
4. Reward Loyal Customers
For your most loyal regulars, you can offer unique rewards to show your appreciation and keep them coming back. The global green mermaid coffee brand has mastered the use of pre-loaded gift cards with food and beverage rewards and the convenience factor. In fact, more than ⅓ of the stores’ transactions are paid for using gift cards.
In a similar vein, loyalty programs are rising in popularity to keep coffee drinkers coming back. Gartner predicts that 80% of future revenue will come from 20% of your customer base! Points for every visit, free birthday drinks, and even a designated mug at the shop show frequenters you value their business. Once a customer is enrolled in a loyalty program, they are more likely to choose your shop over another for their morning fix. Make sure employees understand the program so they can easily promote and explain it to customers. And keep the program simple–no one wants to memorize a list of rules around their participation. Make it easy for customers to earn rewards and achieve their goal. Cultivating regular visitors is a guaranteed way to grow your coffee business, especially when they tell their friends about you!
5. Add Retail or Point-of-Purchase Displays
Finally, you can generate extra revenue for your coffee business by offering coffee beans, branded merchandise, gift cards, and even grocery items to customers while they visit. Create a logical flow for customer lines while they wait to order and receive their drink. Design a circular customer flow, not linear. Ensure customers pass by at least three opportunities to buy retail items before they reach the counter to order. This includes retail shelves, impulse items, pastries, and merchandise.
In our 3-Day Coffee Business Master Class, we teach students not only how to open a coffee shop, but how to grow your coffee business. Learn the ins and outs of these topics plus so much more at an upcoming Texas Coffee School course!