I hope you got some great marketing results from my first article of 7 Local Marketing ideas for your Coffee Shop, but if you’re looking for more sure-fire ways to increase sales and develop your customer base, then here are 7 more ideas that I know will help.
I have personally used and seen the results of these marketing efforts for different coffee shops that I’ve worked at, so I know they will work for you too if you just put them to use.
- Schools – Offer a discount (10% Off) to all Teachers and Students, have a Parents Day promotion where once a week all parents who have a student in an area school gets a discount … or buy 1 get 1 free deal, provide coffee and refreshments to all the PTA meetings, you may want to go so far as to provide coffee to the Teacher’s Lounge, that way you get the teachers hooked on your product. Put an ad in the school papers to support the schools more. Put an ad in the Yearbook, something looked at for years to come.
- Radio Station – Supply coffee and pastries in the morning to the radio talk show hosts make sure you leave some marketing materials that mention your business details in case they want to give those out over the air, host a radio contest but make it something memorable … say the tenth caller to the talk show gets a month of free drinks (limit one per day and only for winner), you know the talk show hosts are ALWAYS doing contests … so supply coffee at those contests and events and again just make sure you have marketing materials with all your contact and business info on them.
- Boy Scouts/Girl Scouts Troops – Supply refreshments for troops, give discounts to troop leaders and parents, cross-promote National Boy Scout Month (February) or the Girl Scout’s Birthday (March 12th) with beneficial sales portions being donated to local troops … try a tie-in using Girl Scout Cookies in your blended drinks! Supply coffee and refreshments to troop events so parents think positively about your place in the community. Do a presentation at a troop meeting to educate them on the specialness of coffee as a commodity and why Fair Trade is important in the industry.
- Big Office Buildings – If you’ve got the man-power then run up a coffee cart to the office floors … make sure you take food items too and not just coffee. Offer special group Catering discounts/specials to supply meetings of 8+ more people, offer special discounts for specific companies (especially during special company events), offer a special discount for a different floor of the building one day a week and rotate floors. Make sure you promote specials for Secretary Day and Boss Day too.
- Hair Salons, Dog Grooming, Auto Mechanic, Car Detailing – Market your business anywhere that customers have to wait or come back within an hour or two. Cross promote with those businesses by offering a discount to their customers and your customers get a discount at their businesses too. Offer a deep discount (at cost if possible) to these businesses to use your coffee as their customer’s coffee so you’ll be mentioned every time someone asks about or compliments the coffee.
- Hospitals, Urgent Care Centers, Doctor Offices, Dentist Offices – Again, anywhere that customers have to wait any significant length of time. Also professionals in these fields can afford luxury coffee drinks so they are a great target market themselves. Also try to supply the office coffee at these locations so that when their clients ask where the coffee comes from … you’re the place mentioned.
- Affordability – Beat the Big Players in the market by being slightly more affordable on your drink prices with superior products too, word of mouth will quickly spread on this fact.
What other ideas do you have that you need help developing?
So I attended and competed in my first latte art competition Thursday night July 24th, 2014 at Coffee & Tea Collective in North Park, San Diego.
Although I didn’t make it past the first round, I’m proud of myself for at least getting over my crowd-phobia and being able to compete at all … I can’t believe how nervous I was and how that affected my performance.
At right you’ll see a picture of my typical hearts that I can make on top of lattes, but I don’t have a picture of my competition entry … it was nothing like my best work to say the least.
For those of you that aren’t familiar with a Latte Art competition, this one is regional to San Diego and consists of 4 events at various host coffee companies over the course of a “season” (usually about 3 or 4 months). Two competitors pull out their best latte art craft within the event’s particular parameters (this first event was all free-pour so you could use any design you wanted).
I had a great time at the event though and I’m excited to attend more of them in the near future.
I’d like to thank Coffee & Tea Collective for being great hosts for the competition as well as the company I work for, Café Moto, for providing two different types of cold brew coffee as refreshments for the crowd.
Cheers until next time,
What is a Single Origin espresso (also called an S.O. espresso, or S.O.S for Single Origin Shot)? It’s taking a bean from a single origin country, say Mexico or Brazil and brewing it via the espresso method, which is forcing high temperature water at high pressure through finely ground coffee for a short period of time.
A “traditional” espresso is a coffee or blend of coffees that have been created and roasted specifically for the espresso brewing method to be sipped on it’s own or mixed with other ingredients to make an espresso-based beverage, like a latte or mocha.
Single Origin coffee is often roasted for various brewing methods that require more time and more coarse of a grind. An espresso shot of the same coffee beans will tend to get exaggerated and can often come out tasting weak and overly acidic. To overcome this fact, a S.O. espresso can be pulled to a shorter volume and a longer time to enhance the body and lower the acidity … something I, as a veteran barista, was unaware of until researching and writing this article on the topic.
It’s also been suggested that a Single Origin espresso can be better suited as an Americano than a traditional espresso shot because of the bright acidity and deepened body it offers when extracted into plain hot water.
Any coffee brewing method that you use can change the taste profile of the coffee based on the time brewed, temperature of water, pressure of water, level of grind and the actions of the person making the brew. So by offering a coffee as a S.O. espresso is just another way to let you enjoy that coffee’s natural essences and nuanced flavors in a different brewing style.
Because the coffee’s flavors and characteristics become concentrated and exaggerated, a S.O. espresso is a great way for baristas and customers to learn about a single origin coffee and it’s uniqueness from other beans. Keep this in mind the next time you enter a coffee shop that offers a Single Origin espresso as an option and deciding whether or not to give it a try.
Enjoying or disliking a Single Origin espresso, like any other coffee brewing method, really boils down to personal taste and preference.
What’s your opinion on Single Origin espresso?
I’m often asked how I got started in the coffee industry and where my passion for it comes from, so I’d like to share that story with you.
It all started for me in Indianapolis, Indiana at 18 years old when I happened to meet a new friend at the coffee roaster where he worked, The Fine Grind. As I sat there chatting with him and the store manager, the manager said "I really like your attitude and personality, would you consider working with us?". I was working full time for a catering company but I told him yes I could pull a few shifts here and there. About 2 months into this "spare-time" job, I was hooked. I didn’t realize there was so much to know when it came to the humble coffee bean and it’s industry. Back then (circa 1990), the Specialty Coffee Industry was still pretty young in the U.S. and the SCAA (Specialty Coffee Association of America) had only been on the scene for less than a decade. Most coffee businesses were pretty small, in the Midwest at least, and chain stores like Gloria Jeans and Starbucks were just starting to become household names. This particular coffee roaster was also well known for our “flavored coffee” … we would add chemical and natural oils to the beans immediately after roasting, even before the beans had a chance to completely cool down … something I can’t believe nowadays that we did to our wonderful beans and their natural flavors.
The more I delved into the coffee world, the more I fell in love with all aspects of coffee and the industry. I quit the catering company and went full-time into the coffee business … within a year I was actually roasting coffee (something I shouldn’t have been allowed to do as such a novice, but the business owner didn’t know any better back then) and soon after that I moved into the assistant manager position. I must admit that back then, I got most of my coffee training myself through my own endeavors and efforts, not through my employer … which I appreciate now, because it proved to me that I had the self-passion for this industry.
I eventually decided to give a few of the bigger players in the industry a chance to see how I liked the “corporate” side of things (I worked at both Starbucks and Caribou Coffee for a few years). While I got much better training and learned a lot from these experiences, I also got to know that I liked working for smaller coffee roasters better than big corporate companies where the roasting happened somewhere across the country and outside of the store … a valuable lesson.
I also got the opportunity to work for a few coffee startups and help design everything from store layouts to menus to advertising projects. Several times I’ve compiled, designed and taught the coffee knowledge programs for companies. I’m amazed at how much the industry itself has grown up along with the training and knowledge that current baristas receive. When I look back over my coffee career, I’ve done pretty much every job you can think of related to coffee besides sourcing and buying the beans.
Now at 42 years old, I’ve been in the coffee industry for just over 24 years and every time I leave it, it’s not long before it pulls me back. Coffee can do that to you … for many reasons. So here I am … working for a coffee roaster, helping to train baristas, sharing my passion with my customers and enjoying life with coffee.
What’s your coffee story?