Restaurant Success Tips
If the best part of waking up is a perfect cup of coffee, it is likely you have several choices within one mile. Whether you grind your own coffee, settle for instant coffee, or get in line for something special at a big-box or local coffee shop, there is no doubt that coffee is an integral part of life.

New independent shops and big-box coffee drive-throughs continue to pop up in any commercial area available. As a $100 billion global worth annually, according to globalEDGE, the coffee industry has no signs of slowing down any time soon, so it is important to have a strong coffee program.

Here are some critical factors to a buzzing coffee shop.

Coffee Beans

Sipping a beautiful cup of coffee, espresso, or cold brew can be a wonderful experience or a nightmare. There is little worse than a bad cup of coffee, either weak or watery or muddy. A strong coffee program does not have to be artisanal or premium; however, it does have to be fresh, hot, and the proper strength.

For cafés and diners, simply refreshing the pot of coffee, keeping it hot, and ensuring fresh water is used is enough for most patrons. Always use a new filter, and always ensure when the pot is full that grounds are not allowed to continue dripping into the pot to hinder bitterness and acidity buildup.

Customers at independent or higher-end restaurants will expect a premium or artisanal variety for their coffee. It could be a local roaster or roasted beans from ethically sourced and sustainable producers. The beans you choose are important to your business’s brand, so be sure you find one that fits your shop’s atmosphere, philosophy, and dishes.

Beyond the massively produced brands are an endless variety and combinations of bitter, bold, sweet, earthy, smooth, among other tastes. Coffee shops have room to play when it comes to beans. Often there is a variety of types so choose from and will depend on the style of coffee drink being crafted and your business.

Do your research and try multiple samples to consider a specific bean for your house blend. With this house blend be sure to market it as exactly that, using your shop or restaurant’s name with “house blend.” If the beans are roasted well and the coffee is made properly, you will know by comments from customers and their requests for a bag of your beans.

A Perfect Cuppa Joe

With your new coffee, a perfect cup is difficult to master. Baristas will need to experiment with different brewing and extraction styles including cold brew, drip, espresso, French press, chemex, and pour overs.

Pulling a perfect shot of espresso is not just about the bean. If the coffee is not quite perfect, be sure to change only one part of the process at a time. Sometimes a simple change to the tamping will make a significant difference, and other times it is the grind or how much coffee is used. Be sure to take very specific notes each time throughout the extraction process, then consider doing two combined changes.

Adding a Special Touch

Latte Art

Be sure to add a special touch to all drinks sporting foam with latte art. Often underappreciated, coffee aficionados will love the extra touch. If you have creative baristas, allow them to show off with a latte ‘signature’ rather than the typical leaf, heart, or cloud.

‘Tis the Season

During those seasonal months and holiday periods, you should have drinks of the month. In springtime keep your winter beverages going but transform them into iced drinks. Then during the summer be sure to have a variety of iced and cold drinks, along with classic lemonade or Italian sodas. In the fall, as always, be sure to have those pumpkin spice drinks and others with added cinnamon, ginger, or nutmeg. During the holidays have drinks with an eggnog, caramel, or mint twist.

Providing a range of tasty drinks will nudge people to try something new. Limiting these specials drinks to shorter periods of time between one or two months will increase sales simply because people won’t want to miss out on trying something different. Additional benefits to seasonal drinks are that they’re easy to market and they build customer loyalty.

Marketing Strategies

Coffee shops can easily strategize social media efforts with their products. Simple statements such as “Perk yourself up today – mention this phrase and get a 25% discount on (specific date).” Use timing data from your POS to target favorite drinks, or target slow business days or times with a similar message. Discounts are inherently motivating and when it involves a favorite drink or afternoon perk, both your customers and your bottom line will thank you.

Good coffee often sells itself through word of mouth. A great way to see which drinks are hot or not is through the use of a Coffee Shop POS system.  Most POS systems can run automated reports to show drink trends, fails, and favorites. Along with the POS, incorporating the following marketing ideas can certainly increase your traffic.

Incorporate a loyalty program to reward regular customers, which is typically expected by coffee customers. You have the product their habit craves, so reward differently than your competitors. Perhaps it’s not the cup but the number of ounces purchased. For those who sell beans, a loyalty program specific for beans is unique. 

For additional ideas, read this Case Study about increasing your sales.

Once you have the perfect bean, a house blend, and ways to brew it perfectly, your coffee program is sure to please. Adding special touches of latte art, seasonal drinks, and loyalty programs will prove your coffee shop is the place to go for that cup of joe in the morning.