The Three Easiest (and Cheapest) Ways to Increase Sales

This economy is tough and the days of easy money are over. Good, old fashioned elbow grease is the only way to make things happen for your business. What can you do inside your café’s walls to build a relationship for life? Don’t have the extra cash to advertise? Follow these simple (and cheap) ways to increase sales.

1) Be there
It all starts with this one simple idea and all the other points stem from it. Hopefully one day you’ll own five businesses and they will all be well-oiled machines that require minimal effort on your part…hopefully. Equate it to a child needing a parent. Your business cannot grow up and thrive without your steady hand to guide it along the way. Customers that see the owner of a business build instant relationships. It involves them and gives them a role to play. It’s your leg up on the corporate models, too.

Along those same lines, know when not to be there. If you need a break, take one. If you need a day off, take one. A stressed out owner is not going to provide the incredible customer service that is needed. The staff will thank you, too. A mental health day will go a long way in keeping the head clear and the body active.

2) Bus the tables
You’d be amazed at what you can learn while cleaning up. Not only is it a great way to start conversation with your guests, it can also provide a great feedback tool. Throwing away a couple full cups of your signature drink? Maybe it’s not as good you think. If you aren’t lucky enough to have the customer who made the purchase there, have the barista make one especially for you and pinpoint what might be wrong.

Chatting up customers as you clean is the key. Had a guest park in the most comfy chair, set up a small office and not buy a single thing? Go over and make a sale. Start the dialogue: “Can I get you anything? We have a great new mocha.”

3) Sample, sample, sample
Want to increase sales on higher ticket total drinks? Sampling is the most effective method, by far. In almost every instance, if you give away samples and make one sale from your efforts, you’ve covered the cost of the sample and possibly made an exclusive drip coffee customer an occasional $ 4.50 smoothie customer.

Diversifying your menu is almost always a good idea, but many times after new additions are made, owners wonder why appealing new drinks don’t move. Chances are, the customer hasn’t been made to want the drink at all, much less known that it has been added to the menu. Let’s say, for example, you add Red Espresso, the rooibos (red tea) that can be scooped into your portafilter and added as a naturally-decaffeinated, antioxidant-rich substitute for coffee in espresso-based beverages. This is a relatively new product in the marketplace that has won awards in our industry and is appealing in both concept and flavor; however, it must be sampled to prospective customers if a business expects to sell it in higher volumes.

For more information on how to save money with everything from more tips to our
Everyday Value and Savings program, give us a call at (800) 835-5943.

Ways to Increase Sales

Tea Lattes Can Help Drive Non-Coffee Drinkers Into Your Shop

Everyone is vying for the coffee addict’s dollar, but what about the tea drinkers? Just over half our population drinks coffee daily, while the rest are left with a paltry and mediocre selection of processed or sugary options. A great way to drive more traffic among non-coffee drinkers is improving your tea options.

The tea latte category has been quietly growing for quite a while, with chai lattes as the leader. But, tea lattes can be made with all types of tea: black or green, and even exotic options like rooibos and matcha. The basic concept of a tea latte is very simple… Instead of espresso, use a concentrated tea mixed with milk. Tea lattes can be made hot, iced or frozen.  All forms offer the same health benefits as traditionally brewed tea and are great alternatives to coffee.

TeaLatteMasala Chai is the most popular tea latte.  It is made with black tea that is brewed with traditional Indian Spices, sweetened with honey, and mixed with milk.  The popularity has led to several different applications.  Chai can be found in a powder form, as a liquid concentrate, or a shop can make it from scratch, which allows the shop to cater the sweetness and spice level to their customer base.

946-1111_matcha-posMatcha and Matcha lattes may very well be the next big trend in tea.  Matcha is a powder made from the leaves of shade-grown tea bushes.  These leaves grow slower and are much higher in chlorophyll, accounting for the bright green color.  The antioxidants are equivalent to drinking many glasses of regular green tea, and dozens of times higher than blueberries and other so-called superfoods.  A matcha latte is best enjoyed sweetened with simple sugar, vanilla or complementing fruit flavors to balance its intense and distinct flavor.

redespressoRooibos is a red “tea” made from the leaves of the red bush of South Africa.  One popular adaptation of rooibos tea is red espresso®, which can be extracted similarly to a typical shot of espresso. A shot of red espresso® offers more antioxidants than a regular cup of tea, is naturally caffeine free and helps soothe digestion.  Rooibos tea has a pretty neutral flavor and can be used to create endless combinations.  Red lattes are a hit with tea lovers, especially when enhanced with different syrup options.

Contact a Stockton Graham & Co. Customer Service Associate today at 800.835.5943 to learn more about offering tea lattes in your shop!

Roses are Red, Violets are Blue…

The coffee is hot, and here’s a little something for you!

Valentine’s Day is coming up, and as the second largest retail holiday of the year, we have chosen three great products to celebrate the season.  So, whether you need to heat yourself up or cool your heels, any and all of these options are sure to be popular with your customers.

Chocolate covered cherries are a classic candy recipe usually reserved for special occasions; to be given to your special someone.  While the candy version is a tad messy, you can enjoy our Chocolate Cherry Kiss flavored coffee without the sticky mess!  Starting with our 100% Arabica beans, we then blend flavors of sweet, juicy cherries and creamy candy then surround it with sweet milk chocolate.  Chocolate and coffee go together naturally so well, and the added sweetness and fruit from the cherries makes for a delectable treat.  We suggest featuring this coffee as a daily brew and for take-home.  Remind your customers that their sweetie is probably expecting a thoughtful surprise, and what better way to wake up than with a coffee that reminds them that someone special was thinking of them. You can pack a few bags with your own label and have them ready for impulse purchases, or rely on us to pre-pack them for you.

Invite your customers to treat themselves this Valentine’s Day to a Red Velvet Frappe from Cappuccine.  It’s rich cocoa and cake batter flavor sets it apart from the norm, but the luscious red color really makes it shine.  Top each with whipped cream and red sprinkles for extra appeal.  Whether bought for themselves or someone else, your customers will love the great taste and festive colors.  If you’re in an area with exceptionally cold weather, you may want to offer this as a hot drink as well.

redespressoThis is the time of year that we see higher sales in teas as well, though not all cafés take great advantage of the opportunity.  Since only a little more than half of all adults drink coffee, having great, high quality alternatives is a must.  Rather than offering a hodge podge of low-end teas like those found in diners, consider a line of nice, full leaf teas, packed in silken sachets.  These teas offer a cleaner, clearer more satisfying liquor, and your customers are willing to pay more for them.  Contact us today to learn more about the options we have, including red espresso – a rooibos espresso product from South Africa.

Torani Peppermint BarkHolidays and other events are a great for a Limited Time Offer or LTO.  These promotions build anticipation and spur action from your customers to act now, or risk having to wait until next year.  A great LTO for this Valentine’s day are White Peppermint Mochas.  Peppermint remains popular well into the Valentine season, and this would be a great chance to clear out your inventory before warmer weather comes.  We have a very limited supply of the NEW Torani Peppermint Bark, which is perfectly formulated for just enough peppermint flavor to complement the rich, white chocolate.  Once these few cases are gone, we will all have to wait until next Fall to get more. Click here for some great Torani Peppermint Bark Sauce recipes!

rosesAs with any promotion you offer, make use of any free POS materials available so that your customers get the visual impact of these great drinks.  Be sure your staff are aware of the new items and how to properly prepare them.  They should suggestively sell featured items; it costs nothing to do so, and the rewards are pure profit.  Help your staff sell more by providing them sensual keywords, like “luscious, divine, silky, sweet etc.”

Contact our Customer Care Department by calling 800.835.5943 for access to samples, POS Materials and more fun ideas.

Stockton Graham & Co.® and red espresso® Announce New Retail Packaging

Red Espresso Retail PackAs U.S. Master Distributor of  red espresso®, we are excited to announce the launch of a new 4.4oz red espresso ® retail pack in the U.S. market to meet unprecedented global demand and sales of the world’s first Rooibos tea espresso! This new product packaging introduction comes just in time for the holiday season and is the perfect size for consumers who want to prepare red espresso® at home, while they are away or treat a loved one with a healthy, exotic gift. Extensive trade and consumer research, pack evaluation and testing led to the new “mini” red espresso® retail pack, which features the same package format as the 8.8oz re-sealable pack.

red espresso® is 100% Rooibos tea (also known as red tea) produced in a very special, patented way for use in espresso machines – just like coffee! What’s even better is that it’s rich in antioxidants and naturally caffeine-free, so it can be enjoyed late in the day or night. Like coffee, red espresso® is produced for use in espresso and coffee makers. Expressed, it delivers a strong, rich-tasting, dark red shot of Rooibos tea that has a slightly sweet, earthy, full-bodied taste.

“The red espresso® product line was a world-first innovation and now is quickly becoming a globally recognized brand,” said Vojta. “The introduction of the new 4.4oz retail pack to the U.S. market is evidence of the brand’s dedication to maintaining and expanding a leading-edge product range.”

A brand new beverage category, red espresso® is the basis for a range of hot and cold, healthy red drinks, including the red cappuccino®, red latte® and fresh red® (Rooibos iced tea), to name a few. On menus in coffee shops and available on supermarket shelves to be enjoyed at home, red espresso® opens up the world of healthy café culture to those who seek it: coffee drinkers wanting to avoid or cut down on caffeine; tea drinkers; pregnant women; athletes; espresso lovers; as well as people who are conscious of and interested in looking after their health.

red espresso ® was first introduced to the U.S. market in 2007, with Stockton Graham & Co. as the first distributor. Today, red espresso® has distributors in NC, PA, NY, UT, NV and CA.

Adding Tea To Your Coffee Menu

Is hot tea on your coffee menu? It should be. Some cafe owners choose to ignore tea and it’s a detriment to their overall sales numbers. The number one reason to add tea to your coffee house menu is, well, because not everyone drinks coffee.

What are the benefits of expanding the menu for tea? For starters, offering hot tea opens up a shop to a new segment of potential customers that would normally not walk through the doors. Also, tea is a high margin item, with an average cost of goods between .30 and .40 cents.

The most common excuses for ignoring tea are:

1) “I’m not educated enough about it.”

2) “My customers don’t ask for it.”

3) “I don’t want to add another group of items to my inventory.”

These concerns simply aren’t legitimate. First of all, you don’t have to be a tea guru to sell it. Tea isn’t the focus of your business, but luckily there is enough information online to educate yourself on the basics in order to effectively market to consumers. Two Leaves & a Bud, Mighty Leaf and red espresso are the tea brands we carry and their websites are full of useful information regarding where their high quality products come from, what’s in the them, how much caffeine they contain, how long to steep them, etc. Your Stockton Graham & Co. Customer Care Associate can be a resource for you, too.

What about customers not asking for tea? Why would a person continue to come in just to check if a business has decided to carry a product? More than likely, they will go to a competitor. It’s a fact that that over 90% of customers who don’t have a good experience never complain to anyone in the store – they decide to never come back. Don’t lose any more customers by ignoring tea!

The last excuse is probably the toughest to mentally overcome. Retailers occasionally view new products as just more stuff to buy – more overhead. Certain additional expenses can be a gamble for a small business owner, but tea is virtually risk-free. Tea ages slowly, so you have plenty of time to sell through stock without having to stress over any expiration date. Also, if you own a coffee house you already have almost everything you need to brew and sell tea. Hot water dispenser? Check. Cups and lids? Check. Done and done. All you need is a tea rack which can be had for less than 60 bucks and a few teas and you’re set.

When starting out, offer two black teas (a breakfast varietal and the ubiquitous Earl Grey), one green tea and one herbal, caffeine-free tea. With all new products, it’s always best to start small and expand as customer demand dictates.

So, for less than $200.00 (which includes product) you can add an additional revenue stream that has the potential to bring in new customers every single day…no excuses!

Also, for more information on introducing iced tea to your menu, check out THIS previous post.

Mike Adams
Stockton Graham & Co.

2011 Stockton Graham & Co. Year in Review

With 2012 just days away, we reflect back on what has occurred in the world over the last year. We have seen our world change forever; from an opulent royal wedding to a devastating earthquake in Japan, from the introduction of the newest iPad to the loss of Steve Jobs and from the fall dictators and despots to our official withdrawal from a warzone. While these headlines certainly captured all of our attention, things have been busy here at Stockton Graham & Co., as well.

2011 was a year of growth and change for Stockton Graham & Co, and we would like to share some of our 2011 news with you in case you missed anything.

We announced officially that we acquired the wholesale division of Dilworth Coffee. Dilworth Coffee is Charlotte’s oldest coffee roaster and coffeehouse brand. Founded in 1989, Dilworth Coffeehouse is Charlotte’s oldest gourmet coffee roaster and coffee house supplier. Dilworth serves coffeehouses, espresso bars, specialty retailers and cafes throughout the Southeast. The company also has licensed stores throughout the greater Charlotte area.

Through a partnership with Red Espresso, we became the master distributor for the product for North America. We now directly import their rooibos tea, which is prepared and served much like espresso, but without the caffeine and five times the antioxidants of green tea.

We have also officially unveiled our new coffee branding. Stockton Graham Coffees is our flagship brand; these are the great, same-day, custom-roasted coffees that our customers have loved since our beginnings nearly 18 years ago. In addition to Stockton Graham Coffees, we also now offer NCompass, Stockton’s Reserve and Dilworth Coffee brands. NCompass is our line of sustainable coffees which includes organic, fair trade, rainforest alliance and shade grown coffees. Stockton’s Reserve is our new line of limited edition coffees, including very special finds that our roastmaster has decided to bring in. Stockton’s Reserve coffees can help differentiate your shop from your competition and are great for special in-store events. And, we’re pleased to uphold the longstanding tradition of Dilworth Coffee, Charlotte’s oldest specialty coffee brand. All of our coffees are now kosher certified, as well.

Be sure to ask for Point-of-Sale materials to help highlight your coffee offerings. We now offer counter cards and shelf-talkers for Stockton Graham Coffees, NCompass, Stockton’s Reserve, Dilworth Coffee and seasonal promotions. These colorful and simple displays are a great way to draw attention and help promote bulk or retail coffee sales.

It certainly was an exciting year here at Stockton Graham & Co. Please be sure to let us know if you missed out and need to know more, or if you wish to try any of our great new products.

The 10 Best Ways to Market to Local Schools As A Specialty Beverage Retailer

Your local school system is an excellent target for increasing sales. The opportunities for attracting repeat business are seemingly endless. Here are a few ideas on how your coffee shop could benefit:

-After receiving the proper clearance with administrators, focus on making one visit per month to a different local school. Come armed with airpots of your house blend, coupons and bakery items to give away and head straight to the teacher’s lounge. Chat up the teachers and don’t forget to leave behind some branded mugs at the coffee pot.

Cater a meeting of the Parent Teacher Association. Many times these meetings are held too early for attendees to have had dinner and not too late for a cup of coffee. Set-up a table in a high-traffic area for parents to grab a snack and a cup of coffee as attendees are meeting and greeting. Decaf and coupons should be in order, too.

Become a book donation drop-off point and give a discount to customers for bringing in used books.

-If you happen to be lucky enough to be near a high school or university, offer to host student organization meetings with group discounts to encourage purchases.

-Younger children are always selling something for school. Why not sell retail bags of your coffee for booster clubs? All of Stockton Graham and Co.’s coffee is available in retail, 12 oz. bags, which are ideal for an undertaking such as this. If you need pricing, be sure to contact your Customer Care Associate at (800) 835-5943. Based on your needs, we can customize a solution.

-Constant discounts for teachers and administrators.

What about grabbing attention to and from school? We always encourage our Stockton Graham & Co. customers to ask, Where are my customers coming from when they visit the shop and where do they go when they leave? Chances are, a large majority of patrons will be either heading to or coming from the school. With that in mind, ask yourself, What would I want and need if I was driving the car pool van? What would the kids need?

Revamp your kids menu. Think of every child in the car pool van as a potential customer. How many sales do you lose out on when mom or dad grabs only one mocha and splits? In the morning, juice boxes and naturally decaffeinated red espresso-based drinks make for nice add-on sales. Also, push hot chocolate, slushes made with your syrup and add lots of toppings to get kids to buy with their eyes.

-Offer discounts to students (and the parents of students) who have been named to the Honor Roll.

Add a healthier grab and go food item. Many parents don’t want to sacrifice health for quick service and convenience. One awesome option is Umpqua Oats. With Umpqua Oats, your customers don’t have to sacrifice anything…and you don’t have to sacrifice speed and consistency. For additional tips on how to position oatmeal in your location, check out this previous blog entry, HERE.

Hold a school supply drive. Pass out discounts to customers who bring in binders, calculators, pencils, etc.