Advice From An Expert

Coffee shop advice from an expertBased on a lecture by Bruce Milletto, President of Bellissimo Coffee InfoGroup and former retail shop owner, there is a list of 12 essentials when it comes to running a successful coffee shop. Take this advice to heart, especially when planning for the busy holiday season this year–it will be here before you know it!

  1. The first and most important is proper business planning. This is the key in any business and especially in the coffee industry. It is important to understand where the industry has come from and where it is heading, to plan and analyzing your financial potential carefully and set short and long-term goals.
  2. You also need to understand the coffee itself. Those who just jump into the industry prematurely can get into trouble fast. It is essential that you understand the nuances of coffee from seed to cup; including origins, growing practices, certification, roasting and proper preparation.
  3. Location is always an important aspect to consider when you are selling any product. As an owner, it is important to determine a location that will bring in foot traffic, provide you with the work space that you need and is easy to find. It is important to make sure the lease you sign is a good one, because signing the wrong lease can be catastrophic to your business.
  4. Your shop needs strong ergonomic design. It is important that your design works for both you and your customer’s needs. You don’t want your space too small that your baristas are running into each other, but you still want to allow your customers to feel cozy and not lost in cafeteria-sized café.
  5. Creating a unique and appealing ambiance is vital to coffee shops. From your menu to your lighting, it is important that you set yourself apart from the chains. Create an atmosphere to attract the client you want to attract.
  6. Equally important is merchandising and presentation. What else can you sell to help your bottom line? Mints, T-shirts and mugs are just a few ideas to help boost your sales and diversify your product list. As a coffee shop, you should be pushing your whole bean sales and focusing on getting your customers to drink your coffee outside your shop.
  7. Your Menu is something that allows you to stand out and draw in new clients. You should select your items and recipes carefully, and keep in mind what your competitors are serving. It is also important to display your items, whether it’s pictures on the menu, posters or displays on the front counter. Show your customers what you serve and offer advice on choices to them.
  8. One of the most important essentials is hiring the right employees. Your employees are the gears that run your shop, so when you hire consider appearance, work ethic, maturity and attitude. Do they have a strong understanding for coffee, and can they teach your customers? Poor employees are the biggest mistake that many operations make!
  9. Going hand in hand with good employees is customer service. You as an owner need to lead and teach your employees by example. Get behind the bar, give them advice and show them how to properly serve a customer, from the greeting to the money exchange. Always focus on the customer’s needs first and foremost!
  10. Something that seems obvious is managing your business. The essential part is that it’s up to you as an owner to see that quality service is produced. Stay on top of your baristas, manage waste and watch for theft. Make sure that your employees are meeting your expectations throughout the shop.
  11. An often overlooked essential is marketing. Nowadays it is imperative to have your own website, Facebook, twitter, etc. Create promotions that work in your specific situation. Point of Sale is also a great way to advertise your product, and it should be used to its fullest potential. Any way to get your logo and name to stick in a customer’s mind (in a positive way) is good.
  12. Finally, our last bit of advice relates to operational systems, budget and cost controls. Create systems for both employees and management, including a manual to read and sign upon employment. This is a positive way to learn and understand company policies and procedures. As an owner, always know your cost of goods and keep an eye on all operating expenses.

Bruce is confident that if you are on top of every area, you will succeed. He says that people will not stop drinking coffee, so stay positive! It is more important now than ever to operate smart and plan accordingly. We at Stockton Graham & Company hope this list of 12 business essentials will provide you with some helpful tips as you continue to succeed and grow in our fast growing and thrilling industry.

To learn more about ways to succeed in your store or coffee shop, call 800 835 5943 or email orders@stocktongraham.com.

 

Have a Happy July 4th and Get Your Order in Early!

July 4thStockton Graham & Co. will be closed on Monday, July 3 and Tuesday, July 4 in observance of Independence Day. Please make plans to place your weekend and Monday/Tuesday orders by Thursday, June 29. All orders received after NOON ET on Thursday, June 29 may not ship until Wednesday, July 5.

FOR LOCAL CUSTOMERS:  All pick-ups must be made by 3:00 pm on Friday, June 30.

Stockton Graham & Co. wishes you a happy and safe July 4th!

From Stockton Graham Coffees to Dilworth Coffee

New Dilworth Coffee bagsThis is an exciting time in the world of specialty coffee. Starting in late May, Stockton Graham Coffees will be sold under the brand name Dilworth Coffee.

Those who know Dilworth Coffee, know that it is Charlotte’s Original Specialty Coffee brand and a leader in specialty coffee in North Carolina.

Why the change?

Stockton Graham & Co. previously sourced, roasted, blend and packaged specialty coffee under two brands: Stockton Graham Coffees and Dilworth Coffee. After extensive market research and customer feedback, we have decided to consolidate our specialty coffee under our single strongest brand: Dilworth Coffee. This will allow us to streamline our business and improve our customer experience. Customers will receive the same high-quality coffees and outstanding service they have come to expect from Stockton Graham & Co. Plus, wholesale customer get the added benefit of offering a Top 3 coffee brand with a growing retail presence.*

In addition to an entirely new look and packaging, all of our coffees, both wholesale and retail, will soon carry the prestigious Dilworth Coffee name. Retail coffee orders will now be handled exclusively through the Dilworth Coffee website. There will be no change to how wholesale coffee orders are handled.

What does this change mean for me, a wholesale customer of Stockton Graham & Co. Coffees and allied products?
All our wholesale coffee buyers now have access to a leading specialty coffee brand with a strong retail presence. Our new curated coffee list includes 60+ coffees, including USDA-Certified Organic, Rainforest Alliance Certified, single-farm microlots, rare harvests, Swiss Water® Processed decaffeinated and flavored coffees. The coffees are designed to appeal to a broad array of consumer palates from casual coffee drinkers to coffee connoisseurs.

What’s the history of Dilworth Coffee?Dilworth Coffee
While visiting Italy in 1989, Charlotte NC resident and Dilworth Coffee founder Don Keen had a memorable coffee experience. He wanted to share that wonderful coffee and outstanding service with the residents of his hometown so he returned home to Charlotte and opened the first Dilworth Coffee. Stockton Graham & Co. began a relationship with Dilworth Coffee in the 1990s and eventually became the exclusive roaster for the company in 2010; in 2016 Dilworth fully became a part of Stockton Graham & Co.

As we’ve mentioned, the brand refresh includes a new logo but if you really want to get a feel for all the changes, visit the new Dilworth Coffee in Charlotte’s Fifth Third Center or one of our other locations. You’ll find a new menu focused on espresso and other hand-crafted coffee preparations, a new in-store design and, of course, personalized service based on old-fashioned Southern hospitality. For one of the changes we are most excited about, check out the Shop section of the site to see our new retail packaging. Our coffee already sets us apart from the competition but now our look will do the same. In addition, we are expanding our licensed store program to help spread the Dilworth Coffee name and experience to new markets.

“The new Dilworth Coffee is a modern interpretation of the brand’s original mission of providing exceptional quality and service in a comfortable neighborhood coffee shop,” said Lane Mitchell, Director of Creative, Brand & Marketing at Dilworth Coffee.

“In creating the new logo, we wanted to retain the equities of the old logo, especially in the representation of the coffee bean; but we also wanted to bring it into today’s 4D world by making the logo more iconographic,” Ms. Mitchell said. “In fact, the entire logo centers around the iconic coffee bean, which reinforces the bean as the company’s focus: its heart and soul.”

The new brand visuals include a signature pattern rooted in the natural colors and textures of the Piedmont region of North Carolina. This pattern is integrated into the new store through signage, menus and wearables. It is also now appearing throughout the company’s brand assets.

For more information about the Dilworth Coffee brand or how Stockton Graham & Co. can make your coffee experiences better, please call 800 835 5943 or email info@stocktongraham.com.

How well do you know your customers?

 

Know your customers' needsMarshall Fields, a retailing pioneer, often told his staff: Give the lady what she wants!” That sounds very simple, but you need to understand your customers and what they really want, then offer it. To do this, think about who they are, what they like to buy, when they come into your shop, how they found your shop, etc. And, of course, you must always remember the customer is always king or queen and what they want or need will change over time. You need to stay abreast of these changes while still providing quality coffee, great service and maintaining the very things that make your store unique.

So, how did your current customers find your shop? Where are they coming from when they visit and where are they going when they leave? What do they buy when they are in your store? The best way to find out the answers to these questions is to ask your customers. Many will be grateful that you even asked. Understanding how they found your store (signage, location, marketing, word of mouth, Twitter, etc.) will help you direct your efforts to finding more of them, if they are profitable. Another way is just to observe them to determine how their purchase patterns change on given days or times.

Understanding where customers are coming from and where they are going should help you direct marketing efforts to those areas (e.g. maybe it’s an office building, a school or church), tailoring the products and pricing to meet their needs. It will also help you determine which community activities and promotions might better meet their needs. Perhaps there are events that are popular in your community, such as a festival. Maybe you should have a presence or sponsor on some level. Or maybe your shop is near a popular bike trail or youth soccer fields. Think about creative ways to reach those potential customers.

The most important reason to know information about your customers is that you need to have new customers coming into your shop every week. There are not standard answers or responses to any of the questions, but understanding some of the customer behavioral dynamics will help you tailor your product, price, promotions and ultimately, profit. Customers’ patterns will change over time. Attrition is part of business and you need to keep searching and to find new customers.

To learn more about ways to succeed in your store or coffee shop, call 800 835 5943 or email orders@stocktongraham.com.

Stockton Graham & Co. Memorial Day Schedule

Stockton Graham & Co. will be closed on Monday, May 29 in observance of Memorial Day. Please make plans to place your Memorial Day weekend and Monday/Tuesday orders by Thursday, May 25. All orders reMemorial Day Scheduleceived after NOON ET on Thursday, May 25 may not ship until Tuesday, May 30.

Additionally, please allow an additional transit day as FedEx will not pick up or deliver on Monday, May 29. We invite you to head over to FedEx.com to calculate the transit days to your area from our ’27612′ zip code.

FOR LOCAL CUSTOMERS:  All pick-ups must be made by 3:00 pm on Friday, May 26.

Stockton Graham & Co. hope you enjoy a happy and safe Memorial Day!

Coffee Ergonomics

Ergonomics are important in coffee shop design.So you’ve chosen a space for a new coffee shop, what next? You’re not just going to put your new espresso machine on a counter in the corner and call it done. A lot of thought needs to go into figuring out the best workflow to create an outstanding environment for both customers and baristas. When planning the work stations of a new coffee shop, one thing to always take into consideration is ergonomics. The study of people’s efficiency in their working environment, ergonomics is crucial when it comes to organizing a coffee shop. Every location has a different shape so each will have unique requirements.

You want your shop to be busy so assume it will be when you plan the work area. You certainly don’t want employees running into each other as they try to serve customers. A well-designed work station will allow each barista to do most of their work while barely moving his or her feet. The barista should have easy access to everything they might need, especially milk, cups, grinder and beans. In addition, the countertop should be the correct height and it should have the proper amount of workspace (in other words, don’t over crowd it). Think about sink and trash location so clean up can be easy and ongoing throughout the work day. If you serve food is it easy to access for barista or cashier? If you position the cash register close to the barista it will also help with efficiency. During busy times it will allow the barista to overhear orders and perhaps get a head start on preparation. During slow times, it would easily allow a barista to work alone. If you put some thought into making your employees’ tasks easier to perform, they will be happier and everyone will benefit!

For more information about opening a coffee shop, Stockton Graham & Co. is here to help. Just call 800-835-5943 or email info@stocktongraham.com.

A Report from the SCA Global Specialty Coffee Expo

Stockton Graham's Brady Butler at the Specialty Coffee ExpoLate last month, our Brady Butler attended the Global Specialty Coffee Expo (SCA) in Seattle. While his focus was on teaching Golden Cup Brewing classes, he did have an opportunity to walk the floor. We were glad he had the chance to cast his eye around the displays and report back on a few of the sights.

Says Brady:

“As an equipment guy, this was an interesting show. From custom machines to new brewers to gadgets, there was a lot to see.

From the SCA Global ExpoEspresso machine customization was on full display, with most of the roaster and café booths featuring beautiful signature espresso machines. My favorite was the custom Victoria Arduino Black Eagle that they’d made to celebrate Gianni’s 80th birthday. It was great to see some options for grinders too – the hand-blown glass hoppers at the EspressoParts booth were a welcome alternative to the usual plastic.

The trend of low-profile and small footprint espresso machines also continued this year. There was lots of buzz about the new under-counter espresso machine by MAVAM, with good reason. Even traditional machines manufacturers like Synesso had prototypes designed to lower the visible barrier between barista and customer.

From the SCA Global ExpoScales continue to show up in new places as well. Acai debuted a new automatic bean portioning system for café’s tired of weighing out little tins for their pour-over bars. Compak showed an espresso grinder which precisely grinds a specified amount of coffee into the portafilter, hands free. Of course, the Baratza Sette was back with their excellent grind-by-weight prosumer grinder for espresso or drip brewing.

Coldbrew was once again a major theme. BKON was back to show off their Storm, a superfast-supersized system to produce 100 gallons of coldbrew in 15 minutes. Several of our allied-products friends were sampling sweet and refreshing coldbrew-based drinks perfect for summer. Even cleaner specialists Urnex joined the party with a two-part complete coldbrew system cleaner – just the thing for nitro coffee systems.

To get a bit of a break from the middle of the show floor, I had a chance to stroll down the Design Lab wall of coffee packaging. This gallery of brightly-patterned, fully printed bags and uniquely-shaped printed cardboard containers is always a highlight. Our new Dilworth bag design would have looked right at home.

As always, there were so many great things to see and sample at this specialty coffee show. I can’t wait to share some of my favorites with our customers!”

With questions or to learn more about what might work best in your store or coffee shop, call 800 835 5943 or email orders@stocktongraham.com.