Mix It Up This Spring

A business suit and flip flops? Short-shorts and high heels? A military-style jacket with nautical accents? Spring’s the time to start mixing it up. And when it comes to beverages at your store, spring’s the best time to plan for cold blended beverage sales.2015_Blender Specials

Last year alone, sales of cold blended beverages increased more than 166%, with fruit smoothies leading the pack. Adding cold blended beverages to your menu can help your business grow. Selling just 10 frozen drinks a day can increase store profits by $1000 a month!

Save up to 55% on Commercial Blenders from and VitaMix.

Stockton Graham & Co.® has partnered with VitaMix® and BlendTec® to help your store get ready for warm weather with savings of up to 55% on popular blender packages.

From the Vitamix Drink Machine Advanced to the Vitamix Quiet One, Stockton Graham & Co. has assembled these blender packages to provide the ability to handle customer orders with speed, consistency and reliability for many seasons to come.

If maintaining a calm and relaxing atmosphere is important at your store, Stockton Graham & Co. offers several low-noise blender options, such as the Quiet One from Vitamix and the Q-Series from BlendTec.

All of our blender packages come backed by the resource and expertise of over 100 years of specialty beverage experience to help your business succeed.

Bonus: Receive Enough Free Product to Pay for the Blender!

For a limited time, Stockton Graham & Co. is offering up to three FREE cases of blended beverage mix and powders with the purchase of a commercial blender package.* Mix and match select products from some of your favorite brands: Dr. Smoothie, DaVinci, Jet, Caffe D’Amore, Big Train, Monin, MoCafe and Torani.

The free cases will allow you to significantly offset the price of a new commercial blender. For instance, a single case of Dr. Smoothie can generate sales of at least $200 when you sell smoothies at a very modest price of $4.00 for 12 oz. Three cases can lead to $600 in sales—more than covering the cost of a new blender.

Contact a Stockton Graham & Co. Customer Care Associate at 800 835 5943 to discuss your blender needs and free product options. 

* Receive three free cases of select product from brands listed above with purchase of blender package from Stockton Graham & Co. For Dr. Smoothie only, receive two free cases with purchase of blender package under $500 and three free cases with purchase of blender package over $500. Not all products are available for free case promotion. Discuss available options with a Customer Care Associate. Purchaser pays all shipping on blender and free cases. Offer valid until 8/31/2015.

 

PLEASE NOTE: As of June 1, 2015, Stockton Graham & Co. is no longer taking orders for BlendTec blenders.

March Coffee College – What to Expect

SGC-COFFEE-collegeOn Friday, March 20th, Stockton Graham & Co. will be holding our monthly Coffee College training. Registration is happening now!

Coffee College is becoming even more popular in 2015, as our customers and their employees look to improve productivity, sales and customer satisfaction.  Registrations for February’s Coffee College are brisk, and it could be sold out this week!

Coffee College is a collection of training sessions we offer customers and their employees. It covers a variety of coffee topics from bean selection to brewing fundamentals to cupping and equipment maintenance. In the most popular class, Coffee and Espresso Basics (also known as Coffee College 101), attendees not only get a first-hand look into roasting coffee, they learn the journey of the bean from seed to cup. Attendees will learn to cup coffees, as well as, how to be able to identify the characteristics and nuances of the coffee. The more you know about the coffees you serve, the better you can apply the knowledge to what and how you serve your customers.

Attending Coffee College at Stockton Graham can carry more benefits than just increasing your knowledge of coffee preparation. A well educated staff can lead to more consistent and higher quality drinks, an increase in customer satisfaction and returning patrons.

One of the main concerns in cafes is having each barista perform and create menu items consistently and proficiently. We offer courses that can help shop owners be relieved of these worries, and reap the benefits of pleased customers that knowing they will always get the perfect drink!

Stockton Graham believes in a well-trained staff. Employees can make or break a business, particularly in the coffee world where the baristas are making the final product. Keep your baristas happy and educated with good training, and you are sure to see more repeat and loyal customers

“All of our associates trained in Coffee College and Basic Barista Certification, from upper management to shipping and receiving. We feel our team members are strongest totally immersed in the culture of specialty coffee. We have invested in staff training and that is why we have been successful,” explains Jeff Vojta, President and co-founder of Stockton Graham & Co.

Been in the Coffee industry for years? Our Coffee College Instructors can assist you, and your staff in sparking a newfound passion for coffee that you can take back your shop! Everyone needs a refresher now and then, or the opportunity to learn something completely new like: Specialty Beverage construction or how to create your own blends.

Coffee College courses include: Coffee & Espresso Basics, Brewing Fundamentals, Cupping for Coffee Shop Owners, Cafe Equipment Cleaning & MaintenanceExploring BlendsSpecialty Beverage Basics and Basic Barista Certification. These courses cover key areas of your coffee & specialty beverage program with hands-on lessons. Coffee College will help you support your great drinks with the know-how to set you apart from your competition!

Most importantly your Coffee College session is based on your needs. Our staff is willing to give you the information your need to help your shop flourish for years to come. To learn more about Coffee College and other certification classes, click here or call 1-800-835-5943 today to register!

New Year’s Equipment Check

Sliders6The quality of your drinks depends on a myriad of factors including the coffee you serve, the skill of your barista and even the cleanliness and proper maintenance of your equipment. With the other two areas covered, the beginning of a New Year is a great time to do a check up your equipment and set your store up for success in 2015.

When it comes to equipment maintenance, prevention is key. We always encourage our customers to schedule their certified technician to come in and inspect their equipment regularly. To ensure smooth operations, we suggest having a few things checked, including:

  • All seals and gaskets, to make sure they are not leaking and are in good condition.
  • All water filters and softeners to make sure they are not expired.
  • All brewers for signs of calcium build up.
  • Spray heads. These need to be removed and thoroughly cleaned.
  • Grinders for cleanliness and burrs for sharpness.
  • Blenders need to be checked to ensure the drive sockets and blade assemblies are in good condition.

*All of the above suggestions should be done in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations. Contact your certified technician to ensure your machine maintenance is done properly and safely.  

As you consider your 2015 budget, it may be a good time to consider equipment upgrades. Contact Stockton Graham & Co. for guidance on the right options for your store, from convenient lease options to handling the certified installation, we can help ease the process. Give us a call at 800 835 5943 to discuss equipment options!

Twenty Years Tells Us: “Routine Maintenance is Worth It.”

SGC-success toolsBen Franklin offered advice that was as sage 250 years ago as it is today; he once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Over the past two decades in the business of coffee, we have come to learn through experience that proper and routine maintenance of our equipment costs us far less in the long-run than waiting to deal with the inevitable catastrophes that come along. A roaster motor, for example, isn’t terribly expensive to replace, but the cost of down-time, overnight shipping for parts, emergency labor, etc. can easily multiply the cost of an integral part many times over.

Similarly, our customers must embrace the idea of routine maintenance in their own businesses. We have seen some extreme cases over the years, for example, one of our customers did not have filters on her espresso machine and was duly surprised at the cost of replacing most of the internal components in her espresso machine after a water main break allowed clay to make its way inside her appliance. Instead of just $150 for a filter, she ended up paying $1500 for a complete overhaul of the espresso machine. In this case, the disaster was swift and completely unforeseeable. In a more recent incident, a customer with a brand new, high-end machine ignored a small leak that appeared. SGC-equipmentOver time, the leak became more severe, and instead of calling in a technician, the leaking water was simply wiped up until eventually an electrical short fried the group head components, and caused damage to additional components nearby. The resulting damage caused well over $1000 repair costs because a service technician wasn’t called out to check the leak and tighten a fitting.

In your business, you certainly have plenty to juggle from the day-to-day fires that must be put out, to looking ahead and making sure you have enough supplies to get you through the weekend. You are bombarded with questions and requests, all while trying to find a way to take your business to the next level. Do yourself a favor and contact your local service provider about setting up routine maintenance for your coffee and espresso equipment as well as your water filtration, refrigeration, HVAC and any other systems susceptible to breakdowns. Then the next time you see your service technician, you can feel relieved that problems are being avoided rather than remedied. You can also budget for these visits to help with your cash flow and use the additional funds for promoting your store.

SGC-about5 Tips on How to Manage Café Maintenance
1. Take inventory of all systems susceptible to breakdowns.
2. Ask your service providers if they offer scheduled service plans to take away the headache of remembering.
3. Create a log for maintenance to maintain maintenance records for all machines.
4. Learn the basic cleaning and maintenance that should be done to each machine.
5. Coach your staff on spotting symptoms of trouble.

Let Your Business Bloom With New Blender Equipment

Get your business blooming with real fruit smoothies and refreshing frappes!

Spring is here! That means it’s time to get ready for all that warm weather brings: flip flops, shorts and satisfyingly cool blended beverages. The warmer season means a huge opportunity for growth, selling just 10 frozen beverages a day can increase monthly sales by over $1000.  Stockton Graham & Co. is here to help you get “Blender-Ready” with a great blender package, spring recipes and big savings on Vitamix and Blendtec equipment.

Spring is the perfect time to update add frozen beverages to change up your menu, and ultimately increase customer loyalty. With warmer weather comes a huge opportunity to grow your business! Customers crave cool beverages, and after selling the free and rebated products we offer, the profits cover most if not all of the cost of the blenders.

To get your business blooming and booming, Stockton Graham & Co. vendor’s are offering a variety of rebates for smoothie and frappe products.

*Buy any Vitamix or Blendtec blender from Stockton Graham & Co. to receive 3 FREE CASES of Dr. Smoothie, Big Train, Monin, Torani or Mocafe smoothie and frappe products!* (EXPIRED)
*Products are preselected.
Call 800-835-5943 and talk to a Customer Care Associate for details.

Using our retail experience, Stockton Graham & Co. ® offers these blenders to provide the retailer the ability to handle one or many customer orders with speed, consistency and reliability for many seasons to come.

Our Customer Care Associates recommend the Vitamix T&G® 2 BLENDING STATION® as the best deal. For a quieter option, we suggest trying Vitamix’s THE QUIET ONE®, or Blendtec’s Stealth, which are 1/4 the noise of an espresso grinder.

Product Descriptions:

Vitamix – Stockton Graham & Co.® and Vitamix® present the Blender Series for specialty coffee retailers: DRINK MACHINE ADVANCE, T&G 2 BLENDING STATION and THE QUIET ONE. These commercial Vita-Mix® blenders have been designed to blend luscious, mouthwatering frappes and delectable smoothies consistently drink after drink and customer after customer.

Blendtec BlenderBlendtec – Stockton Graham & Co.® and Blendtec® present the Blender Series for specialty coffee retailers: STEALTH, Q-SERIES and EZ. Offering industry-leading power and performance, Blendtec® blenders have been a staple in many specialty beverage shops for years.

 

More Recipe Options

Blended Matcha Mint Beverages

Soda Fountain Inspired Shakes

Blended Frozen Drink Recipes

Other Blended Beverage Ingredients

Build Your Business: Mid-Year Checklist!

ChecklistAs hard as it is to believe, we’ve just about reached the halfway mark of 2013!  So far we’ve made it past the “New Year’s resolutions” in January, a few of the early-year holidays such as Valentine’s day, St. Patty’s day and Earth Day, spring has sprung and now summer is here. Though summer is a time for relaxing, 2014 will be here quicker than you think, so 3rd and 4th quarter preparation can never start too early. Here is a mid-year checklist, to get you and your staff ready for the next 6 months.

Hiring– With school out for summer, part-time opportunities in your shop may open up.  This can be a great way to grab some extra help while other staff members are out on vacation, but often times, younger employees are only available during the summer.  September is just around the corner, so when your temporary summer-employees return to school, make sure your shop is well staffed for the busy season to come.

Training– It is imperative that your entire staff is properly trained. The last thing you want is an unqualified barista in the middle of busy season, so take advantage of the summer and have your staff trained and ready to go before fall arrives.  Stockton Graham & Co. offers all the training you and your staff will need in our Coffee College courses. Taught by certified instructors, your staff will learn everything from pulling the perfect shot, to properly steaming milk, to preventative maintenance and more.  Call today to find out when our next coffee college is available!

Menu Cleanup– Now is the perfect time to revisit your menu and see what changes and/or additions need to be made.  If items such as iced teas, smoothies or frappes are not updated on your menu for the warmer months, they should be, or offered as a “Limited Time Offer”.  It’s also the perfect time to sample new products and add new items to your store.  From coffee to smoothies, Stockton Graham & Co. has dozens upon dozens of samples available for you! When things really pick up in the second half of the year, the time you have to sample and consider new products, will be harder to come by. Summer is also a good time to do a “Costs Benefits Analysis” to make sure you are making a profit on your drinks. Many times vendor prices rise a bit, and you can forget to update your menu pricing accordingly. Summer is a great time to make these menu adjustments.

Equipment Check– Just like your car, the equipment in your shop needs to be kept up and maintained. Coffee brewers, grinders, blenders and especially espresso machines all need to be operating correctly in order to produce quality product.  Here at Stockton Graham, we would be happy to recommend a technician for your area, or provide you with new equipment if it’s time for yours to be replaced. Right now we are offering several special offers on select Vitamix & Blendtec blenders, which includes free smoothie and/or frappe products. Use this blender promotion to re-vamp your blended drinks options this summer for bigger profits!

Marketing– By now, your shop probably has its own Facebook, Twitter or other forms of social media platforms. These are great tools to advertise and promote your business, but they are only as effective as you make them. It’s important to keep them up-to-date with current announcements, specials and new features. They’re easy to manage and can even be updated right from your phone. If you don’t consider yourself to be “social media-savvy”, have one of your trusted employees take the reins. Chances are, one of them is a “pro”.

Back to School– Come fall, everyone will return to their normal routine of school or work, both of which should result in more frequented visits to your shop. Student discounts and happy hour specials are great ways to get your customer base back into the swing of things. This is a perfect time to promote your menu with specials and other offerings, but in order for any promotion to be a success, preparation is required. Leave the procrastinating to the returning students, and start planning now! Check back with Stockton Graham & Co. blogs to get more ideas for back to school.

It may seem unnecessary to begin acting on these things now, but realistically, “pumpkin season” is just around the corner, and right behind that are the holidays. The 3rd and 4th quarters are traditionally the busiest, but also the most profitable, so ensuring that you and your staff are well prepared is essential. Call us today at 800.835.5943 to ask more about your mid-year checklist, and other ways to plan for a successful second half of the year!

Building Your Business with Frozen Blended Drinks!

frappeSmoothies and frappes are among the fastest growing segments in the specialty beverage industry.  According to our product vendors, frappe sales bloomed to $4.3 billion in 2012 alone. Smoothies are also on the rise… they are increasing at a sales rate of $2 billion per year and expected to reach the $9 billion plateau (worldwide) by 2015. There is money to be made with these blended specialty drinks, and Stockton Graham & Co. is here to help you!

Frozen coffees and frappes first hit the stage in the late 90’s when Starbucks introduced the “Frappuccino®”. From then on massive franchises and independent, locally owned shops alike have implanted these frozen treats into their beverage menus with tremendous success. The flavors available are endless, drinks can be blended with milk alternatives for those with dairy aversions, and health supplements can be easily added to every drink! Frappes also appeal to coffee lovers when the weather is warm, and hot drinks, like drip coffee or espresso, seem less appealing. With leading industry brand names such as Big Train, Caffe D’ Amore, Dr. Smoothie- Café Essentials and recently Torani Real Cream, adding frappes to your menu can nearly quadruple your margin per ounce.

Fruit smoothies are nothing new to this industry, but in the past few years, their sales have reached all-time highs. Fact is, only about half of the population in the U.S. claims to be “coffee drinkers”, so there is still a large market for alternative specialty beverages.  Smoothie sales are sky rocketing, not only due to the fact that smoothies are so delicious, but also because of the diversity of their market. The smoothie market appeals to children, adults, the health conscious, customers looking for a sweet treat, or those needing a meal replacement to get through their day. Nearly every fast food franchise has made smoothies a permanent fixture on their menu, showing how valuable they are to the specialty beverage menu. Here at Stockton Graham & Co., we offer leading smoothie brands such as Dr. Smoothie, Torani, Jet, Monin and more, so be sure not to miss out this smoothie season!

Dr. Smoothie is offering a promotion right now to show you how well supplements fit into your smoothie business. If you buy 2 cases or more of Dr. Smoothie concentrate, you will receive a 3lb jar of Whey protein for free. Read more about this promotion and the benefits of supplements in our recent blog. DaVinci and Jet are also offering a promotion to show you how blended drinks can be easily flavored with syrups to add a special touch. Click here for more information. Our vendors know that blended drinks are a big seller, and they are looking to meet all your needs in this market.

If one or both of these drinks are missing from your shop’s menu, this is the perfect time to add them. For the rest of this month, Stockton Graham & Co. is INSTANTLY giving away several FREE cases of frappe powder or smoothie concentrate with ANY purchase of a Vitamix or Blendtec blender. The sales generated from the free product will cover the complete cost for multiple blender packages, so be sure to check this promotion out if a blender is (or will be) on your shopping list! For more information on our blender/free product promotion, visit our blending equipment page.

The numbers speak for themselves when it comes to frozen beverage sales and the profits they can generate. Here at Stockton Graham & Co., we can help outfit your store with the right frappes, smoothies and blenders. We even offer a Specialty Beverage Basics Coffee College course to assist your shop in learning to prepare these blended beverages. Adding these drinks to you menu now can be fast, easy and most importantly, profitable, so be sure to call us at 800.835.5943 to get your frozen beverage program started today!