Dear Joe,

I just opened my first cafe in September. As winter comes to a close, what obstacles should I be expect to face during the spring season?

Sincerely,

Chris Sharma

Chris,

The biggest obstacle that cafe owners will face in the coming months is ironically, pleasant weather. When there is snow on the ground and temperatures drop below zero, coffee and hot chocolate are easy to sell. When your car feels like an oven in July, smoothies will fly off the shelf, but in the spring and fall, cafes have no weather woes to remedy. It is during these months that cafes have a lot of room for improvement. A savvy cafe owner can make up a lot of ground during these transition months by providing milder drink choices while advertising summer products. Iced tea and lemonade are great examples of mild drinks, but the role they play as advertisers is more important than you may realize.

While tea and lemonade don’t provide a ton of profit, they do send the message to your customers that you provide much more than coffee. This is an important message to send as summer approaches. If people do not internalize the fact that you offer a variety of cold beverage choices, then they will forget about you until September. If you consistently remind your customers about your large selection, then you stay in the running for larger smoothie sales in the summer. The theme of spring will be, prep for summer. If you do not advertise your smoothie and frappe products soon, then your cafĂ© will see a slump down the road.

Yours in Coffee,

Josephius A. Graham