The coming weeks and months are typically the most exciting, profitable and (unfortunately) stressful periods for café owners. Children are heading back to school, which brings in the parents who drop them off and pick them up. College kids fill up the dormitories on campus and begin looking for that “third place”. Christmas is just around the corner. Done are the beach trips with the sticky weather and, like the crisp air of autumn, your customer base comes blowing back into your shop like they never even left, as if on some extended summer vacation.
While “Back to School” can also mark the return of bigger profits, it can also be a great time to take stock of your café and its practices to ultimately make your place as prepared as possible for the end of the calendar year. Although it’s impossible to be 100% ready, more experienced shop owners know how to handle some of the surprises and expectations that come along as the weather gets colder. For those who are relatively new to the industry (or need a quick refresher course), here are our 3 best tips to help you in surviving the holiday season:
1) Help Wanted: More people through the door means you need more people behind the bar to attend to them. No one likes a long line, so now is the time to interview potential staff members. With new employees, who are often new to the specialty coffee arena, comes the opportunity to provide the most up-to-date and innovative training concepts to ensure everything and everyone is firing on all cylinders. Throughout the rest of the year and beyond, we’ll be providing an intensive Stockton Graham Coffee Certification program and concentrated “Coffee College” courses that will not only make you and your staff as informed as possible, but will help provide business strategies to implement in your café for the long term. This is the ultimate in sustainable training. Schedule a consultation with our professionals ASAP!
2) “I’ll have a ‘Tis the Season Frappe, please”: Do you have the syrup quantities to prepare a “BooBerry Latte” with candy corn topping? Going to be offering a Pumpkin Latte? Almost all holiday flavors are seasonal/special order items from most manufacturers. Partnering with your distributor on pre-ordering seasonal syrups and sauces can save you the heartache of turning away customers from your door because you don’t have enough Cranberry syrup and it’s nowhere to be found. So if you know a Pumpkin Spice Latte is going to be featured on the menu this season, call us today, place your order for two cases of syrup, and rest easy knowing you’ll be prepared to meet the customer demand. We will be stocking Pumpkin syrups for Monin, Torani and DaVinci soon after the Labor Day holiday and we are currently accepting pre-orders. Give us a call at 800.835.5943
3) Coffee—the ultimate stocking-stuffer: Coffee is such a convenient option to give as a gift, and if you’re not offering it to customers, you’re missing out on a large chunk of potential revenue. In previous issues we’ve stressed the importance of having a point-of-purchase set-up with 12 oz. bags available. If this isn’t a practice in your shop already, now is the perfect time to prepare to roll out a retail coffee program because these next few months are when whole bean sales are at their peak. Based on previous experience, you can and will sell take home seasonal flavored coffee and blends at a higher rate during this time. What are your customer’s needs? If you don’t know, ask. Implementing this option now will give you plenty of time to finely tune the process before the Christmas season arrives.