Celebrate Summer With Promotions in Your Café!

Summer-beachThe warm weather is coming, and summer will be here before we know it, so now is a great time to start planning your summer promotions! June 21st is the official “First Day of Summer”, so it’s time to let your customers know about it with summer menu items and promotions to celebrate those refreshing beverages. With schools getting out and the absence of all night studiers needing their caffeine fix, many Cafés have to adjust for a different customer base.

Get your customers to vote from 4 different types of “summer” beverages to add to your menu on the first day of summer. On the weekend of June 21st, bring in the new menu item with a bang by offering specials on it and pairing it with tasty snacks from your shop. We suggest getting them to vote from options you don’t offer year round like a flavored iced latte, a flavored iced chai, a summer smoothie, a frozen lemonade or a flavored iced tea. Make these drinks fun by giving them summer or tropical themed names!

Iced beverages become a favorite when the temperature rises. You should continue to offer your same delicious coffees, but make sure they are all available iced. There are many different ways to create iced coffees: the Toddy process, chilling espressos, pour over methods, concentrates, etc., so there is no excuse for you to not be offering this delicious coffee option! To inspire regulars to try iced coffees, give coupons to customers who buy morning drip coffee. Have the coupon set for use in slower, afternoon hours to encourage those morning customers to come back.

Designate a week of Summer called “Iced is Nice” and offer discounts on iced beverages. Whether iced coffee, Italian sodas, flavored teas or lemonades, get your customers to celebrate by trying all your refreshing drink options! Flavored Teas and Italian sodas are a great way to make drinks with syrups you already have. Our vendor DaVinci reports that 55% of those who drink iced tea would be likely to try a flavored iced Tea. If your café serves iced tea already, adding extra flavor can add to the menu price without costing you much at all (and increasing profits for your shop)! Flavored Teas are also a “healthier” alternative to all the sugars and calories that can be loaded into coffee drinks or smoothies. This is a great way to appeal to your more health conscious customers.

Father’s Day is June 16th this year, and just like with Mother’s Day, encourage your patrons to bring their parent in for a drink with a BOGO promotion. If they buy something for themselves, they get a free one for their father! Offer $2 off on your retail coffee for gifts the week before. Remind customers that freshly roasted coffee is a great gift for any occasion, especially for a Dad! And don’t forget to offer gift cards for sale!

If there is a pool or other popular summer venue near your shop, reach out to them for co-op marketing opportunities such as hanging up flyers and posters for your events and promotions. Remind their guests how easy it is to drop by your shop on their way to or from the pool or concert. Summer is a big time for festivals and outdoor events. Try to volunteer or set up a booth with your shop’s name prominent and some of your iced coffee for sale. This will show your involvement in the community and help you reach out to potential new customers.

Smoothies are very popular in the summer months (see our newest blog on why you should make them a part of your menu). Consider a smoothie “Happy Hour” with discounted smoothies from 4 pm to 7 pm. This will give customers a reason to come in for a treat after work, or a day running errands.

The important thing when having special events is to market them properly. Social media blast your followers, set up flyers, table tents & posters, and have your baristas reminding customers of all your specials. Ask customers to “check in” with Foursquare when they visit your shop for an extra discount off their purchase! Set up a “social media special” for customers who write reviews for your shop on Yelp, Google +, Facebook or any other review site. Have them show you their review for a percentage off their coffee. This will help you get more marketing out about your shop and bring in new customers!

Here at Stockton Graham & Co., we are always looking to help our customers grow their business with new trends and new ideas. Call our Customer Care Associates today at 800.835.5943 to learn about our Summer product promotions, new ideas to market your shop, recipes or to place your order!

Check out our other blogs on Summer themes!:

Beat The Heat And Grow Sales By Incorporating Iced Coffee In Your Summer Menu!

Father’s Day Promotions!

Adding Summer Kid’s Drinks To Your Menu Will Keep Mom Coming Back For More, Too!

Helping Your Community (and Your Bottom Line) Through Event Sponsorship

If your business is anything like a typical café, you’ve been solicited for donations by all kinds of charities and clubs. It’s important for small businesses to be good neighbors, but you probably can’t afford to write checks for everybody. I have an alternative that will let you contribute and turn a profit.

It’s simple: Host the organization’s meetings or fundraising events, and donate a percentage of the sales that the events generate. A one-time donation of $50.00 is nice, but 5% of a $3,000.00 week is better (three times better, in fact).

Pledging an open-ended donation like that gives the organization an incentive to send customers to your store, and it’s likely that it will be the first time many have visited you. Plus, since you’re hosting the event, you’ll get the benefit of the organization’s publicity for it. You probably won’t have to pay a cent up front.

This arrangement gets decision-makers involved, which strengthens the relationship between your business and their organization, which can lead to larger promotions in the future.

There are four key points to consider when planning this type of fundraiser:

1. Balance your contribution against your profit margin. The percentage of total sales that you donate subtracts directly from your overall profit margin, e.g. donating 15% of sales that normally bring 40% profit leaves you with 25% profit. Don’t pledge more than your average profit margin, or you will lose money.

2. Set clear conditions. The first time you do this with an organization, you may have more luck promising a minimum contribution plus a percentage of total sales if sales exceed a certain amount. If you normally expect $500.00 in sales on Wednesday, set your floor there or slightly higher to encourage more promotion.

3. Get the point across. Write up a proposal for this type of fundraiser that you can hand out to interested parties. Solicitors generally aren’t decision-makers, so written information that they can take back with them will be more successful at getting the right kind of interest than conversation alone. You may want to preemptively post a notice somewhere in your store instructing visitors to ask about your fundraiser program—you never know what connections your customers might have.

4. Give feedback. Your customers and the organization you’re supporting will feel more confident about your fundraiser’s success if you provide accurate, transparent reports. If you’ve set a target sales number, update your progress hourly on a chalkboard or by filling in a drawing of a thermometer. Once the fundraiser has ended, give a concise report of how it performed and how much you’ve contributed. If you want to get detailed, highlight what times and which items generated the most sales so you can get even more out of future events.

This doesn’t have to be a strategy just for the holidays – now is the perfect time for you to start working with extracurricular clubs, summer festivals, volunteer groups, and so on. Look to the long term—fundraisers might not bring in a boatload of profit right away, but they can bring you an installed base of loyal, passionate customers if done right.

Best Practices for Giving Back to the Community during the Holidays

Building strong community ties is a necessity for all business owners and there is no better time than the holiday season to give back and spread some good cheer to your neighbors and those less fortunate.

For some, this year has been tougher than any other, so giving up your profits might not be an option. There are, however, ways to help that can benefit various charities while helping you grow your customer base and sales numbers.

Becoming a drop-off point for items such as canned goods, winter clothing, toys etc. would be a hassle-free and helpful addition for all parties involved. Calling your local food bank or chapter of the American Red Cross is a great place to start. You could also sponsor a family for the season, encouraging customers to donate food and gifts for Christmas.

A current customer of ours previously coordinated a ‘Giving Tree’ after teaming up with a local non-profit in their area. The shop’s customers would pick from various paper ornaments with gift items on them for a neighborhood family. In the mix of various toys and food, the owners also placed coupons for free drinks and price discounts throughout so a customer could have a shot at getting a nice treat for wanting to give.

If you do decide to become a collections area for a charity, you might consider offering folks coupons for beverages when donations of items are made. For example, for every four cans of food a customer brings in, they receive $1.00 off a specialty beverage item. If you bring a guest and eight cans, receive a ‘Buy One, Get One Free’ drip coffee or latte.

Holding an event and donating a portion of the proceeds to charity would be a great idea. Contact other local businesses and offer to be a site for a holiday social with discounted drinks as an incentive and offer to donate $1.00 for every $5.00 spent to the businesses’ charity of choice.

For links, information and further assistance on how you can best reach out and help this year, give us a call at (800) 835-5943 to speak with your Customer Care Associate.

Michael Adams
Stockton Graham & Co.