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!

Create an Iced Tea Program Today!

Is iced tea on your menu? It should be. It’s easy to make and can bring in extra cash in hot weather when coffee sales tend to fall. A typical café has almost everything needed to start a distinctive, successful iced tea program… here’s how to get started.

Many commercial coffee brewers can brew iced tea. You may need to program or calibrate the machine for tea, and you may need a special baskets or dispensers, but these things are much easier and cheaper than buying a seperate tea brewer. The same clear cups or glasses you use for other cold drinks are ideal for iced tea, too. Brewing is made even easier by using proportioned filter bags, which require no equipment. All that’s left is deciding what kind of tea to use.

The tea you choose to brew will influence how your iced tea program compares to others. Iced tea is available at fast food drive-thrus, nearly any restaurant, and other cafés. If you serve the same instant-brew dust teas offered for sale at burger joints and on supermarket shelves, you’ll never distinguish your tea program from more downscale ones. You wouldn’t serve instant coffee, would you?

Whole-leaf teas produce more flavorful, fresh-tasting iced tea. Mighty Leaf and Two Leaves & A Bud both offer excellent whole-leaf iced tea. Each 1-oz filter bag brews one gallon of iced tea, and we offer black and flavored tea for an average cost of around a penny per (liquid) ounce. If you serve 16-oz glasses of iced tea, 8 ounces will be taken up by ice, so you’ll be serving 8 ounces of tea per drink. One gallon yields 16 servings, so your cost per serving is about five to ten cents, plus the cost of your cups, lids, and other materials.

As you can see, high quality doesn’t necessarily mean high cost. Iced tea is a high-margin item, but high profit margins can be a double-edged sword. You can make a lot of profit from them, but only if your customers buy it. The key to building and maintaining high sales on iced tea is building your customers’ perception of its value.

Better tea demands better presentation to convey its quality. Imagine how attractive your iced tea would be in a chilled glass rimmed with sugar. Add a fresh wedge of lemon or lime, maybe even a sprig of mint. A drink’s appearance goes a long way toward making the first sale, and that’s as true for iced tea as it is for anything else. A good-looking drink that’s made from premium ingredients and tastes great is worth more than the fast food alternative, and your pricing should also reflect that.

You should also consider what position iced tea plays in your sales strategy. The corporate chains usually put their iced tea in three offers: the drink by itself, the drink with meals, and the drink in quantity. Alone, the 16-oz iced tea sells for around $1.19. But it’s offered for free with meal combos, and if you want to get a whole half-gallon, it sells for only $1.99. You can even get free half-gallons with family-sized combos. They establish the value of the tea alone then use it as an incentive to entice you to order items that build larger ticket totals. You probably do something similar with your coffees already, discounting muffins sold with cups of drip. Iced tea is a natural fit with lunch menus, particularly in warmer weather. You can even encourage group sales by offering pitchers for tables.

However you position iced tea, distinguishing the product as premium will increase sales. The secret is to offer more than one class of iced tea. You offer your basic iced tea with free refills. Ideally, this drink will have a more appealing presentation than the corporate chain’s tea—maybe you can use simple syrup instead of sugar in the sweetened version. You also definitely need to offer a specialty iced tea that customers won’t find at the typical corporate chain, and you can do that with materials that you probably have on hand. A flavored syrup like Torani Pomegranate or Raspberry can make an excellent flavored iced tea, and it’s as simple as adding a shot. You can make a wide variety of drinks with the syrups you currently have on hand.

Both classes of tea can be prepared from one batch, since you can flavor each individual serving differently. Simply charge more for the flavored tea with no refills, or charge for each flavor added. As a pleasant side effect, the option to add flavorings and garnishes gives the customer the sense of choice and control that makes specialty beverages so appealing in the first place. It’s a simple up-sell for your baristas as well: “Would you like to add some peach syrup for .75¢?”

To sweeten or not to sweeten, that is the question! The last thing you will want to consider is whether to serve sweetened or unsweetened tea. If you’re in North Carolina (or other southern states for that matter), you will definitely want to have both sweetened and unsweetened tea available. For shops north of Virginia, you may just want to have simple syrup on hand so customers can sweeten as they please. You may also want to consider offering several varieties in addition to black. Ginger-Peach, Alpine Berry and Calypso Mango are all popular choices as well.

The corporate chains often set new trends, but as independent operations, you have the flexibility to add new items easily and often with better quality, so keep your eyes peeled for other hot ideas from the “big boys”!

Cool down your customers with flavored iced tea

Is iced tea on your menu? It should be. It’s easy to make and can bring in extra cash in hot weather when coffee sales tend to fall. A typical café has almost everything needed to start a distinctive, successful iced tea program, and I’m going to show you how to get started. Bottom line, tea is too simple, cost-effective and unique not to offer to your customers.

Many commercial coffee brewers can brew iced tea. You may need to program or calibrate the machine for tea, and you may need a special baskets or dispensers, but these things are much easier and cheaper than buying a tea brewer. The same clear cups or glasses you use for other cold drinks are ideal for iced tea, too. Brewing is made even easier by using proportioned filter bags, which require no equipment. All that’s left is deciding what kind of tea to use.

The tea you choose to brew will influence how your iced tea program compares to others. Iced tea is available at fast food drive-thrus, nearly any restaurant, and other cafés. If you serve the same instant-brew dust teas offered for sale at burger joints and on supermarket shelves, you’ll never distinguish your tea program from more downscale ones. You wouldn’t serve instant coffee, would you?

Whole-leaf teas produce more flavorful, fresher-tasting iced tea. Mighty Leaf makes an excellent whole-leaf iced tea called Classic Black. Each 1-oz filter bag brews one gallon of iced tea. We offer Classic Black in cases of 100 bags for ~$65.00, a cost of ~.65¢ per gallon. If you serve 16-oz glasses of iced tea, 8 ounces will be taken up by ice, so you’ll be serving 8 ounces of tea per drink. One gallon yields 16 servings, so your cost per serving is less than a nickel plus the cost of your cups, lids, and other materials.

As you can see, high quality doesn’t necessarily mean high cost. Iced tea is a high-margin item, but high profit margins can be a double-edged sword. You can make a lot of profit from them, but only if your customers buy it. The key to building and maintaining high sales on iced tea is building your customers’ perception of its value.

For example, my favorite chicken chain sells a 16-oz sweet iced tea for $1.19. The quality of the tea determines a lot of its value, but so does its presentation. At that price, I get a branded paper cup that sweats a lot, a flimsy plastic lid, and a straw. Sometimes, there’s a lemon wedge. The tea is good (well, the sugar is good), but the presentation is not up to par.

Better tea demands better presentation to convey its quality. I won’t choose your tea over the chicken chain’s if you’re putting it in a sweaty cup, too. Imagine how much more attractive your iced tea would be in a chilled glass rimmed with sugar. Add a fresh wedge of lemon or lime, maybe even a sprig of mint. A drink’s appearance goes a long way toward making the first sale, and that’s as true for iced tea as it is for anything else. A good-looking drink that’s made from premium ingredients and tastes great is worth more than the fast food alternative, and your pricing should also reflect that.

You should also consider what position iced tea plays in your sales strategy. The chicken chain puts their iced tea in three offers: the drink itself, the drink with meals, and the drink in quantity. Alone, the 16-oz iced tea costs $1.19. But it’s offered for free with meal combos, and if you want to get a whole half-gallon, it’s only $1.99. You can even get free half-gallons with family-sized combos. They establish the value of the tea alone then use it as an incentive to entice you to order items that build larger ticket totals. You probably do something similar with your coffees already, discounting muffins sold with cups of drip. Iced tea is a natural fit with lunch menus, particularly in warmer weather. You can even encourage group sales by offering pitchers for tables.

However you position iced tea, distinguishing the product as premium will increase sales. The secret is to offer more than one class of iced tea. You offer your basic iced tea with free refills. Ideally, this drink will have a more appealing presentation than the chicken chain’s tea—maybe you can use simple syrup instead of sugar in the sweetened version. You also definitely need to offer a specialty iced tea that customers won’t find at the chicken chain, and you can do that with materials that you probably have on hand. A flavored syrup like Monin Pomegranate or Raspberry can make an excellent flavored iced tea, and it’s as simple as adding a shot. You can make a wide variety of drinks with the syrups you currently have on hand.

Both classes of tea can be prepared from one batch, since you can flavor each individual serving differently. Simply charge more for the flavored tea with no refills, or charge for each flavor added. As a pleasant side effect, the option to add flavorings and garnishes gives the customer the sense of choice and control that makes specialty beverages so appealing in the first place. It’s a simple up-sell for your baristas as well: “Would you like to add some peach syrup for .75¢?”

Stockton Graham & Co. can get you started with an iced tea program today. Just give us a call at (800) 835-5943, and we’ll help you get set up our turnkey Iced Tea Toolkit which includes 1 cs of Mighty Leaf Classic Black, fruit flavored syrups and a pitcher.