Before we talk about your iced coffee menu, let’s look at why iced coffee matters.
When the National Coffee Association presented its 2016 report on coffee in foodservice, coffee businesses around the nation had an “Ah-ha!” moment. The data showed that not only is coffee sales in cafes, restaurants, coffee shops and kiosks expected to increase at a respectable 5% per annum through 2017—but, importantly, the price customers are willing to pay for a quality cup of coffee is increasing too.
And when it comes to iced coffee, the numbers are even more promising. Sales of iced coffee at cafes and restaurants are expected to reach $9 million. Growth has been steady since 2010, increasing 339% through 2015, according to Mintel.
Your Menu + Iced Coffee = Profits
Once considered an “urban” phenomenon, now iced coffee crosses geography and demographics. According to a national survey by industry researcher Packaged Facts, 32% of all Americans will purchase iced coffee at a restaurant or café in 2016. And, the survey showed, Americans are drinking more freshly made cold coffee more often than they are drinking the canned or bottled Ready to Drink variety found in refrigerated cases in supermarkets, deli’s and convenience stores.
As spring transitions into summer, many of Stockton Graham & Co.’s North Carolina customers have already started thinking about their iced coffee menu. Those with trend-forward cold coffee options can expect to see their summer sales increase by 15% or more over businesses that opt out of iced coffee. And know that you should be able to charge a 15% to 20% premium over hot coffee for the iced version.
When considering an iced coffee menu, Stockton Graham & Co. recommends:
Make it fresh
Your iced coffee will taste much better if you don’t use the morning’s leftovers. After an hour in an airpot, brewed coffee’s flavors start to break down and taste stale. That’s why we recommend freshly prepared cold coffee. If you are using the Toddy method, which requires coffee to “steep” for 12+ hours, brew it with water that’s room temperature.
It’s best to keep brewed iced coffee refrigerated to preserve the flavors. Yet even chilled, coffee that’s more than 24 hours old should be discarded. Click here to few our Iced Coffee Brewing Guide.
Menu both regular and decaf
Coffee crosses over into the “healthy beverage” category more readily than many other beverage options; so if you offer a Swiss Water® Process decaf iced coffee, you’ll pick up customers who would otherwise buy their cold drinks at a health food store. And because cold is more likely to be purchased during the mid-day heat, offering a decaf option will please customers who are watching their late-day caffeine intake.
The iced coffee season is seven months long or more in most of the country; you can fight ennui by rotating flavors every three weeks in addition to your unflavored offerings. Flavors that sell well in iced coffee include vanilla, almond, hazelnut, coconut, blueberry, mint, mocha and cinnamon. Just add one pump of Monin or Torani syrup in a 16oz cup before pouring the coffee. Both brands also offer sugar-free options, which further appeal to active demographics.
Keep it simple
Too many menu options confuse customers and slow down service. Offer no more than four cold coffee options (unflavored, unflavored decaf and at least one flavored) at a time.
Have some 4oz cups at the ready to sample your iced coffee flavors, especially after the morning rush. If your business serves lunch, that’s a perfect time to sample iced coffee. If customers don’t order your iced coffee on their first tasting, they are more likely to order it the next time they return.
Make it fun
One way to keep repeat customers engaged is to hold flavor contests. Ask customers to tell you what flavors they’d like to see in your cold coffee by voting on a piece of scrap paper. Every few weeks, select a flavor and put it on the menu as a Customer Favorite: Pam’s Blueberry Mint Iced Coffee or Charlie’s Caramel Cream Iced Coffee. As an added bonus, offer free small iced coffees to any customer with the same first name.
Place photos of your iced coffee on your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. And remember, because iced coffee is a bit of a novelty, customers are just as interested in seeing how it is brewed as they are in seeing it in a serving cup. In a few weeks, take your social campaign up a notch by asking customers to post their iced coffee on their social networks.
To learn how iced coffee can enhance your menu or to order our Signature Iced Coffee, call our customer care team at 800 835 5943.