Improve Your Coffee Business By Listening

Blog > Coffee Shop & Restaurant Operations > Marketing, Staff Management

Like most coffee shops in the industry, you probably experience a rush of customers followed by lulls in business throughout the day. A little down time is good. It provides you with the opportunity to get things done around the shop. But if business becomes too leisurely you may have to ask yourself what you can do to increase your sales during these down times.

There is no easy answer, but you can experiment. And you have free resources at your disposal every day, if you choose to use them:

Your Employees

You might be surprised by what they can tell you. They are one of the best resources you have as they are in constant contact with your customers. Your employees can bring a fresh perspective to how to structure your menu, decorate the shop, and drive promotional items. And they will appreciate the opportunity to become more involved in the business.

Your Customers

Listen to them, but remember you can't please everyone. Casually mention ideas for the business when you're ringing them up or passing them their drink. Be openminded but take their ideas as just that, a proposition that you can build upon, or discard.

Now take what you already know and what you've learned and put it to work. Maybe it's a Happy Hour special in the afternoon from 2 p.m. - 4 p.m. when people need some energy to make it through a hectic day at the office. Or late at night when students need a pick me up to finish that paper they meant to finish last week. Maybe sampling your signature drinks during peak times will draw customers back later in the day for a special afternoon or evening drink. Or if you have the space, free live music in the evening to showcase new talent can draw a crowd.

Marketing Your Idea

Let's say your idea is catching on and has great potential to be a hit, if only more people knew about it. How do you advertise on a limited budget? Word of mouth travels fast and telling customers will cost you nothing. Table tents and hanging up flyers on your door, in your shop or on college campuses is another possibility. And, if you do have a little money to spend on advertising in weekly or college papers, they can have an impact. It all depends on your target market—whom you are trying to reach.

It could be that input from employees and customers has sparked an even more suitable idea of your own. Whatever you decide to do, if it doesn't seem to be catching on, don't hang on. Take a step back, brainstorm and try something new. Remember that marketing doesn't have to be costly to be effective. Keep it simple, be creative and have fun. You're probably more marketing savvy than you realize.

Get in touch with our coffee shop strategy experts