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  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    6

    How to get more people in

    Hi,
    we opened up a european coffee shop with a little neighborhood bakery in Florida. Right now we are open since ten weeks.
    I need some ideas to fix our problem.
    Across the street there is are six office buildings. Some customer, working there, tell us, they heard a lot of good recommendations about us and our products.
    My question is now: why don't come more people from that businesses to us?
    I have to say, we are Europeans, so we think somethimes a little different. That is, why we need help to get the "right" few, so that we can fix that.
    Right now we feel like we have reached the end of our ideas, to get more people into our business. We advertice in newspaper, we do online marketing, we talk to people in person.
    Has someone an idea?
    Thank you.
    Tine4711

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Central North Carolina
    Posts
    1,557

    Re: How to get more people in

    Why not do things such as this...

    Create mini menus highlighting your main items/hours of operation and drop them off to each of those office buildings

    Print coupons for 10% off (or whatever the case may be) and deliver them to those office buildings to attract more business as people always like to save money

    Offer a 'buy one drink get one free' drink special as most co-workers hang out and this can get more people in

    Take sample cups of your brew and baked goods to these offices for all to try



    Main thing is to be creative as there is no right/wrong way to do things, just find what works and go with that. Case in point... my wife and I operate a mobile espresso van and were at an event over the weekend. Was getting rather hot outside so we decided to make sample smoothie cups (3 oz.) and hand them out to keep people refreshed. No cost involved as the smoothie mix was a freebie as was the sample cups from our distributor. People liked those samples so much 6-8 came back and bought full size cups of it so we ended up making pure profit on this simple idea. Main point I'm trying to make... people like anything that's free and great customer service/ingenuity goes a long way. Later!
    I'm a legend among my own kind... you my friend are just a legend in your own mind. Later!

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Hartford and New Haven, CT
    Posts
    991

    Re: How to get more people in

    Ask your repeating customers to bring their friends and co-workers in.
    You want cream and sugar?
    NO COFFEE FOR YOU! NEXT!

  4. #4
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    6

    Re: How to get more people in

    Hi again,
    thank you for your answers.
    We brought samples of some baked goods especially to these office buildings and to all other neighbors around the business. It was good as long as it was for free. But we cannot live from giving free and not enough response in the end. We have right now round about 1500 flyers out, since the last ten weeks (also with a little coupon on it).
    From the main office of these business buildings we heard, that some people were nerved and saw this as soliciting, what they don't like.
    I think, we are very friendly to our customer, and we try our best, to make them satisfied. Only for example: many people told us, there is a need in gluten free products, right now we offer three gluten free products, we also advertised these products, but it didn't change anything.
    A lot of people also tell us, they told their friends, etc. But: where are all this people?
    We are on the verge to sell the whole equipment, close the doors and go back to our home country. It's frustrating, to be in the business for more than 70 hours per week, and not be able, to pay the rent from that, what comes around.
    I think, we played out every idea we had, we don't know another way at this time.
    Maybe, someone can tell us something additional.
    Greatings,
    Tine4711

  5. #5
    Super Moderator
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Near Philadelphia, PA
    Posts
    5,060

    Re: How to get more people in

    Hello Tine4711

    You said you've only been open for ten weeks. I would hope that you planned on a slow period at first and that you had enough start-up cash to pay the rent, etc. for a while.

    It is too soon to be thinking about selling your equipment and closing your doors. You need to do what you're doing....that is get ideas about ways to bring in new customers. You're focusing on the office buildings across the street...What about other places in the area? Do you have parking available? Do you have a sidewalk in front of your shop? Do people walk by and just look in the window?

    Now-a-days, people are careful how they spend their money. In the cafe where I work part-time, I've been seeing a lot of people, who used to get espresso drinks at $3.75 each, switch to getting brewed coffee at $1.75. They are doing that to save money. Then they buy a muffin or cookies and end up spending more then they planned. Some people come in with coffee cups (from other places) in their hands and just buy a muffin or cookies. That's when I give them a sample small cup of our coffee, and hope that they will be back for more. Plus, we offer samples of cookies (that were broken, so we couldn't sell them anyway) and people are happy to have a taste. So far it's worked. Several new customers have come back again to get coffee and a treat.

    Have you noticed the people walking into the office buildings? Do they carry coffee cups from McDonalds or Dunkin Donuts? Do they carry their own thermouses of coffee? Do they look like they are bringing their own lunch to work? It's possible that they have a coffee maker in their office and they make their own coffee when they get to work. If that's the case, then you need to think of other ideas to get them to come over to your shop.

    A little research will tell you where you need to focus. For example, if you see that they are getting coffee from McDonalds or Dunkin Donuts for $1.00, then for a while you may need to offer brewed coffee for $1.00 too. After all, why would someone want to go to McDonalds and wait in line for coffee when they can dash across the street to your place.

    When it's hot outside, people welcome a taste of something cold. Do you sell iced coffee drinks? Can you set up a table outside your doors and give away free samples? If your coffee distributor has small cups with their advertisement on them, maybe they will give you some for free.

    I hope you will continue to visit this forum to get ideas. You are not alone in your struggle to stay in business. I'm sure the other forum members have lots of ideas that you can try (and plenty of sugggestions of things to not try).

    Rose

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Salt Lake City
    Posts
    1,045

    Re: How to get more people in

    Short answer: Ten weeks isn't that long. Be patient. Be visible. Raise product quality. Improve barista education. Make sure your espresso and coffee is the best in the area.

    Long Answer:

    Word of Mouth will be the fastest way your numbers grow.

    Otherwise:

    1. Establishing 'market positioning' by being a having a very specific niche, and being a quality driven, market defining caffe. Your product quality defines who you are.
    2. WOM (due to #1)
    3. Consistent, professional ads in weekly/monthly local magazines/papers (to establish awareness)
    4. Frequently updated website & customer 'outreach' through various social media.
    5. Charity sponsorship/community involvement

    Everything people experience regarding your business is marketing -- colors, logo, coffee/espresso/tea/etc. choices, quality of drinks, presentation, knowledge of your products, music, customer service, congruency of ads to your offerings/ambiance, and so on.

    Different markets may require different approaches, but for me, there are some rules that apply everywhere.
    1) Be #1 or #2 within your niche in your given market. If you are one of the top two establishments that pops into someones head when they are thinking of X (whatever you are), that's a winner. Best case scenario - define a niche and own it.
    2) Define who/what you are, and be consistent at it.
    3) Remember your customers, names, likes, dislikes, etc. The 'knowing you care' factor leads to great WOM advertising IF you remember to follow #2.
    4) LOVE what you do. It will matter.

    These things ARE possible from day one, and if you are not doing them, you should be. Be patient, but be active! Especially in today's market, it ALL starts and ends with your coffee and espresso. People need to be "wowed" from the first sip. Go "wow" your next customer... and word will spread. Keep at it, every minute of every day and it will improve.

    Do it. Do it now!
    John Piquet
    caffe d'bolla
    Salt Lake City, UT
    caffedbolla.com

  7. #7
    coffeeloverlisa
    Guest

    Re: How to get more people in

    This may be a naive question, as I am not a coffee retailer, but do you or are you allowed to have a patio? Seems to me it would let folks have a break outside and show what you do. Also, the biggest issue folks have is not being able to smoke. This might let them do that?

    Cheers,

    Lisa

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Salt Lake City
    Posts
    1,045

    Re: How to get more people in

    Lisa,

    It depends on city ordinances. In our city, we actually lease our patio space from the city, and we have control over it. Or you can get a "Dining in the public way" permit just to put out tables and chairs, but it is accessible to anyone - you don't control that space.

    As for smoking, many cities don't allow it within X number of feet from a doorway.
    John Piquet
    caffe d'bolla
    Salt Lake City, UT
    caffedbolla.com

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    St Augustine Fl
    Posts
    157

    Re: How to get more people in

    Have lots and lots of money.
    "the great coffee caper...."

  10. #10
    coffeeloverlisa
    Guest

    Re: How to get more people in

    Here is something else that gets a lot of interest. Not a big deal but seems to get tongues wagging anyway. Seems baristas who can make patterns in the top of their cappuccinos make people really happy! In Montreal folks line up for it and here in Toronto baristas like to show off how good they are at it. I you are a coffee shop, make the fuss be about the coffee.

    Cheers,

    Lisa

 

 

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