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  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    Advice on selling to coffee shops

    What is your advice on the best way to approach coffee shops to sell them my coffee?

    Do we arrive at the coffee shop with espresso grind coffee samples or whole beans or both?

    Personally I'd prefer the ground coffee so we could have a coffee with the owner right then and there because their grinder is usually already somewhat full of another company's bean which means we'd have to leave our beans behind and come back later and coming back is what I want to avoid.

    But I also understand grinding for the specific machine, and the specific bean.

    What I'm trying to avoid is the maybes, the multiple trips back, and the multiple phone follow up phone calls. Any insights on bypassing 'let us drink it and we'll get back to you' and getting straight to a yes or no?
    Wrinkles only go where the smiles have been -- Jimmy Buffett (via Mark Twain)

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Mar 2012
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    It takes time to build relationships.

    I would never show up at a potential client's shop with ground beans. I always assume they know the exact grind they prefer and anything ground in my shop won't be dialed in like their beans are with their equipment.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    Dec 2011
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    Thomaston, CT
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    389
    Great Question! Greta Answer!
    "It takes time to build relationships". I am now starting to market some of my coffee "hopefully commercial accounts and retail markets". I was just turned down by
    a retail chain(8 stores), because my name is not yet out there. My website went up in July. So I was thankful for the "sitdown" at least. I have a lot of work to do.
    He said I could call next year if I made some progress. Expat, presently I only sell to one cafe, and it is more of a deli than a cafe. Food is more important than coffee.
    I let them use a Grindmaster grinder I own(it is not even a lease), also some carafes. They own a Bunn pourover machine, so I provide whole beans for them to grind.
    To answer some of your questions(although, I am no authority!), I would not bring ground coffee either. I would show up with my own espresso grinder if I had to.
    I would make calls to cafes and see if you could see them before or after hours with your product. This does take time, but as you stated, you could drink some coffee or
    espresso with them. Be prepared for return trips and calls etc. This is the hard part of marketing. Persistence will pay off. You could also talk with them about water
    supply(filtered & softeners), cleanliness of brewing equipment is crucial! Can't say enough about that. A lot of work to get the best cup. Best of success!

  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    So basically -- as suspected -- the same amount of work, persistence, doggedness, nose to the grindstone effort as I put into building my retail business. It's just tough when gas is $8.50/gallon over here. Oh well, nothing comes without effort.

    Thanks for the advice on just bringing beans.
    Wrinkles only go where the smiles have been -- Jimmy Buffett (via Mark Twain)

  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    In some cases we offer the opportunity to develop proprietary blends for wholesale customers that they can name and feature in their shops. This gets the clients invested in the process and our product.

    Developing those relationships take time but is worth the effort, IMO.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
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    Dec 2011
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    Thomaston, CT
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    Ouch! On the petro costs. And I complain at $3.50 a gallon. They say adversity builds character.
    That is way people say that I am a real character! LOL

  7. #7
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    Michigan, US
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    As a coffee shop owner, we purchase our beans from large coffee whole company. They have good pricing(7.50 per pound) and also flavor is much better then Starbucks or Dunkin Donut(only other game in town). I never felt I needed to upgrade the quality of my coffee since we get tons of perks. We pay much less for the cups, sleeves, and other small supplies. To me, the coffee is very important but I never felt I have to be the best in the country. I just needed to be better then my competition. My friend once told me. When you are being chased by bear, you don't have to be faster then the bear. You just need to be faster then the guy next to you. lol.... That is how I feel about coffee.

    As a coffee shop owner, I need all the help i can get. One of the most important thing about my roaster. He has group buying program for all his customers. If you buy his beans, you can get much cheaper supplies.

  8. #8
    Member
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    Feb 2012
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    I agree with CoffeeJunky. Sometimes it's not all about the taste. Tastes are subjective anyway. It is mostly about relationships. I personally would not seal a deal based on taste alone. What about price? Do you offer any value added services? How quick is your turnaround? All of these question need to be addressed before I would make a decision.

 

 

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