Syrup question

billagirly

New member
Mar 29, 2005
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DFW, Texas
There are a million different flavored syrups. Each company only makes a certain amount. My question is: If you want to offer a wide variety of syrups, do you try to stick with one single company for a little consistency? Or does it make much of a difference if you have a little bit from everyone?
 

cafemakers

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Nov 3, 2004
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Choose the ingredients that give your beverages the flavor that you wish to associate with your business.

My personal preference (and professional recommendation) is to eliminate as many flavors from clients' menus as possible - anyone can pour sickeningly sweet syrup and chemicals into a cup; very few can serve a well-prepared cup of coffee, which can offer your business a competitve advantage.

Additionally, carrying a wide variety of flavors (of varying popularity) increases your inventory overhead, complicates the customer ordering process, requires extra storage space, and can potentially create sanitary issues (if using spouts or pumps, you must soak them ALL regularly).

Select those flavors most popular in your region and best compliment your flavor profile, then promote the ones best define the unique character of your business - if planned properly, those beverages can also be your most profitable.
 

CafeBlue

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Dec 8, 2006
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Toronto
Well said, Andrew.
I'll add that frequently the cafe's offering a wide selection of flavored syrups have many SKU's that do little volume, and their total inventory turnover is less than a comparable cafe that focusses their attention on a few lavors that taste great, sell well and make a smallish line of "signature drinks".
I would rather have 8 flavors that are fresh and turnover every week, than have 32 flavors (of which we only regularly sell 8 or so), that may not be replaced even as often as monthly.
The old "80:20 rule" that 80% of your sales derive from 20% of your items is a good concept to use evaluating your product line and your investment in inventory.
 

equus007

New member
Apr 4, 2006
315
0
Austin, Tx
flavors

flavors you need(please add to list as needed)

Vanilla & Sugarfree Vanilla
Hazelnut
Almond
Irish Creme
Mint(creme)

It is also a good idea to be able to offer the same flavors offered by the big boys if they are in your area so...

Raspberry
Coconut

If you are a small shop and you want to do more then do them as specials. Por example pumpkin spice ~Thanksgiving. Or get something that reflects the flavors your region is known for like pecans in Texas or maple syrup in Vermont( lobster in Maine?).

I would try to find a distributer that carries several brands and test them out on your customers.
 
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billagirly

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Mar 29, 2005
113
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DFW, Texas
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Thanks, guys. I guess I didn't mean to ask if I should have 40 flavors, so much as - should they all be the same brand? I do like the answers I'm getting though, so I think I'll leave the question as is. Thanks, again!
 

equus007

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Apr 4, 2006
315
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Austin, Tx
more

decide what you want to use and then go out and get some nice glass bottles for them if you are worried about how it looks. No point advertising for Monin unless you are selling bottles in your shop.
 

Jackson

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Aug 22, 2006
108
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Columbus, OH
You may not want to use more than one brand because each brand has a different concentration of flavor. One ounce of Monin is stronger than one ounce of Torani. If you are going to be blending different flavors together in one drink like a snickerdoodle - latte with cinnamon, almond and vanilla, go with a brand that is not too concentrated.
I do not recommend drinks made with more than two flavors, because it is a Barista nightmare making them.
 

cafemakers

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Nov 3, 2004
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Jackson said:
You may not want to use more than one brand because each brand has a different concentration of flavor.

Ah, yes. That raises another important point that one would think is obvious, but is often overlooked. Taste the drinks when you create your recipes and regularly sample your barista's creations.

Remember: coffee is food. The barista is a chef.
 

Muddycup

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Dec 4, 2005
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New York
sorry

I must respectfully disagree, first of all we offer great coffee and we have over 25 flavors listed on the board, and yes some do not sell often but the fact that we offer all of them is a big hit with the public, sets us apart from the other shops and chains and gives our menu board a richness of offerings. we also use the same flavor offerings for our hot chocolates etc... inventory? whats one bottle to store? no waste.

its easy, its sets you apart and gives you a richness of product offering,

(ask Lowes vs home depot) its about the product offering which is basic customer experience knowledge
 

morrisn

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Mar 27, 2006
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I agree with Muddycup we also carry a large flavor selection and our customers love it, why would I want to limit them. Whats a couple of hundred dollars in syrup compared to the rest of your inventment.
 

CafeBlue

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Dec 8, 2006
121
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Toronto
Jackson is right to point out the differences in flavor concentration, which may also impact food cost. Is a syrup that is half as concentrated also half the wholesale cost? Does the more concentrated syrup offer a better balanced drink taste while adding half the calories and sweetener?

Muddycup and Morris have valid viewpoints. I am not saying they are wrong. Other operations offer limited selection. Some operations refuse to carry flavor syrups and flavored coffees as a branding and marketing position. All have some relevance to their positions, so we should all consider the options and determine what best fits our personality and business concept.

Consider these factors when deciding on your flavor selection. This is not to say that 31-derful flavors is not a viable concept, just to consider what you want your concept to be and what fits best with that direction. I have worked with a few coffee operations that do well with large flavor selections, but it does not add value to most operations.

A wide selection of 40 flavors looks like customer service, but may be counter-productive. Too many options can confuse the typical customer, slowing their decision, creating bottlenecks to service, and even influencing their decision to request “just ordinary coffee” versus a higher ticket espresso based beverage.

Some of the less popular flavors are less popular for good reasons. The taste may be sub-standard. The flavor may not be complementary to coffee. Your regional taste preferences may not support some of the flavors popular in other regions. If a customer experiments by ordering a banana cream pie flavored cappuccino from you, and is disappointed…will she complain?, how will your staff respond?, will the customer experiment with any other flavor trials?, does the customer blame you/your staff/your recipe/your flavor supplier/ your coffee quality/ your espresso preparation skills? Is the perceived value of wide selection worth the risk that a customer who trial purchases a less-than-stellar product will decline to re-trial from the product category (or worse, will not re-trial from your company)? Will your business be better served by offering only great tasting products that taste like the best of their descriptors? At least the customer can say, “It tasted like you promised it would, I just don’t care for (fill in attractive drink name). Perhaps I can try something else?”

If you are selling shave-ice, large variety of flavors is a benefit (all the flavorings/combinations add to a single base and turn a plain product into an interesting treat). If your coffee is top quality and fresh, it should not be dull in the first place.

Yes, $300 of slow moving flavors is less expensive than capital investments like my espresso machine and granite machine, so why not stock all the flavors? Because of the above reasons AND because $300 is better spent on inventory that sells well and develops customer loyalty, re-purchasing and increased customer visits. The opportunity cost of stale inventory and under-utilized retail display space may be much more than $300 spent more wisely.

My 2 cents...free except for the long boring minute spent reading.
 

imonlyfamous

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Dec 2, 2006
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The opportunity cost of stale inventory and under-utilized retail display space may be much more than $300 spent more wisely.

I just can't get past the cost-benefit opportunity to find one or two flavored drinks that can potentially become popular and profitable for you. I have some trouble jiving syrup costs with your $300 as well - in my region at least, you can purchase syrup by the bottle for ~$3.50, which means that you'd have to buy quite a few more bottles than common sense would instruct in order to spend that amount. Even 50 flavors would only run you about $175.
 

cafemakers

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Nov 3, 2004
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imonlyfamous said:
I just can't get past the cost-benefit opportunity to find one or two flavored drinks that can potentially become popular and profitable for you. I have some trouble jiving syrup costs with your $300 as well - in my region at least, you can purchase syrup by the bottle for ~$3.50, which means that you'd have to buy quite a few more bottles than common sense would instruct in order to spend that amount. Even 50 flavors would only run you about $175.

This is not such much a "syrup" issue, as it is a "specialty" issue.

Every business owner has the right to position their products in their own way; however, in order for any business to build a unique and lasting brand image, I must agree with CafeBlue that attempting to offer all things to all people with the fear of missing one sale is a bad idea. Doing so dilutes the quality of your product and makes your business generic - the ubiquitous "coffee shop" with dozens of flavorings, food offerings and anything else that will make a dime today for the sole proprieter. Everything, that is, except good coffee. Just like those good ol' American diners that used to dot the landscape -- lots of different food options, none of them particularly good or memorable. I wonder what ever happened to those places?

Again, there is nothing wrong with this approach. There are consumers out there that would prefer the taste of a vanilla irish creme mocha with double whipped cream over a traditionally prepared cappuccino; however, these are not "coffee" consumers -- you might find that they would rather avoid the coffee altogether.

Any new coffee shop could then very easily open up next to you and duplicate your business; offer your exact same menu selection (all 50 flavors) and take your customers by doing little more than opening the next bottle of Torani irish creme. If so, what is the value of your company name? Who would buy your brand as an asset instead of creating their own?

If your product is "variety" - that's fine - if "location," or "ambiance," those are well and good, too... but if your product is "coffee," and you want your brand to have any more value than any other generic substitute for the "real thing" found elsewhere, than I suggest that you listen to CafeBlue's argument. He's only trying to help.
 

Jackson

New member
Aug 22, 2006
108
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Columbus, OH
If you would like to offer a good variety of drinks for your customers, you could carry 10 to 15 different flavors. You could offer "the drink of the day" or "the drink of the month", as to not slow down the customers at the order counter. This would also help the baristas with speed of service, by allowing them to put one or two flavors within arms reach so they do not have to search through a huge selection of flavors to find what they are looking for. Here is a list of 14 common flavors:

Almond banana cinnamon Irish Cream
Coconut raspberry apple Orange
Amaretto blackberry cherry caramel
Vanilla peppermint hazelnut

Here are close to 30 drinks you can make with the flavors:

ALMON – AMEL – Latte with caramel and almond flavors
ALMOND JOY – Mocha with almond and coconut flavors
AMARETTO ALMOND – Latte with amaretto and almond flavors
AMARETTO AND CREAM – Latte with amaretto and vanilla flavors
BANANA COCONUT – Latte with banana and coconut flavors
BLACK FOREST – Mocha with raspberry flavor
BLACKBERRY MOCHA – Mocha with blackberry flavor
CANDY CANE – Latte with peppermint and cinnamon flavors
CARAMEL APPLE – Latte with caramel and apple flavor
CARMEL CREAM – Latte with caramel and vanilla flavors
CHERRY CORDIAL – Mocha with cherry and almond flavors
CHERRY VANILLA – Latte with cherry and vanilla flavors
CINNAMON APPLE – Latte with cinnamon and apple flavors
CINN – A – NUT – Latte with cinnamon and hazelnut flavors
CHOCOLATE MONKEY – Mocha with banana flavor
COCONUT CREAM PIE – Latte with coconut and vanilla flavors
DREAMBAR – Latte with orange and vanilla flavors
GOING NUTS – Latte with almond and hazelnut flavors
IRISH COCONUT – Latte with Irish cream and coconut flavors
MILKY WAY – Mocha with caramel flavor
MOUNDS – Mocha with coconut flavor
NUTTY IRISHMAN – Latte with hazelnut and Irish cream flavors
ORANGE MOCHA – Mocha with orange flavor
PEPPERMINT PATTY – Mocha with peppermint flavor
RASPBERRIES AND CREAM – Latte with raspberry and vanilla flavors
SNICKERDOODLE – Latte with almond, vanilla and cinnamon flavors
SNICKERS – Mocha with hazelnut and caramel flavors
SUGAR COOKIE – Latte with almond and vanilla flavors
WHITE RASPBERRY – White chocolate mocha with raspberry flavor

If you brainstorm long enough, you could probably triple the list of drinks with the 14 flavors, and have enough specialty latte's and mocha's to last a long time.
This way, you only have to carry a few bottles of product with in a period of time, and you can set yourself apart from the competition by being creative. The main objective is to keep your overall menu small enough that customers are not overwhelmed with a huge selection. Your baristas will make more consistant products faster this way as well.
 

imonlyfamous

New member
Dec 2, 2006
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cafemakers said:
imonlyfamous said:
If your product is "variety" - that's fine - if "location," or "ambiance," those are well and good, too... but if your product is "coffee," and you want your brand to have any more value than any other generic substitute for the "real thing" found elsewhere, than I suggest that you listen to CafeBlue's argument. He's only trying to help.

I understand that the typically accepted brand building method is through contraction - focus on one or two things that you want to do and do them better than anyone else - but I also understand that you can't stand on the strength of a single product in a lot of regions today. I believe that we make a better cup of coffee here at our shop than any of the 3 nearby Starbucks or 2 nearby Peet's, not to mention the no-name places nearby, but I also know that we wouldn't survive in our location if we didn't offer the convenience of drinks that cater to non-coffee drinkers too.

I just don't think that enough people care enough about the quality of a cup of coffee to support some shops, and that in those cases you need to expand your offerings so that not only are you the best, you also negate the need to visit any of your competitors.

I also think that it can be argued that flavored drinks are the new coffee and that they're ubiquitous for a reason.
 
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