Espresso Blog

Julie Beals

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Coffee Shop Sales 101: Sell more than coffee to succeed

Knowing how to sell a variety of menu items is vital to your coffee shop’s success.

Cafes with a mostly-coffee strategy can be busy all day, but still not generate enough profit to keep their doors open. Since your main product has great gross profit margins but low overall ticket averages, you've got to up your game from the get go to pay your bills. Bringing your ticket average above $4 or $5 is crucial to the future of your business.

A “coffee plus” strategy (coffee plus pastry or other food item) is in order. Coffee should be no more than 40 percent of your weekly sales—about two item...

Coffee Shop Design Tips That Won't Break The Bank

You don't always have to go the extra mile to succeed. Even if you’re determined to convey a modern vibe at your cafe or restaurant, less can be more when it comes to the fixtures and final touches. With a few simple short cuts, you can create a space that invites customers to come back again and again:

Fresh white paint. It’s amazing what a quick coat of paint can do to make a shop look fresh and inviting. A warm white tone will brighten the space and will go with everything, and you won’t have to spend time testing out different color schemes.

Wall art for less. After applying a fresh coat...

Coffee Shop Ambiance Part II: Lighting, Flooring and More

We recently brought you tips for furnishing your cafe. Now it’s time to tackle a few other important elements of coffee shop ambience: lighting, flooring, music and more.

1. Let there be light.

Getting the lighting right is important to guests. Just because we all have cell phones doesn’t mean we want to squint over a menu using the flashlight feature, but we also don't want to feel like we're under spotlights.

Be sure the strength of the light suits your concept. Other than natural light (hopefully you’ve got plenty of that), use warm halogen or LED lights that are bright enough to read by but...

Coffee Shop Ambiance Part I: Furniture

At your restaurant or café, the quality of your food and beverages are obvious selling points. But when customers open the door and looks around, your ambience—or design and decor—can determine if they stay or go.

Here are some quick tips on furnishing your café that will keep your guests comfortable, and coming back:

1. Tables tell the truth.

Tables can easily look cheap and tacky. Unless you're running a small shop, a square table on a single pole with four flimsy chairs around it will not invite people to spend much time at your establishment. (But maybe that’s the point, if you’re a...

How's Your Coffee Shop ROI?

There is no one set of rules for success in the foodservice business. Most of it comes down to hard work or extensive experience—and a little bit of luck.

But there are things you can do to increase your odds of success and your coffee shop ROI while maintaining financial stability. Heck, when these tactics are done right, you could feasibly open more locations at some point.

Serve good coffee. Forgive this obvious point, but espresso is one of those rare products where consistent quality really matters. T-shirts? Napkins? Not so much. So buy the best espresso machine you can, install it...

The Power of Takeaway Orders at Your Coffee Shop or Restaurant

The quintessentially perfect coffeehouse in your mind's eye probably includes cozy seating, free wi-fi, and even a patio for those warm, sunny days.

But if you can’t afford all of these accouterments, you don’t have to suffer. In fact, you may even be more profitable than your full-service competitors.

Some of the most successful coffee shops have limited seating, so they can concentrate on takeaway business. Your to-go customers pay the same price as the sit-down crowd without any of the occupancy costs—which means you can serve 10 of them by the time one couch surfer is halfway through...

Grow Your Coffee Business By Avoiding Small Mistakes

Variables lurk that could negatively impact your coffee or restaurant business, or even reduce your chances of survival. Failure doesn’t necessarily mean closing your doors—it can also be a failure to capitalize on opportunities for growth. Avoiding small mistakes in your business processes can make all the difference.

The number one reason cafes and restaurants fail is, of course, a poor location. Let’s assume yours isn’t killing you (and if it is, you might try improving your odds with better signage and some advertising), and focus on things you can more easily correct, to increase your...

Coffee Shop Team Building That Works

Would your employees cringe if you told them a coffee shop team building exercise was in their future?

Remember that game, “Pass the Orange”? The embarrassing one where you use your neck and chin to pass an orange to a friend, relay-race style? Employees can feel like 11-year-olds at summer camp when coerced into shenanigans like this. A recent Wakefield Research study found that almost a third of U.S. office workers dislike team building activities. That likely goes for hourly restaurant and café workers, too.

You can reduce cynicism around coffee shop team building by doing it in ways that...

How To Build Your Café Staff

We recently brought you several hiring tips and ways to reduce staff turnover. Today we’re sharing insight on building your staff—a skill that cannot be understated in its value to your restaurant or café.

Hire a mix of ages and backgrounds, if possible.

Students are often hired at cafés and restaurants. Most have limited professional experience, making the service industry a great place to start. Nonstudents with some job experience under their belts can be valuable mentors to younger ones, and they can be easier to schedule because they’re not juggling school and study time.


The Daily Office Crowd, Part II: What’s Your Wi-Fi Policy?

With telecommuting and the gig economy in full swing, laptop users can be found soaking up wireless connections and electrical outlets at coffee shops everywhere. This creates a challenge for shop owners who want to keep a welcoming atmosphere but also need customer turnover to maintain a profitable business.

We already know that coffeehouses can provide the right amount of background noise to help telecommuters concentrate, which is why many coffeehouses have no refuse to limit wireless access. But while chains like Starbucks provide free internet access, some don’t consider it “free,”...

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