Offering coffee or establishing a small café bar in a bricks and mortar retail operation (non-café)

Does offering coffee or having a café bar within a retail operation (non-coffee) increase sales and/or your customers’ experience? For us at New Jersey Coffee School (NJCS), it’s a prominent question that is often asked by our students who are budding or existing retail bricks and mortar owners.

Typically, our engagement with Barista and Business students starts with a Q&A session around what goals they may have and how can our classes at New Jersey Business School will accentuate their respective journeys. The Barista sessions focus on things such as; global coffee profiles, roasters influencing taste profiles and of course, extensive hands-on work with our commercial grade espresso machines. A beneficial result of taking this class or obtaining the experience of the class is that it opens people’s peripheral business vision, for how they may incorporate a complementing coffee/cafe offering within their business model.

If you’ve ever shopped in a high-end retail store, you may have noticed a coffee bar within their operation. How does this enhance the sales experience and most importantly the profitability for the store owner?

For starters, let’s understand and agree that most people drink coffee. In some widely available surveys, it’s been recorded that only 11% of consumers admit to never drinking coffee. Safe to say that most shoppers do drink coffee and probably several cups per day. Offering coffee during a shopping experience is advantageous in this regard. Coffee clearly has some sensory advantages and may be seen through the lens of “driving” consumer traffic to your store. Think about those Cinnabon purchases in the mall we all made for no other reason than the scent of “deliciousness” permeated the air. I don’t remember ever leaving home seeking a Cinnabon, yet I returned having eaten one and carrying another one “for later”.
Let’s focus on image for a moment and on what coffee may offer in that regard. If you are selling upscale goods and services, a higher end coffee type offering is consistent with that image for your consumer and may even enhance the image further. Conversely, selling discounted goods and services wouldn’t obtain a similar benefit from the upscale coffee operation. Selling that upscale image is also a popular tact to undertake with the younger consumer as it represents a validation of sorts that your operation “knows its customer” very well. It also facilitates and extends the brand loyalty foundation all retail businesses crave. A young, engaged consumer eventually can become a long-time loyal customer.

In an experiential sense, a coffee inspired offering within your store enhances your customer’s shopping experience. Potentially your store can become a destination purely for the coffee beverage operation. You’ll also increase the amount of time you retain customers on site with more sales opportunities as the objective. You’d be hard pressed to find a shopper who doesn’t see the value of a casual and cozy place to sit down to enjoy a hand-crafted French coffee drink coupled with a warm buttered croissant. A seat at a café on the Champ Elysees becomes a sensory reality and how memorable can that become!

How can NJCS synthesize all this for you? The things to think about are so numerous and potentially overwhelming. NJCS alleviates much of the learning curve. NJCS’s Barista classes emphasize working on commercial grade espresso machines and their ancillary ones like grinders, which if you decide to offer a high end, and high-sales volume beverage operation, will become a tremendous asset to your bar design and equipment purchase decisions. You’ll also be equipped to delve into the ever-challenging world of municipal bureaucracy to determine code and regulation compliance. Remember, if you are selling coffee for money, you most likely will need to know your cities/towns respective zoning rules and regulations. Lastly, when it comes to equipment, not only is its placement critical for aesthetic reasons, but you also need to determine many things like efficiency, water supply, filtration, and drainage issues. That said, NJCS classes also emphasize knowing your concept which greatly influences the equipment you will need and purchase. In many cases, you can decide to scale things down and thus create less plumbing and electrical issues for yourself. Better said, “you can save large sums of money and time!”

Coffee is a valuable commodity and can be used as a real asset within your current or proposed retail operation. But like anything else in business, it needs an informed and educated rock-solid foundation from which to put your plan into motion effectively, efficiently and at the optimal value. The NJCS Barista classes as well as Business classes provide all of that and more. Please call us at (201) 367-9586 or visit our website at https://newjerseycoffeeschool.com

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