Coffee Shop Marketing

Three business partners contacted me about creating a marketing plan for a coffee shop that they were opening in Greenwich Village in New York City. They had already leased a 3000 sq. foot space, which is very large for a coffee shop. They had not worked out what type of food or coffee they would serve. The location was too large for it to survive as just a coffee shop something extra would have to be added.

I met with the three partners where I discussed my concerns about there new business venture. I convinced them to follow a plan that I created that would solve the extra space problem for them. Since they had already signed the lease on the location that was to large to succeed as just a coffee shop I created a plan for the coffee shop to be used as a place for community service groups, discussion groups, art and theatre groups, and special interest groups.

I arranged for the coffee shop to operate a two-prong strategy. In the morning it will offer coffee, cappuccino, and breakfast muffins and an assortment of pastries to the people in the morning, 65% who are professional. After 9:30 A.M. the coffee house will strive to become a meeting place for various community groups, organizations, associations, and a place for college students to meet after classes. The coffee shop will have a part time program director who will work with the various groups to help facilitate community meetings and set up interesting forums and discussion groups, and to provide other entertainment for the college students.

I conducted some research on successful coffee shops and found that the espresso machines contribute well over 50 percent to a coffee shop's revenue and even more to its profits. The shops with the best tasting drinks did five to ten times the business of shops with average tasting espresso. To capitalize on this the coffee shop should try to get its espresso drinks to over 50 percent of the drinks served. To accomplish this, the coffee shop set up a separate espresso station, with instruction on how to make a great espresso. The coffee shop will set its pricing approximately 25 percent below typical Starbucks' pricing.

The key to the coffee shop is the merchandising and taste of its specialty drinks, which involves having the right coffeemaker and coffee, and people who understand the art of making good coffee. I suggested that the coffee shop purchased a high-end cappuccino coffeemaker that has a shiny copper and bronze exterior that can be set out in a separate station to attract interest to specialty coffees. Two employees along with the manager were trained in the proper technique of making specialty coffee drinks.

I worked with the part time program and sales director with finding groups and creating groups that will hold meetings in the coffee shop. A discount was offered to any group or individual who would bring in groups. I created a web site explaining what the coffee shop has to offer, and what meetings are taking place and how they can attend these meetings. The coffee shop will send out coupons to groups offering a 25-percent-off discount.

I bought a list from a list broker of organizations, associations, and local community groups in the area. I wrote solicitation letters to them explaining what services the coffee shop had to offer. I created online discussion groups that would involve potential clients for the coffee shop. Articles were written for on line publication for the organizations, associations, and local community groups that held meetings at the coffee shop. These articles contained links to the web site for the coffee shop that would list the upcoming events and discussions that would be held at the coffee shop. Print ads were also taken out in a small local publication that the targeted market reads.

After about 5 months the results of these marketing efforts had paid off. The coffee shops morning business was doing 10 percent better that was forecasted. The coffee shop had 8 regular groups, organizations, and associations holding weekly meetings in the coffee shop. I got permission from the clients who are using the coffee shop for meetings to use there names in the next set of ads that will run, and on the new web site. You must promote your success to get new business.

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About The Author, William Dupree
William Dupree who has over 20years of experience in interactive marketing is the owner of Interactive Marketing & Promotional Solutions ( located in New York City, which specializes in developing interactive marketing strategies for small businesses.