Summer blitz

Australians love their coffee, but when it’s warm enough for your seatbelt to give you a blister, it’s not surprising that coffee sales can start to slump. Unless you’re lucky enough to own a café at the beach, the warm weather can make things difficult for café owners who rely so heavily on coffee sales to make a living.

The good news is that there is plenty of opportunities to keep your customers coming in over the warmer months and potentially even win some new customers. There is, however, some work to be done.

Last edition (October 2016) I wrote about how to create a coffee menu. Now it’s time to revisit that menu and give it some summer wow factor.

Whenever you are trying something new in your café, there are two things you need to do. First, you need customers to want to try it (effective marketing) and second, you need them to come back for more and tell their friends (so it needs to be delicious).

Over the years, different trends have come and gone, such as frappés, fruit smoothies, and iced coffee. While they’re still great options, some of the trending cold drinks at present include:

Freakshakes. Like a milkshake only much more suitable for Instagram. You can go as crazy as you like with these. Additions such as cookies, donuts, popcorn, or caramel sauce are all on the cards. My only advice would be to make sure it is drinkable. It’s great that someone shares your crazy creation on social media, but if it’s far too sickly for them to come back for another next week, it hasn’t quite hit the mark.

Green smoothies. Throw in some kale, spinach, and chia and you’re good to go. Again the key here is the balance between enticing the market with a healthy option but keeping them coming back for more by making sure it is still tasty.
n Cold pressed juices. Juice has long been a popular summer menu option, but the latest trend to make juice interesting again is cold pressing. The idea is that the juice is extracted by pressing rather than by spinning blades, retaining more nutrients. While the evidence for this is somewhat sketchy, there is no arguing that this trend has taken off.

Iced tea. Tea is on a similar path of growth in Australia to coffee thanks to the rise of specialty tea and even entire chains of fashionable shops that sell nothing but tea. Iced tea’s popularity is on the rise as well with additions such as berries, citrus, or herbs to add to the refreshment. (See more on this topic in Tea Scene, page 78.

Take your pick of any of these delicious drinks and I’m confident sales will thrive within the warmer months without relying solely on hot coffee orders. If you enjoy playing with flavours, why not get creative and come up with the next craze? If you need some help, particularly with ideas for coffee-based drinks, there is plenty of flavour inspiration to be taken from signature drinks in coffee competitions. These drinks may not always be marketable but with a few tweaks could be something delicious to serve your customers.

Once you have decided on your approach, marketing is just as important. Some of these drinks can be costly to make, especially when you start to add lots of ingredients. It’s important to find the balance between charging a price the customer is willing to pay, and ensuring you’re still making a profit. Be sure to factor in things like the cost of waste when working out your sell price.

This article features in the December 2016 edition of BeanScene Magazine.

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