May 20, 2020
When you are opening up your coffee shop their is multiple important factors such as: location, vibe, and staffing. However, arguably one of the most important aspects is what coffee are you serving. Whiskey Morning Coffee provides beans for coffee shops around Texas. Writing this article I try to not be biased, but bring an overlook from what Texas coffee shops have told WMC is important when choosing a bean supplier for your coffee shop.
Coffee Shop Branding
Here is the deal; there is a Starbucks on every corner, so why should somebody choose your coffee shop over a brand that most of Americans are already familiar with? Maybe your bring value to your customers through a superb cup of brew, unique food choices, or a subscription based payment model. There is a lot of different ways that you can bring value to your customers that will hold customers from going to Starbucks in the morning.
However, until the customer has visited your shop they can be unaware of the value you are providing! Create a brand that pulls people looking from the outside to experience the inside of your shop.
Develop your ideal customer: what do they wear, drive, what time do they go to work, and what is their budget? (I am a fan of a focused target customer instead of a broad picture. Choosing a target customer could be a whole nother article, but point is know your customer.)
Now that you have your ideal customer you need to choose a coffee that attracts and retains them! Once you know your customer and talk to them this will become more clear to you what coffee is best. I have listed some examples below.
Coffee Purist: Single Origin Coffee, Light to Medium Roast, the coffee beans unique characteristics are displayed in the cup.
Convenience Customer: This is the dude or gal who is heading to work or soccer practice and just wants to grab a good cup off coffee and get on with their busy day. This coffee shop owner should consider choosing a bean supplier that has an all around coffee that can be used in multiple drinks and brewing methods. South American coffee with a medium/dark roast is a great choice when looking for an all around bean.
Millennials/GenZ: The 20-40 year old crowd like to think they are pretty cool and innovative. Consider making your coffee shop a chill place that displays innovation. Find a bean supplier that has some cool unique coffee's and experience in untraditional brews. The roaster can help you implement brews such as nitro, coffee cocktails, and a unique menu that separates your shop from the old peoples shop.
Socially Conscious: If your customer and coffee shop are both focused on being environmentally conscious, or giving back to a cause, choose a bean supplier that has similar goals. Partnering with a similar minded coffee roaster will attract more customers while providing more good to the cause.
Coffee Supplier/Coffee Shop Relationship
Once you have determined your coffee shops ideal customer and the brew that will attract and retain them you will have a more defined list of which coffee roasters you want to talk to. There is the obvious things to consider when choosing a roaster, such as: price, location, and public familiarity. From talking to coffee shops here in Texas what was most important to them was choosing a coffee supplier that was strong in the attributes for the relationship they sought. Find what's important to your shop and interview coffee roasters.
Unique: Is the coffee unique, and is it something my customer can't get from the two other coffee shops down the road.
Consistency: You have built a loyal customer base that expects their coffee to taste the same way every morning. This coffee shop needs a relationship with a roaster that can provide consistent coffee each batch.
Scalability: Your coffee shop is planning on opening a new location every 6 months. It is important that your coffee shop partners with a roaster that is capable to supply you with coffee as you continue to grow.
Flexibility: When you first open a coffee shop there will be ups and downs in sales. Ultimately, you hope to display steady growth. However, shit happens. Covid-19 hit and you might have gone from selling 50 pounds of coffee a week to 10 pounds. You might have a couple gnarly days and go through your weeks supply of coffee by Tuesday. It is important to have a coffee supplier that is flexible and will adjust orders as your start out. A lot of times the smaller/medium sized roasters have more flexibility.
Training: Does the coffee roasters staff provide training and education to your baristas ensuring you are properly preparing the brews.
Do They Care About You: All the above points could be summed up within this point. Digging deeper, this has been the most sought out aspect the coffee shops have requested from Whiskey Morning Coffee.
Ask this question when analyzing what a coffee roaster values: "How will your company care for my coffee shop? The answer you get back will show you what the roaster values. Be cautious of story book responses and promises that can't be met.
Congratulations, At this point you have started, or your interested in starting your own coffee shop. Create your ideal customer, talk to them, create a brand around the customer, and choose a coffee supplier that cares about you and can provide the relationship your shop needs.
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