Sales Outside the Coffee Shop Can Boost Revenues

In my coffee shop business plan package, I have a chapter on outside revenue sources that can significantly increase your sales revenue if implemented and operated properly. I go into a lot more detail in the Ebook however this is such good stuff I wanted to share it. It was hard to cut out a lot of detail but I think you can get the idea of what I am relating here.
Selling coffee beans, coffee drinks and various food items within the four walls of your coffee shop is an obvious means of revenue that all owners should know about. After all, those are pretty much the reasons we are open and customers patronize us. However, there are other sources of revenue that can come in handy to help boost your bottom line that some shop owners say cannot be overlooked.
Deli catering is one avenue to make available any time for local business meeting lunches, business� grand openings near you, luncheons, holiday parties, networking events, the list goes on. This would be simple single sandwiches with chips to large sandwich loaves made on huge loaves of French bread and cut in small hunks.
Bakery catering is another way to increase revenues. This can be to the scale of a full service bakery if you are at that level or just supplying pastries for morning business meetings and the like. Of course, where would we be without coffee itself so you know what is coming next!
Coffee service is great for corporate and other events in your area. You can get the �beverage on the move� containers that are about 96 oz � 120 oz, supply the cups, condiments including cream, stir sticks, etc. Along with the coffee service goes a great add-on of bakery, even if you do not bake it in-store, you sure can sell it! You can also add on tea, milk, OJ and other beverages. And these guests will be asking if there are any bags of coffee beans to take home, or at least where they can get your roasted coffee.
Another avenue is to cater for weddings, parties and other events. Espresso catering is catching on in some areas as a great way for newlywed couples to impress and service guests for brunch receptions or breakfast gatherings after the ceremony and at evening receptions. Gourmet coffee is a great addition for guests that do not drink alcohol.
Let me say that there can be a lot of work involved in this but it is a niche area and in my opinion very underserved in most cities. I used to do it with my old shop and it can be very lucrative. It�s basically a small espresso bar set up at someone�s event. Kind of simple! Most one group and some two group espresso machines will work and handle the volume. You can include a select few coffee beverages, flavors and even bags of whole bean coffee to limit what you need to bring and set up.
For those warm weather events, I have seen quite a few shop owners set up an espresso bar outside under a canopy and sell coffee like a cash bar. I used to do it when I lived in TX and had a shop there. I call these events �warm weather� because they are outdoors and run usually from May-Oct, depending on your location. One event I have done for several years are farmers markets. As a roaster now, I sell more coffee beans than anything else but I do sell coffee by the cup and biscotti as well. So sure, sell your bakery as well! Be sure to check with the health department as they may require a special permit for selling food items and, coffee as well outdoors.
If you are considering festivals, see if you could start off at smaller events and work up to larger ones because they can be a big undertaking. I would suggest festivals with smaller crowds of people, like 5000-10,000 per day. Also, pick events that are culturally predisposed to espresso and gourmet coffee beans, like a folk festival or an urban festival with crafts and music. If you do craft shows look for the ones that blur the fine art line with likes such as high end glass work for sale at $500 – $1000 each. That is a pretty good indicator that disposable income is all over the place. You have to think about your target market.
Once again I go into more detail in the Ebook. However if you ponder to have other revenue streams other than what the shop norm is, utilizing your coffee shop menu and business savvy outside of your brick and mortar is a great way to get it. After all, it IS your line of business.

Consistency and Customer Service Reign Supreme in the Coffee Shop Business

Maybe you are just opening a coffee shop, or maybe you already own one. Whether your customers buy coffee beans online or in your store, there are some things you need to be sure are in place from the beginning. If these things were not in place, there is still time to make a change. Once these basic elements are identified, take the time to learn how to actually implement them, teach them to staff and continue to enforce them as policy.


I have seen this more times than I care to admit: Barista #1 makes the best drinks because barista #2 doesnt make them sweet enough. And the barista that works on Saturdays always makes my drink too hot.
We have to be sure every barista is grinding, tamping and pulling shots correctly. Couple that with proper steaming, pouring, drink building and everything in between. No exceptions. Anyone that cannot follow the rules needs to be looking for a new job.

All baristas preparing drinks at your store (management included) needs to be retrained and tested at least yearly to be sure there is consistency within your shop. This will ensure that you and your staff continue to make the best coffee in town.

Consistency however does not stop there. There is also the fact that just buying the best quality ingredients also helps to make you consistent. If you get Ghirardelli all the time, do not stray from it unless you can no longer get it. Then you have to be sure to replace it with something comparable to it or better. This goes for all of your products, especially your fresh roasted gourmet coffee beans.

You also have to maintain consistency in your employees. Something that can hurt your business is a high employee turnover rate. As an employer, you have to do everything you can to remain firm, but fare and balanced with your employees for a high retention rate. Your customers will thank you and your bottom line will reflect it.

Exceptional Service

You walk in to a local store, and the clerk behind the counter greets you, asks how you are, what you would like or what they can help you with. Then they assist you with what you came in for, ring the transaction while engaging in idle chit chat with you, give you your receipt and wish you a great rest of the day, all with a smile. It happens! And sometimes it doesnt.

You walk in to a local store, and the clerk acts like you are not there, or that you are bothering them, or like you are an idiot. Little talk happens, and they barely make eye contact. They basically throw your change at you and you leave. Wow! You think, yikes, what a personality!

Which store would you be more likely to go back into?

Exceptional service must be consistent as well as it is essential to keep your customers coming back. You have to remember that every customer is GOLD and deserves a smile. Dont ever forget that customers make it possible for you to make a living. We also have to be sure we do not lower our standards of quality in any product or service. Do not skimp on quality to cut corners. You will see how fast you will get complaints and ultimately lose customers. Stay focused on quality in every element and you will see the difference.

So if you are just starting a coffee shop, are a roaster just selling coffee beans, or a retailer selling it all, be consistent and have superior customer service. It will make a difference!
About the Author

Tony DiCorpo is a coffee roaster, barista trainer and coffee business consultant. He has authored many articles on coffee and the coffee business. Tony has extensive experience in business and collectively more than 20 years experience in sales, business management, entrepreneurship and the coffee business.

He has written an eBook on how to start a coffee shop. He also owns Troubadour Coffee Roasting Co. where he sells coffee and espresso equipment and where you can buy wholesale coffee beans.

The Coffee Machine Has Enjoyed Great Technological Advances

It could be said that the dawn of civilization was started with that little cup of coffee. A revolution that has conquered most parts of the world and every walk of life. You will find that there’s a coffee making machine for everyone, in homemakers’ kitchens and office pantries alike.

It wasn’t until the early 1900’s when the first real coffee machine was finally produced and enjoyed in more modern homes. It was called the percolator and made coffee brewing much easier. The idea was that water in the lower chamber of this metal coffee urn would be boiled on the stove until the pressure of the water was forced through a funnel and onto coffee grounds sitting in a basket above. The hot coffee would then trickle back down to the bottom chamber and was ready to serve.

Although it seemed easier than previous methods, this system clearly needed some modifications. It was harder to control the strength of the brew, requiring constant attention to the amount of time you heat up the water. Sometimes the filter could not keep out some of the grounds from slipping into the pot as well.

However, this method of making coffee was light years ahead of the 19th century, when people still made coffee simply by boiling the grounds until they thought they were done and then filtering out the grounds as they poured each cup. Some countries didn’t bother and drank coffee with the grounds still in it.

In the last decade, while many improvements have been made on the coffee machine, it still functions on the same basic principle of heated water being poured over grounds sitting in a filter. The greatest changes to the coffee machine are that it now sits independently away from the stove, has a separate compartment for water, and a removable coffee pot. By dripping the boiling water over the filter full of coffee and letting it run straight into the coffee pot, there almost no grounds and no mixing of the original water with the brewed coffee.

From boiling the beans to automated brewing, technology has certainly played a big role in providing us with our java break. At present, a simple coffee making machine ideal for homes would only cost around $10; a more complicated one would range from hundreds to a thousand dollars. Find out more about great espresso coffee machines at

Automated coffee making machines gives you the freedom to do other stuff and provide you with your cup of coffee whenever you want it. Just plug it in, connect it to a water source, and set the time. Even if you’re on the go, you can still enjoy a cup from a portable decanter.

Even coffee on the go has improved. It used to be that the only place to get coffee to go was a fast food restaurant or a convenience store. Now you can find a gourmet coffee shop on almost every corner. Thanks to the improvement of pressurized machines, you can enjoy a take-out espresso or cappuccino anywhere you are.

Lost and Found in Italy

I have a persisting dream of visiting the rolling hills of Italy with its fields of giant yellow sunflowers€¦experiencing the local cuisine and savouring the elegant wines whilst indulging in the sincerity and warmth of the Italian people. Well, my dream finally came true in our recent visit to Tuscany€¦and in no less than a sleek and streamlined cabriolet with me doing my utmost to give Grace Kelly a run for her money, complete with the wind through my hair, though perhaps ever so slightly less elegant!

The Italian lifestyle is one I am unquestionably most envious of – Italians are sincere, welcoming people who love to relax and spend time with family and friends. They certainly don’t need any excuse to celebrate, and they do this best! Celebration and relaxation is commonly found around a table relishing the traditions of pure “Mama Italiano’s” cooking, a passion in itself. Their most fascinating characteristic trade is their LOVE of talking (passionately, with their whole body it seems)€¦which by the way, is an art form in itself!

Most travellers to Tuscany don’t venture away from the main landmarks. This region though has so much to offer beyond the popular tourist attractions. If you are prepared to venture off the beaten track to see more than what you would find in the guidebooks, you will go home with a completely different view of this remarkable region. Therefore, our road-trip through the countryside wasn’t planned; we just followed our senses€¦with a little help from a GPS! Getting lost was such a huge part of our journey and made for wonderful tales to tell upon our return home.

We opted to stay all over the place, a mismatch of hotels and farm houses, starting off with the glitzy Hotel Stendhal in Parma, famous for its prosciutto, cheese, architecture and surrounding countryside. In peak traffic, we found this beauty at the end of the day by pure accident as it is right in the centre of the old historical town. The history of this hotel is evident in the red walls, the bureau in bois de rose (some call this the most beautiful of all exotic woods) with the hotel oval coat of arms reminds one of ancient splendour and wealth. We immediately unpacked and enjoyed a wonderful bottle of Attems Pinot Grigio 2010, Venezia Giulia IGT, Italia overlooking the green lawns of the new Piazzale della Pace. This wine is full bodied and has an expressive terroir with some fruit and tang on the nose, and unusually a savoury, almost nutty quality on the palette. In Italy, 2010 was considered a “white wine year” and I now know why€¦

Our Parma dining experience was at the traditional Trattoria Sorelle Picchi, a restaurant off the street (on the pavement), which at first glance seemed to be a shop selling the famous Parma ham and Parmigiano cheese hanging tantalisingly in the window – but to our surprise, was rather a delightful eatery. The cured meats were truly unadulterated smoked pleasure and of the best we have ever tasted anywhere in the world. This diminutive street eatery is a must-visit for amazing local ambiance, delicious food, exceptional service and exquisite wines – a good start to our journey€¦

From Parma our journey took us along the coast to the medieval village of Portovenere, dating back to early Roman times. It is an old-fashioned fishing village with picturesque pastel houses, boats bobbing in the harbour and a web of meandering walking paths. We stayed at the sea front Royal Sporting Hotel perched quaintly overlooking the stunning scenery of the Poets’ Gulf€¦.unforgettable in every sense. The hotel had a swimming pool which was a blessing under the Tuscan sun!

It was here, in Portovenere, where we had our most fascinating dining experience at the famous Ristorante Le Bocche€¦”where the pleasures of fine dining blend with the colours of the sea€¦”. The restaurant is situated in front of the sea in a private spot on the cliff of St. Peter’s Church, built in the 6th century and rebuilt in 1277 in its present gothic style. At this popular restaurant one can enjoy any of the delicacies of the sea complimented by a wine list containing an infinite range of fine wines to satisfy the tastes of both daring as well as sophisticated wine enthusiasts. Here, one can sample the delicacies of the sea in pure form, RAW. Please don’t get me wrong, I am a sushi fanatic, but raw shellfish is an acquired taste that I am not sure needs to have a standing in the culinary world – but we gave it a try and yes, I stand by my word. Apart from the €acquired’ tasting experience, the quiet sounds of the sea and the soft breath of the ocean breeze across the cliffs have lived here side-by-side for centuries in unspoiled harmony.
San Gimignano, a small walled medieval hill town in the province of Siena was next on the list of essential places to visit. An absolute must if you ever travel to Tuscany – known as the Town of Fine Towers; it is famous for its medieval architecture, unique in the conservation of about a dozen of its tower houses, which, with its hilltop setting and encircling walls create “an unforgettable horizon”.

We instantly fell in love with the farm cottages on Torre Prima, perched on top of a hill ensuring the delight of the breath-taking panorama of the surrounding valleys of olive groves and vineyards. Our hosts, Giusi, Maurizio and little Sofia were testament to Italian generosity. Whilst we sipped on a glass of their delightful Vernaccia wine (a 2010 white) we discovered the meaning of the phrase “slow passage of time”.

Next stop, Relais Santa Chiara Hotel, a delightfully elegant hotel, situated on a hill in the heart of the rolling hills of Tuscany overlooking the impressive, tranquil Tuscan countryside – one of a kind!

We opted for dinner on a farm, the Tratorria Borgo di Racciano, on the summit of a hill boasting the spectacular view of the town of San Gimignano.

This restaurant is inspired and based on the values of typical Tuscan “homemade” dishes, and whether you want an informal romantic meal for two or a night with many friends, this restaurant is no fuss, just great, simple Italian cooking at its best.

It is here where we enjoyed an exceptional wine from the Tuscan estate Le Rote, a charismatic Chianti Colli Senesi with rich, chewy dark fruit, ripe tannins, yet a dry and clean finish. Remarkably, this wine was aged a full 1.5 years before release, a very rare and determined decision for a non-riserva Chianti – and the results show in the bottle. Smooth, black-cherry and sweet tobacco-linger on a faint, pleasant finish that is touched with just the right hint of oak. Lovely!

The absolute highlight of our trip came from the heart of Tuscany in the medieval town of Colle di Val d’Elsa. Here you will find, Arnolfo, a two-star Michelin restaurant run and owned by brothers – Chef Geatano Trovato and ma®tre, head sommelier Giovanni Trovato. Grand chef Geatano trained with the best chefs in Europe and returned to his native town to prepare cuisine using only organic produce, imbuing the pure and authentic flavours of Tuscany.
We were seated in a room full of striking yet comfortable chairs upholstered in white leather, set around a large round table reserved for just the two of us. The ambiance was created in all of the detail surrounding us€¦including the refined tablecloths and elegant crystal glasses – as if to emphasise that nothing is left to chance or improvisation.

One can order a la carte or choose to have any of the two tasting/ seasonal menu’s “Discovery Tradition” and “Contemporary Moments” featuring fresh pasta of the day, milk-fed veal and other products from animals raised in the hills of Siena, as well as seafood from the Tyrrhenian coast. The “Grande Dessert” is the finale, a selection of their delicacies in small portions. This is both a feast for the eyes and the palate! Geatano sets high standards for creativity and his dishes daringly ride the line between innovation and tradition, almost always with spectacular results.

The Coffee Shops of Japan

With Japan rated as the third largest coffee consumer in the world, it comes as no surprise that coffee shops (kissatens) abound, with Tokyo alone home to over ten thousand. Shops come in all sizes and styles, but the smaller versions usually include only a counter and a few tables that are often sole proprietorships run by a husband and wife team who are helped by a part time waitress. These establishments also often double as a small restaurant which offer sandwiches or a light meal during lunchtime. For breakfast a €morning set€ is often available which usually consists of juice, coffee, eggs and toast. These mom and pop businesses are gradually being replaced by the bigger chain shops such as Detour, Tully’s, and Starbucks, which offer over the counter coffee, more spacious seating arrangements, and in the case of Starbucks a no smoking environment. This has proven to be a big selling point in a nation that currently has very few restrictions in regard to smoking in public restaurants and bars.

Others have striven to develop a unique theme to distinguish themselves from the competition. Music coffee shops for example featuring jazz, classical, or rock, have always been a favorite hangout for the younger crowd since their inception in the early 1960’s. Less mainstream but proving to be quite popular are the manga (comic book) coffee shops that have sprung up in recent years in Tokyo. Coffee is served gratuitously, and the customer pays only for the duration of time spent reading the thousands of manga provided on library type shelves lining the room. On a similar theme, €Maid Kissa€ coffee shops feature beautiful young waitresses donned in maid costumes that resemble characters from famous Japanese comics. As the customer enters the premise he or she is greeted by an alluring €welcome home my master€. In addition to the verbal role play offered, maids pour coffee and tea for patrons, or engage in a game of cards upon request. Many of these coffee shops are decorated in the style of an English Mansion to simulate feelings of truly being €master of the house€. Some shops are subtly veering from the coffee shop image by referring to their place of business as cafes, often reflecting the owners personal taste in interior design and music, and emphasizing a European atmosphere where home style food and a great cup of coffee can still be enjoyed.

Despite the various themes employed by owners to attract customers, the main feature of the menu is still coffee. For purists looking for an exotic blend or a special roasting method, a growing number of shops are now offering patrons fresh ground coffee using in house percolating techniques they hope will lure customers away from the instant coffee shop franchises that have come to dominate the market in recent years. Whether you’re searching for a temporary sanctuary from the clamor of the city, or a quick pick me up first thing in the morning, coffee shops in Japan have something for everyone.