Let them eat cake: how to increase footfall to your coffee shop

Garden centre and catering consultant Doug Stewart shares?ten ways to boost off-peak footfall to your coffee shop.

What if you could see your coffee shop as your customers see it? Here are ten ways to get into the mind of your customer and direct them to your cafe during off-peak times.

1. Show them the way

The first point of call in driving footfall to your coffee shop is making sure your customers can actually find it. What visual clues are you giving to your first time customers? Does the coffee shop spill out into an outdoor seating area? Is it clearly visible from the customer journey you have designed? Simply adding floor graphics such as adhesive coffee cups can significantly increase the number of new customers visiting the coffee shop for the first time.

2. Show passion for breakfast, lunch and dinner

A lot of garden centres focus on their midday menu but you can drive up footfall during off-peak times by pouring the same amount of passion into your early morning and late afternoon catering. Introduce lighter breakfast offerings such as eggs benedict, eggs florentine, complimentary morning newspapers and free coffee refills before 11am.

3. Make use of other departments

Utilise your point of sale and cross promotions throughout your departments to boost off-peak coffee shop sales. With a little bit of creative thought you can drive customers to your new off-peak menus. ?Two FREE early bird coffees with this fruit tree? may be a more effective sales message than a more standard ?10% off all fruit trees this month.?

4. Cater to your customers? habits

Carefully analyse your EPoS data to understand who your customer is and what they are looking for. If customers who buy fresh herbs also tend to visit the coffee shop, you can put point of sale for your off-peak coffee shop offer by the herbs. Or you could create an off-peak promotion offering a free herb plant when customers enjoy a cuppa and slice of cake in the afternoon.

5. Reward customer loyalty

A loyalty report identifying customers who have shopped in the garden centre in the last 12 weeks, but who have not visited the coffee shop, could be used to send off-peak vouchers introducing those customers to your catering offers.

6. Tap into TV favourites

If the viewing figures are anything to go by, your customers love The Great Allotment Challenge and The Great British Bake Off. You can tap into this passion with show stopping cakes, afternoon tastings of homemade jams, cordials and chutneys and late afternoon baking and gardening masterclasses in the coffee shop.

7: Get customers to bounce back

Bounce back vouchers can be incredibly effective in introducing customers to new products such as a new off-peak menu. Giving all lunchtime customers a two for one bounce back voucher for the new breakfast menu can be a very effective way of driving footfall to the coffee shop early in the morning.

8: Do something special in the evening

Many garden centres are filling their coffee shops on late night shopping evenings by creating special menus. A popular example would be a bowl of hearty gardener?s stew at a promotional price.

9: Engage with the local community

Encourage ?knit and natter? and other groups to adopt the coffee shop in afternoons or early mornings. Provide offers to promote chill out time for parents before they pick the kids up from school or ?school?s out children?s teas? that take the strain off mum.

10: Get your staff involved

The key to achieving better off-peak sales is to have fun and engage with your staff. Create a culture where staff can share ideas and are rewarded for their efforts. Delighting the customer should always be at the heart of everything you do.

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