Hi All, I am opening a second cafe, and we are really trying to move toward customer education in the way of traditional sized cappuccino's (5-6oz) and lattes (traditionally 5-6oz, but up to 12oz.). We don't want to be militant about our size offerings, but we also don't want to shoot ourselves in the foot by not offering the larger sizes that customers are typically looking for. How should we address this on our menu boards and with our customers without making it too confusing for those not as savvy about coffee? All input would be helpful! Thanks!

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The menu could have two sections. Traditonal Beverages and on the other part say beverages. When a sign like that is up customers would probably ask "what's a traditonal Cappuccino?" Then your barista can shine and teach your customers a whole new world of coffee instead of 20oz of flavored gross "coffee" .
We were trying for the exact same approach when we added a traditional cappuccino to our menu a few months ago. Basically, our menu section for "classic" espresso drinks is now grouped into 2 subsections - the larger drinks (latte, cappuccino, americano) that many of our customers are looking for and the one-size "traditional" drinks (trad capp, trad macc, double espresso).

Having the 6oz traditional cappuccino right below the 12 and 16 oz cappuccino on the menu has been a great conversation starter, with the result being that the customer learns something (and, about half of the time, picks the traditional). We are intentionally creating just a little confusion, then using it to our advantage :). If it is too clear then you never have the conversation. Do make sure your staff is prepared in advance with a clear, simple, friendly answer.

Not the right approach for all shops, but it works for us. I've been pleased with the outcome, and wish we'd done it sooner. Good luck.
Many of my coffee house customers call it a "in-house" cappuccino served in ceramic cups and offer a to go size. They state on the menu the to go size can also be enjoyed here. The main thing is to still offer the larger American size so you do not turn away business. Nothing taste better the a properly made cappuccino in a 5 to 6 ounce ceramic cup but to many people are used to 12 and 16 ounce cups.
You guys have it all wrong. This is a TRUE cappuccino: ;-)

We offer all sizes at our cafe, but we like to emphasize the smaller sizes with healthy conversation. The easiest way for us to advertise and educate proper sizes, etc. is by expressing genuine interest face to face. "Instead of a double shot 16 oz. cappuccino, would you like to try a double 6 oz for here? Its a classic here, and I really like the..blah blah blah" I usually ask with the knowledge that most people will still want to just grab what they always order and leave. Enthusiasm really sells/educates the best from my experience, but nothing is worse than obvious coffee snobbery. Anywho, menuboard-wise the "traditional" size section sounds like a pretty good option.
May i know is the traditonal size cappuccino size served with single or double shot espresso?
Our traditional is built with a 14 gram double pulled ristretto (which may surprise some here - namely Jason H). I explain that to be truly authentic the drink should contain only a single espresso, and do offer it this way, but recommend a double to better achieve the "perfect balance" that a good cappuccino should exhibit.
We also use two separate menu board listings: Traditional offering espresso (2.5oz ACF demi), macchiato (3oz ACF demi), con panna (also 3oz) and cappuccino (6oz ACF) and American Coffee Houseoffering 8, 12 & 16oz (porcelain or paper) Americanos, lattes, flavored lattes and mochas. FWIW all beverages double shots (or quad if requested), no split shots. (Tough to split a shot when all shots pulled nekkid.:-)

If a customer asks for a 8, 12 or 16oz cappuccino I no longer "correct" them (big customer service mistake), simply inject a bit more air for thicker microfoam than normal for our lattes. And hand them their "thick latte". Now if they ask why I called it a thick latte rather than cappuccino the door is open to size and flavor ratio education.
mike mcKoffee wrote:"If a customer asks for a 8, 12 or 16oz cappuccino I no longer "correct" them (big customer service mistake)..."

Customers are begging to be educated, leaving them with the notion that there are some vast array of cappuccino really goes against how you've positioned yourself.

Correction is negative.

Education is positive.

Educate!
Clarification, when handing them their "thick latte" it's verbalized and hence opens the door to education as mentioned. There is no room for question they are not getting a 16oz (or whatever size) cappuccino but are getting a thick latte.

Some customers want to be educated, some most definitely do not. Unasked for "education" can easily be taken as or perceived as correction by a customer. That is the customer service lesson I had to learn.
If you do the Traditional and American menus, just put the cappuccino on the Traditional side. I've never had a customer walk out because I wouldn't make a bigger cappuccino, but I have had several come back after they tasted how a real capp tastes. Also, kudos to you for only serving 12oz and below. It may seem like you lose some business at first, but I assure you in the long run you'll be happier with the decision. As more and more customers start to "get it," the new customers will simply follow suit and it is awesome watching a customer's drink become smaller and smaller until eventually he or she can appreciate straight espresso.
At our place in Reno, we simply have everything on our menu listed as "traditional" drinks... we've let our customers know (those who want a 12 oz. "cappuccino" for example) that they simply let the person at the register know this fact and we'll charge them for a 12 oz. latte and cappuccinotize :D the foam a little for them... After a very short time, we came to know by memory those customers who ordered the drinks to their specific liking.

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