Customers who want to buy product to make their own.

I have customers off and on ask me where I buy certain ingredients to my drink recipes and most of the time they want to buy them to make their own at home but I am afraid of losing business or trade secrets to this, so what I'm asking is how do you politely tell them no and is this something that happens at your shop?

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Do not give out recipes for bases. That is a house policy :). As Ricky said, you are happy to sell them the finished product if it is at all possible, just make sure your margin is good.
So are you saying to over price what they want and maybe that will change their mind?

Ricky Sutton said:
Oh, you like this chocolate? 1/2 pound is $14.50. That espresso was great? $13.00 per pound. Need a bottle of vanilla syrup or a gallon of quality milk? I'll sell you that too.
All of my employees know to play stupid about where product comes from but they still try to figure it out by a process of elimination with a different Barista every time.

Brady said:
Do not give out recipes for bases. That is a house policy :). As Ricky said, you are happy to sell them the finished product if it is at all possible, just make sure your margin is good.
I think the make it at home market is important. Selling pounds of coffee should be a stable source of income in a cafe. Bagged coffee customers become very loyal. I have tons of customers that while I only see them once every 2 weeks they spend more than my 3-4 time a week regular drink only customers. Find a way to fuel passion for coffee in your customers weather they want to make their drinks at home or have you craft them for them in the shop.
I have Drive Thru shops and we do sell the drip coffee only not espresso because anything else would be a space issue and drip coffee does't conflict with what we already sell because its not saught after like our specialty drinks.

Jason Shipley said:
I think the make it at home market is important. Selling pounds of coffee should be a stable source of income in a cafe. Bagged coffee customers become very loyal. I have tons of customers that while I only see them once every 2 weeks they spend more than my 3-4 time a week regular drink only customers. Find a way to fuel passion for coffee in your customers weather they want to make their drinks at home or have you craft them for them in the shop.
I tell customers just about everything if they ask. Want to know where we buy our syrups? We make them in house. What are the ingredients? Sugar, water and whatever else we add to it. Like our mocha so much that you want to make it at home? Well, we're happy to tell you about the locally sourced, grass-fed heavy cream we buy ($20 per gallon wholesale), the syrup we make in-house with evaporated sugar cane and the really amazing single-origin 70% cacao chocolate from Colombia that we buy for $55 a box (wholesale, in quantity).

Hell, we'll even tell you the ratios because you could otherwise watch us make it at the right daypart.

Truth is, we don't have "secrets." We're not trying to protect the fact that we make everything from scratch. We celebrate that fact and know that a lot of time and effort goes into making every component of our products. If you're so committed to reproducing our methods, why not? It's not easy.

Of course, I guess the game is different if you're simply buying any one of the myriad number of manufactured syrups on the market and making drinks that are kinda like everyone else's.
I agree with this a ton. Just because they have all of the ingreadients to make your drinks doesn't they theirs will taste the same. If you have really quality baristas and equipment, very few home customers will be able to replicate what your staff trains daily for. Know that by coming back to your shop they will be getting something special.

Jay Caragay said:
I tell customers just about everything if they ask. Want to know where we buy our syrups? We make them in house. What are the ingredients? Sugar, water and whatever else we add to it. Like our mocha so much that you want to make it at home? Well, we're happy to tell you about the locally sourced, grass-fed heavy cream we buy ($20 per gallon wholesale), the syrup we make in-house with evaporated sugar cane and the really amazing single-origin 70% cacao chocolate from Colombia that we buy for $55 a box (wholesale, in quantity).

Hell, we'll even tell you the ratios because you could otherwise watch us make it at the right daypart.

Truth is, we don't have "secrets." We're not trying to protect the fact that we make everything from scratch. We celebrate that fact and know that a lot of time and effort goes into making every component of our products. If you're so committed to reproducing our methods, why not? It's not easy.

Of course, I guess the game is different if you're simply buying any one of the myriad number of manufactured syrups on the market and making drinks that are kinda like everyone else's.
Chai is a great example of this. I've seen many operations that guard their chai source carefully. We brew the chai from black tea and spices and that's it. Fresh, simple, clean. No need to hide or worry about who's stealing our secret. Our secret is quality and a fanaticism towards delivering that quality. It's simple but not easy and I welcome growing the numbers of operators and baristas who embrace this approach.
I agree with Jason. Market statistics indicate that more coffee is consumed at home than away from home, by a large margin. My feeling is that if customers want to learn to make their favorite drink, then by teaching them, I am helping them develop a preference for high quality drinks. Once they have become accustomed to this quality, they are very unlikely to ever return to a lesser quality drink. In the long run, helping a customer help themselves will reap the greater reward. If you try to play coy, they might be offended and you could lose them forever.
Right on.

Jay Caragay said:
I tell customers just about everything if they ask. Want to know where we buy our syrups? We make them in house. What are the ingredients? Sugar, water and whatever else we add to it. Like our mocha so much that you want to make it at home? Well, we're happy to tell you about the locally sourced, grass-fed heavy cream we buy ($20 per gallon wholesale), the syrup we make in-house with evaporated sugar cane and the really amazing single-origin 70% cacao chocolate from Colombia that we buy for $55 a box (wholesale, in quantity).

Hell, we'll even tell you the ratios because you could otherwise watch us make it at the right daypart.

Truth is, we don't have "secrets." We're not trying to protect the fact that we make everything from scratch. We celebrate that fact and know that a lot of time and effort goes into making every component of our products. If you're so committed to reproducing our methods, why not? It's not easy.

Of course, I guess the game is different if you're simply buying any one of the myriad number of manufactured syrups on the market and making drinks that are kinda like everyone else's.
I see a couple of ways of looking at it.....you can tell them, they will attempt to make it...and probably get close over time..but not quite, they will then talk to others about it, it will become a quest for them...to figure it out..they will tell more people about how good this or that is from "your place" and how they can't quite make it as good. It almost becomes "viral" word of mouth. During the process you can sell them the products they need...at a healthy mark-up of course...and in the process, your creating a habit for them...the habit being "coming to your cafe! ". One thing to note is that we all buy things in quantity and receive price discounts for this...they will buy in retail and in the end the price will be twice as much and they had to make it themselves. In the end...they will always come back. Make your products as good as crack and they always come back!

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