1. DIS-LOYALTY CARDS — World barista champion Gwilym Davies produced a different take on the promotional coffee shop loyalty card. The Dis-Loyalty Card features a selection of quality coffee places around east London that customers are encouraged to visit to expand their coffee experience. Once a they've visited all eight spots, they can redeem a free coffee back at Davies's own coffee bar (located in a men's clothing shop). The idea has since spread to coffee bars in Seattle and Toronto.
I think this is maybe the kind of thing that the independents could use to bolster sales and loyalty to unique shops as well as your own shops. What do you think? Coluld be used as a bit of an alliance idea with local roasters or shops.Working together can have it's advantages.
In putting together our marketing plan for when we finally do open, I've considered a similar thing - only with a twist. Bring in a medium drink from another coffee shop in town and we'll make you the same drink. You compare the two right there on the spot. Tell us which one is better. If theirs is better, the drink is free.
Obviously, there are some logistical issues to overcome here (limiting the drinks for comparison, making sure people don't do the comparison every day just to get 2 lattes), but I think it could work. There are only 2 other shops in town and they are both big chain stores.
My other thought is to give our employees a monthly allowance to visit other shops - reimburse them for visits to other shops and have them report back what they liked/disliked about the other locations.