If you have a fridge where customers can reach in a purchase bottled water, sodas, etc, which brands do you have? We currently sell Pellegrino, Fiji and Boylan's in our case but I'd like to add a juice element. As much as I love Nantucket Nectar, I was hoping there would be other cool alternatives. I would love to learn about them!


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We are located inside a YMCA, so we keep a lot of our items health-oriented.  We have milk bottles and V8 (both plain and fusion) available, but Pellegrino and Fiji may be in our future.  The V8 Fusion is delicious and sells very well, and I think it would do well in any cafe.
try mash, momma chia, alo, sambazon, tea's tea, ito en tea, black water, eternal water.
If you can find Mexican Coca Cola, that's not a bad item for those worried about accessibility. You can sell people on the nostalgia of the cane sugar formula and the 12oz bottle. Price point isn't bad either.

Also, does your area have any local specialty sodas? That's not a bad idea to stock, since chances are good that this is something that the natives grew up drinking.


In terms of juices... head over to the drink case of your closest natural food store and see what they stock. This will give you a good sense of what is available in your area and a rough retail price point. Got kinda focused in to the later responses and forgot to reply to the OP... sorry.

I go through both Coca-Cola and Odwalla for my cooler drink choices.  Coca-Cola has a nice variety of product offerings, and I sell a lot of the Honest Teas, Honest Ades, and Vitamin Waters through them.  Through Odwalla I've introduced the Simply line of juices--orange, limeade, lemonade, and raspberry lemonade, and I can't keep a big enough stock of them.  We've also started trying Zico, the coconut water that Odwalla distributes, and that's also flying off the shelves.  David, you mention a price point of $2.50--we sell our Odwallas for $2.79, Zicos for $2.49, and the Simply juices for $2.  This may be a good avenue for you.
I believe I pay 1.79 for Odwallas, but I am out of town so I can't check my invoice.  Odwalla has decreased their bottle size, which has made them able to cut their price, and therefore the retail price.  I believe Naked is still only using the larger bottle size.  When we switched over, no one noticed the smaller size and people stopped complaining about the price.

I price anything that requires labor to produce (e.g. sandwiches, salads, espresso drinks) at least 3x cost (so that cost is at most 33%) and anything that requires no labor to produce (bagels that we buy from elsewhere and just bake off here, the cakes that a local baker bakes and brings here, etc.) at 2x cost (so that cost is 50%).  Since there is no waste in cooler beverages (you're not throwing anything away at the end of the day or having to throw out bad pieces), you can afford to price them at even lower markups.  If you think about it, every cent you're charging is profit, whereas the other items you have to subtract the cost of labor and waste to get your true profit.

I would be weary of charging over $2 for any soda.  People will get angry that they're paying $2.50 for a soda, no matter how good it is.  Odwalla gets away with it because there's a perceived value added--you're getting a healthy smoothie, not a soda.

Also check out prices in your competing area.  Unlike your food or other drinks that you make yourself, which you can argue you are charging more or less because of quality differences or ingredient differences, there is absolutely no product differentiation between your Coke and their Coke--you don't want to be caught charging more for the exact same product.  Also check out your grocery store price.  Obviously people know that grocery stores are charging less than you will, but grocery store prices give people a general idea at what your costs might be--you don't want to be caught being too greedy with your markups.

I agree and disagree with you.  I agree with you that offering the DRY sodas could be a great way to differentiate yourself from your competitors and make you stand out, and drive customers to you.  But sodas are not loss leaders--they do not drive sales of higher profit margin items.  You don't want to get into a position where you're selling all DRY sodas because you've priced them at cost at the expense of the profit you could have been making by selling Cokes.  It's one thing to take a dime less per soda you sell to better your image (at 66 cent upcharge you're probably taking a 10-15 cent hit on profits you would make by selling Coke); it's another story altogether to make no money per soda you sell, especially since many of your library patrons may be buying a soda and nothing else.

I worked for DRY Soda, and I found all of their offerings to be high quality and very drinkable. I am surprised more cafes don't carry them. The health-conscious consumer is going to be attracted to the small amounts of cane sugar (vs HFCS) per bottle, and the discerning palate is going to be attracted to the clean, subtle flavors that pair with food and liquor. Oh and your flavor list forgot Juniper Berry! One of my favorites.

"As you point out, it's all profit anyway as it requires no labor."


I guess the person(s) doing the ordering, receiving the merchandise, stocking the storage room, stocking the cooler and breaking down the carton to put in the trash or bundle for recycling all work for free. Then someone has to reconcile the packing slip with the invoice and write out a check. More free labor?


Everything that happens in the shop has a cost associated with it. I would be cautious about assigning a "no labor cost" to any product.


"the oldest guy at your party"

Ron, "no labor cost" may be an exaggeration, but I think anyone reading these posts would understand that what David and I mean by that is "extremely low labor cost relative to other labor intensive items."  And perhaps sarcasm is not an appropriate tone in a discussion forum where people are trying to explore ideas and help each other out through healthy conversation.

David, As the sole person working in my shop, I understand completely about doing most everything yourself. Sometimes I wish that I had that "extra" time to work on marketing or other "more important" aspects of the business, instead of the grunt work. At some point in time, if/when the business grows to the point where you can afford staff to do this work, you will have to face the real cost (of labor).

I am a bit jealous, as I have yet to draw a salary.


Gen, I was trying to add a touch of humor to the conversation, and was not intending to be sarcastic. I apologize to all who did not understand my response as I intended. I am very big on exploring ideas and healthy conversation and try to contribute as best I can.


"the oldest guy at your party"

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