I have a Cali developer that reigns over a strip mall I am located in. Although I have been in the top ten percentage of sales per square foot for years I am signing on for another 5 year hitch and I'd like (the developer would really like) to add products that work well as additional items for shoppers. Ice cream? Gelato? Fresh baked in store pastries? salad bar? Churros? What is working the best for you guys? It's a small square foot store, I currently have grilled to order pannini and soup of the day with the normal assortment of cookies, muffins juice all from outside sources.
In my experience, pastries that are baked on site always are a better selling point than pastries from somewhere else, even if that off site place has better product. Weird? You betcha. But I only say what I've experienced, mind you.
Gelato is always a good choice, and affigato's are freakin amazing during the summer, but this takes up alot of space. I would also say Naked Juice, if you can get a good deal from a distributor.
I'm a big fan of focusing on whole bean sales. I really think that this can be the most overlooked area of profits for a cafe. I heard once that 80% of coffee is drunk at home... meaning that even if they're coming in to buy a latte, they're drinking most of their coffee at home also. In this economy too, it's wise to offer the consumer a more sustainable option.
Focus on using all of your extra space on a bean shelf of pre-bagged beans. It's amazing how much a display can really change your sales.
It can be a lot up front to keep shelves stocked and coffee fresh, but you will be rewarded... I promise.
I'll second what Ben said. Note however, it wouldn't mean better, and might even mean worse margins.
And like pastries, I see customers prefer to buy whole bean from a crappy shop that roasts their own spot market beans over a good shop that sells quality coffee. Sometimes it isn't fresh and good that sells, but the perception of those things, especially in an uneducated market.
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