Anyone out there working for a shop or own one that uses Whole Milk Only and Soy as their milk options?  We are getting ready to start a shop and want to only offer these two as our milk choices but don't know what kind of draw back we will get from people who want a "skinny" option.  Just FYI, our largest latte size will be 12oz. so it's not a whole lot of milk to begin with.  

 

Any thoughts on this?

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In the context of the current discussion, the shop is new, there are going to be a lot of people trying out the place for the first time, and the goal is to capture customers.  Not having skim milk or an item that is considered relatively standard in a coffee shop is a mistake in my opinion.  Those customers aren't going to come back hoping there is skim milk the next time, thus I believe adding such an item is harder than removing an item.

 

I think dropping products is easy because, as stated, it's probably not being purchased.  Also, if a regular customer is buying it, I already have them and I can convert them to something else.

Brady said:

I couldn't disagree more with this statement.

 

Yes, not having something may lead you to not capture "potentially regular" customers on their first visit. However taking something you currently offer away, unless its something that absolutely nobody is buying, will make at least some of your existing regular customers mad - customers that have chosen you as "their" shop.

 

Have you found dropping products to be especially easy?


Dan Gorder said:

Oh... much easier to take away than to add later...

Please clarify... is it that you think dropping products is easy, or has it been your experience that dropping products is easy?

 

Keeping in mind that the context of this discussion is skim milk, what would you convert these customers that you "have" to in its place? Also with skim milk being the product we are discussing, we all know that there will be customers that are buying it.

 

My thoughts on this are that I agree that not offering skim will cause you to miss out on a significant number of sales. However, if skim is a product that the OP doesn't believe in offering, it makes no sense to open while offering it then remove if from the menu later. He'll be stuck with this on his menu. Better to go in with your concept in full bloom.


Dan Gorder said:

...I think dropping products is easy because, as stated, it's probably not being purchased.  Also, if a regular customer is buying it, I already have them and I can convert them to something else.


Brady said:

I couldn't disagree more with this statement.

 

Yes, not having something may lead you to not capture "potentially regular" customers on their first visit. However taking something you currently offer away, unless its something that absolutely nobody is buying, will make at least some of your existing regular customers mad - customers that have chosen you as "their" shop.

 

Have you found dropping products to be especially easy?


Dan Gorder said:

Oh... much easier to take away than to add later...

When I said it was easier to drop an item than to add, I guess I was thinking more in the larger sense of what is being offered.  A lot of independents start out looking to offer the best coffee around, really focusing on service, implementing their "vision" of what coffee should be, yadda, yadda... the reality is that these places rarely survive.  It can be done, and I know it can, but responses on this board are obviously skewed because the failures aren't the people posting.  For an independent that finds out that focusing on just coffee hasn't worked and they try to add food, ice cream, roasting or something else to increase sales... adding that is hard.  I've had no problems dropping a low selling item off of the menu when it is a particular specialty drink, or flavor, or food item.

 

As for skim milk, to me that is a fundamental staple in a coffeeshop environment and I would never attempt to drop it, but that's because I think it's a mistake not to offer it in the first place.

 

However, I am in a suburban, commuter, family neighborhood location.  My shop is about finding out what the customer wants and giving it to them, not telling the customer what they should want and then trying change their "Starbucks" mindset.  Good or bad, that's where my perspective comes from.  My advice for startups will always center on creating the best chance to survive and that advice is based strictly on $.  If someone has a vision and the drive and the patience to make a difference in coffee or to educate & to convert their customers to a higher coffee consciousness... more power to them.  I don't have that dedication... and I am not in a location to try it.


Brady said:

Please clarify... is it that you think dropping products is easy, or has it been your experience that dropping products is easy?

 

Keeping in mind that the context of this discussion is skim milk, what would you convert these customers that you "have" to in its place? Also with skim milk being the product we are discussing, we all know that there will be customers that are buying it.

 

My thoughts on this are that I agree that not offering skim will cause you to miss out on a significant number of sales. However, if skim is a product that the OP doesn't believe in offering, it makes no sense to open while offering it then remove if from the menu later. He'll be stuck with this on his menu. Better to go in with your concept in full bloom.


Dan Gorder said:

...I think dropping products is easy because, as stated, it's probably not being purchased.  Also, if a regular customer is buying it, I already have them and I can convert them to something else.


Brady said:

I couldn't disagree more with this statement.

 

Yes, not having something may lead you to not capture "potentially regular" customers on their first visit. However taking something you currently offer away, unless its something that absolutely nobody is buying, will make at least some of your existing regular customers mad - customers that have chosen you as "their" shop.

 

Have you found dropping products to be especially easy?


Dan Gorder said:

Oh... much easier to take away than to add later...

We've decided now that we are going to offer 1% as well as our skim option.  Good compromise I think.

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