4 Ways To Increase Your Café’s Performance DESPITE Rising Coffee Price

To the people in coffee, the ever-changing commodity price of coffee is an ever present tide of challenge and reward. As a roaster, even a couple of USD cents per pound makes a mammoth difference to our bottom line. In the last couple of mouths, shipping strikes and multiple weather phenomenon have caused the C-price to spike to over $2 (USD_ per pound from its original average of $0.9 (USD) per pound. However, there is an overriding positive that comes from any rise in C-price: Coffee farmers, both in and out of poverty, get paid more for their beans, suffer less, and enjoy better lifestyles. The other positive is that you don’t have to panic!

There are plenty of effective long-term strategies that cafés can implement not only to sustain but to improve their profitability, despite the inevitable increase in coffee commodity price.


1.Partner with a coffee roaster who will not compromise on flavour

Just because the dine-in experience is making a come back, doesn’t mean your customers are going to stop caring about how their coffee tastes. With the rise of the coffee price many cafés are under threat of losing valuable customers as the quality of their coffee flavour drops. The threat comes from many coffee roasters looking for a solution to sustain their profits despite and increase in COG. Unfortunately, that solution for some roasters has been to source lower quality green beans at a lower price thus sustaining margins. Disconcerting café owners may not even notice, but their customers will. At Zest lowering quality was never an option for us. Together we and our café clients have agreed to pay more for good coffee because to us and to our Zest coffee lovers out there: IT IS WORTH IT!

Now here’s the crazy part. Quality hasn’t suffered in our Zest community, and neither have our café’s profits! By working closely with our café partners, we have shown a way where they too can raise their prices just by a couple of cents, 20c per cup at most, to cover for the added cost of their roasted coffee beans. No surprises that a of couple cents per cup to cover a couple of cents per kilo of beans has resulted in an even larger profit margin for our cafés!

Interested in levelling up your coffee game? No quality compromises with zest! Find out more HERE


2.Put your café’s word-of-mouth on steroids

There is nothing like increasing your customer base put your profits back on the rise. To fight back those lost profits, it’s time to think seriously about your online presence, in particular social media. We’re not just talking about cute daily posts about ‘rising and shining’, by all means do this, but to truly grow you need to start working with the ‘kings and queens’ of social media: influencers. Think of them as word-of-mouth on steriods. A quick ‘foodies Melbourne’ search into Instagram Explorer will put you directly in touch with the people you need to sing your praises. Look for someone with 50,000+ followers, scan a couple of their posts, see how many likes they are getting, see how many comments. 2000 likes a post for someone with this kind of following is a good sign. Many of these influencers are putting energy into hunting down their next topic, so make their life easy by approaching them and inviting them over to your café. Some influencers will charge a small fee of $300-$500 per post, or some will post in exchange for a free meal. Now there’s no set amount of IG likes that will guarantee you a sale, but in an age where attention is the scarcest currency, this is exactly what you want.


3.Get your www. working like a weapon!

It’s frightening how many cafés still don’t have a website. Websites are your chance to throw a bit of your flare and branding online, not to mention give prospective diners that all important sense of credibility and the assurance that this is going to be a good experience for them. In order to drive online sales and boost your awesome new menu ideas, you’ll need to ensure online ordering is the first thing your customers find when visiting your website. Use deals and discounts to encourage online ordering through your website. This way you avoid the fees that come with using third party delivery providers. Turn your menu into a marketing tool by making it searchable. According to bizjournals.com, 49% of people begin searching for food online without a specific business name in mind. So, when someone types in ‘Best almond lattein Melbourne’, you want your menu of unique mylk options to be the first to pop up on that search. Make sure to keep it current and fresh in order to attract return customers with fun new menu additions. Finally make sure your menu (and website) is mobile friendly.

Use every interaction to remind your customers that you and your team have embraced a new level of cleanliness and are sympathetic with their situation. Customise your receipt and website messages to speak directly to your customers’ current concerns, update your phone answering machine message and hold message.


4.It’s time to save time – Your time and your customer’s time

Go paperless:

If we asked you ‘why did you get into the café biz?’ we’re pretty sure your answer isn’t going to be: ‘to be an accountant, admin and HR manager’. Yet this is the reality for many café owners, who aren’t taking the time to analyse their systems and processes and uncover the many blemishes of ineffectiveness. For example, does your accounting system still involve paper? That’s time at the printer, time sifting papers, time looking for papers you can’t find. It’s time then, to get online and get with an efficient accounting software. Talking with numerous café owners has led us to this industry leading accounting software Xero. Cloud based, with over 1,000,000 users, Xero is unmatched for its ease of use and beautiful layout. Follow these links to find out more.

Beyond crunching the numbers, Xero can also help you with your staff rostering, with the ever-evident reality of a diverse workforce, full time, part time etc, your payroll is going to need more than an excel spread sheet and a plastic binder folder. One app that integrates with Xero beautifully is Deputy. Deputy lets you roster all your staff, reduces data entry with the Xero integration and manages employee attendance.

Document your procedures:

Staff turnover is a very real challenge in the café game. Documenting your procedures will reduce the amount of time you and your experienced team spend training the ‘newbie’ and increase your customers experience at the same time. Here are some main areas to focus on in terms of tidying up those procedures:

Standardise Production – This is where you go nitty gritty, from number of seconds your barista should flush the group head between shots, to how often the waiting staff should scout the dining area to refill table water.

Keeping it consistent – You hire humans, everyone is unique. Embrace that, but not without implanting your brand of image and behaviour into their time in your café. Customers come back when the experience is good and when it stays good. Keep it consistent.

Reducing Guesswork – Think to the most common questions you get called up about? Is it who to call when the coffee machine makes a weird noise? Brainstorm past issues and write down the action plan for each.

All time saved is also money saved. Now more than ever, Coffeekind needs to think about reducing costs in order to sustain profits, freeing up physical time and mental headspace with these simple software implementations will allow you the proper mindset to tackle the next challenge.

While we’re humble enough to admit that these ideas aren’t revolutionary, they could very well be for your café’s success! The point we wish to drum home here is that while the C-price will always play its part on our livelihoods there are so many areas where we can make improvements and fight back those lost profits, if only we take a breath and find out how. Our message to cafés out there is that we’ve got your back, and that no matter what quality coffee will always be our number one priority. We’ve pulled through some incredibly tough times and we hope that these ideas will help you rise above any price increases in coffee, and give you the peace of mind that your success is in your hands.