Since the inception of coffee shops, they have been centers associated with community gatherings. Although coffee shop events are no longer as popular as they used to be when the first coffee houses came on the scene, they are a fantastic way to create awareness about your business. You’d be amazed at how many people visit a coffee shop for the first time because of an event that is being held there.
You can host charity events, seasonal events, or encourage local organizations to have their events at your shop. Whether you will be organizing the coffee shop event yourself, or opening up your space to other people for their events, coffee shop events don’t have to be expensive or time-consuming. Here are nine (9) ideas for coffee shop events.
- Craft events for kids
- Open mic nights
- Fun game nights and contests
- Host coffee championships
- Coffee shop classes
- Free cuppings and public discussions
- Coffee cocktails
- Film showings
Craft events for kids.
Parents usually look for activities they can occupy their children with, especially during holidays. Organizing a craft event and having parents bring their kids along can be a good way to endear your community to your coffee shop.
If you want to avoid buying too many materials and save money, have the kids make objects out of regular coffee shop materials like cartons, stirring sticks, paper coffee cups and lids, etc. For instance, they can make trains out of cartons or draw faces with colorful markers on coffee cup lids. While they are at it, you may decide to offer their parents or guardians coffee drinks at a discount.
Open mic nights.
Open mic nights are known to attract people of different ages and backgrounds. Therefore, it can be an effective way to publicize your coffee shop. You can either make it a combination of music, comedy and/or poetry or make it a specific type of open mic event.
Before organizing an open mic event make sure you do your research. Find out which events are popular in your community. You can either organize one of these or a combination of two or more. Get somebody who can relate well with the audience to anchor the event.
Make the audience pay for a ticket fee or buy a minimum number of drinks. You can make each ticket come with a discount for their next visit to your coffee shop. This way, you can know how many customers you attracted through the open mic night.
Fun game nights and contests.
If you don’t already do this at your coffee shop, you can organize a game night or other contest. Board and card games are popular with coffee shops. They provide a fun and interactive atmosphere to the customers and a general sense of community. Events like these also encourage people to bring their families and friends along. Consider asking people to bring their own games along to increase the collection of games that will be available. You can give discounts or offer a special type of coffee to encourage your customers to buy drinks as they play.
Social media contests are also a good way to engage your online audience. They easily go viral especially if the prize to be won is appealing enough. Facebook and Instagram are the platforms commonly used for contests. This is because of the high number of users they have. If your goal is to get people to come to your coffee shop, your prize can be a voucher with which the winner and a specified number of friends can get free drinks at your coffee shop, for example.
Game nights and contests can help you increase foot traffic and get you new customers.
Host coffee championships.
Drinking coffee has become a tradition that is internationally recognized. As a result, there are days to celebrate coffee consumption in one way or the other. Examples are the National Coffee Day in the US and the International Coffee Day. Across the world, different events are organized to mark these days. You can host championships in your community to mark any of these days. It could be baristas championships, latte art competitions or coffee roasting championships.
You can ask for collaborations from other businesses in your community to host these events. Hosting these events will bring publicity to your coffee shop and has the potential of increasing your customer base.
Coffee shop classes.
Most people want to know how to brew better coffee at home. Therefore, a free coffee brewing class is a good attraction for customers. You may be thinking that by teaching coffee making to people, you will be working against your goal of attracting more customers to your coffee shop. You don’t have to give out all your coffee secrets. Consider giving a few tips and tricks that your customers will find useful.
A free coffee shop class can serve as a major attraction for coffee lovers. It’ll also endear your brand to them.
Free cuppings and public discussions.
Coffee cupping, also known as tasting is a great way for your customers to meet other coffee lovers. They also get to learn about coffee and sample the different types of coffee you offer. You can organize free coffee cuppings every time you get a new batch of coffee beans. While this serves a nice event for coffee lovers, it also serves as a way to get feedback from your customers about your coffee.
You can also make the event open for public discussions among attendees. Ask for feedback on your menu items and what they would like you to improve on.
Here are some ideas on unique foods you can offer at your coffee shop.
The increasing popularity of Ready to Drink (RTD) alcoholic coffee, is an indication that people don’t mind mixing both drinks and enjoying them together. Consider organizing a coffee cocktail at your coffee shop. The cocktail can be accompanied with music and dancing. You can make cocktail recipes with the coffee you already serve.
Require people to buy tickets to the event. You can provide an incentive such as a gift card for free coffee with their partner at your shop for the first five of ten people to buy tickets.
You can host film shows at your coffee shop on some evenings. The film may be a documentary based on a social issue or a historical one. It can also be an entertaining movie. Make sure to get the appropriate licenses or permissions before showing a film at your coffee shop.
Give room for discussions at the end of the film showings. This will give the attendees a sense of community as they talk about subjects ranging from politics to lifestyle, community projects, etc.
If your coffee shop is targeted at entrepreneurs or career people, you can invite resource persons in the community to speak at a workshop for the specific group you are targeting. If it’s too much trouble to organize workshops by yourself, encourage local organizations who organize events like these to use your coffee shop as the venue.
At these events, you also get to sell your products and bring some publicity to your brand- especially since the event will be advertised.
Organizing and hosting coffee shop events is an excellent way to increase footfall at your coffee shop. It also helps build a community of coffee lovers at your business. Organize one or more of these events on a periodic basis to ensure consistent results. Be sure to do your research to know what events appeal to your community before deciding on which one(s) to go for.
Frequently Asked Questions
After you have decided on a coffee shop event, pick a date, time, and venue for the event. All your publicity materials should have this information clearly stated. Whichever means of publicity you employ, start with the headline e.g. Open Mic Night.
Flyers are always handy and can be placed on tables or service counters so that customers can see them easily. You can also hang banners or posters inside or outside your shop and at any business that will allow. Use social media to get traction for your event. Put up posts regularly in the days that lead up to your event. This can get the attention of people who have never visited your business. You can also use word-of-mouth advertising by having your employees tell customers about the event while they wait for their order.
Before deciding on an event to organize, consider the size of your coffee shop. If you must organize an event in an outdoor location or another building, make sure to put up signs like posters, banners, etc. that indicate that the event is hosted by your business. You can also use branded items like cups, paper bags, etc.
Collaborations are another way to tackle the issue of small space at your coffee shop. Look for other local businesses that are willing to partner with you to organize an event. They can make their space available while you provide the beverage.
Please note: This blog post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please consult a legal expert to address your specific needs.
Hi! I’m Shawn Chun
My adventure in coffee began when I first launched my first coffee shop back in the early 2000s. I had to figure out so many things on my own and to make it worse within 2 years of opening two large corporate coffee chains moved in just blocks away from me!
As I saw smaller and even some larger coffee shops in the neighborhood slowly lose customers to these giant coffee chains and slowly close up shop, I knew that I had to start getting creative…or go out of business.
I (like you may be) knew the coffee industry well. I could make the best latte art around and the foam on my caps was the fluffiest you have ever seen. I even had the best state-of-the-art 2 group digital Nuova Simonelli machine money could buy. But I knew that these things alone would not be enough to lure customers away from the name brand established coffee shops.
Eventually, through lots of trial and error as well as perseverance and creativity I did find a way to not only survive but also thrive in the coffee/espresso industry even while those corporate coffee chains stayed put. During those years I learned to adapt and always faced new challenges. It was not always easy, however, in the end, I was the sole survivor independent coffee shop within a 10-mile radius of my location. Just two corporate coffee chains and I were left after that year. All told the corporate coffee chains took down over 15 small independent coffee shops and kiosks and I was the last one standing and thriving.
Along the years I meet others with the same passion for coffee and I quickly learned that it is not only “how good a barista is” that makes a coffee shop successful, but the business side of coffee as well.
Hence why I started this website you are on now. To provide the tools and resources for up and coming coffee shop owners to gain that vital insight and knowledge on how to start a coffee shop successfully.
Stick around, browse through my helpful blog and resources and enjoy your stay! With lots of LATTE LOVE!