Your Christmas inspiration: Top tips & ideas for transforming your café this festive season
Love it or hate it, Christmas is a crucial time for any coffee business. With the promise of new seasonal hot drinks & welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of busy highstreets, it’s fair to say many people seek refuge in their favourite warm & cosy coffee shop.
There are many ways in which cafes can transform themselves into destination venues for those looking for something a little extra special around the holidays. In enhancing brand experiences, coffee businesses will not only set themselves apart from competitors but increase sales potential.
Visitors to their venue are also more likely to return throughout the season and share their experiences with others through social media & word of mouth.
1. Bake the season bright.
Festively themed baked goods will help add to the appeal of your cafe business during the holiday season & make great impulse buy options. These can also form part of a perfect gift basket offering - we’re loving these adorable Christmas gingerbread bears from Espresso Warehouse (pictured below).
Is your café renowned for home-baking? Why not host a Christmas baking masterclass where customers can learn how to make some seasonal treats of their own? This could be for adults, kids or families – a great way of engaging locals over the holiday season and bringing in new potential customers through the creation of a unique and memorable experience.
2. Brew Christmas.
The seasonal aromas of gingerbread, cinnamon and orange greet you upon entering your local coffee shop – one of the first signs for many that the festive season has begun. It is fair to say that the ongoing popularity of Winter coffee menus are a trend that’s here to stay - no longer a novelty but consumer expectation.
While traditional festive hot drinks such the salted caramel and gingerbread latte have become staple Winter menu items year-on-year, new recipes and drink trends offer further opportunity for coffee businesses to excite and entice customers during the holiday season. Our firm favourites this year are the Golden Turmeric Latte & the indulgent Toasted Mallow Hot Chocolate (recipes & ingredients here).
However, some extra attention to core menu items can make all the difference too – why not practise some festive latte art? Our Instagram is full of inspiration. Or for cappuccinos, a simple festive drinks stencil & sprinkle of chocolate powder can also do the trick!
3. Present with festive flare.
Making changes to the way drinks are presented over the festive season can also help businesses stand out from the crowd, with many cafes now opting to buy seasonal Christmas takeaway cups.
However, many consumers will be looking to buy festive, reusable coffee cups for Christmas too. Therefore, businesses must ensure they are catering to the more discerning, eco conscious consumer as well. Stack shelves high with retail offerings to promote seasonal gift sales!
Did you know that many retailers last year reported record sales growth of up to 537% for reusable coffee cups? (Source)
4. Deck the halls.
Adding some festive touches to a café’s décor can greatly enhance a customer’s in-store experience. Investing in a few, tasteful decorations are guaranteed to add to the feel-good factor experienced by every visitor to your business during the holiday season.
Check out our customer Union Street Kitchen in Pocklington’s festively decorated café below. With warm glowing lights, starry fixtures as well as beautiful wicker reindeer and hanging wreath - it's the perfect wonderland.
Don’t forget to extend these efforts onto your business’s website & social media presence too!
Looking to do something a little different to further engage with your employees around Christmas? Why not have a team building evening where employees can eat, drink and be merry whilst creating their own personalised café/tree decorations? Your customers are sure to appreciate these personal touches to decor.
5. 'Tis the season for giving.
The holiday season is the perfect time to reward your most loyal customers and show them your appreciation. You don’t need to splash out, small gestures of good will or acts of kindness can really make a lasting impression & strengthen brand loyalty – crucial in a competitive coffee market.
Although these gestures should always be personal and tailored to the recipient, here are a few ideas to inspire (we'd love to hear your ideas in the comment section too!):
• Give personal, handwritten holiday cards to your most loyal customers.
• Let the first young visitor of the day open your café’s advent calendar.
• Offer double reward points or free add-ons for loyalty card holders.
• Write more personal notes on takeaway cups e.g. ‘Have a wonderful Christmas’.
Don’t forget to also engage customers online, why not host a social media competition? Launching a ‘12 days of Christmas’ giveaway campaign is the perfect way to grow your online audience whilst spreading some festive cheer.
Did you know 63% of Facebook users say they are likely to share a link to a holiday contest or giveaway? (source)
6. Peace & goodwill to all.
Businesses can be charitable in many ways over the festive period, it doesn’t always have to be monetary. Why not partner with another local business to host a food or toy drive for those less fortunate or volunteer with a charity?
Partnering with other businesses will allow you to maximise the success of your charitable efforts whilst also strengthening your relationships within your local community – it’s a win/win for everybody involved.
Not sure where to start? A quick Google search for ‘volunteering in (city/town)’ will be sure to point you in the right direction.
Got tips of your own?
We'd love to hear them - leave a comment below!
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