Thinking outside the croissant – a guide to making better business decisions

We have a local coffee house in our complex. They have a very pleasant staff and make decent coffee concoctions. Their downfall is that they fail to understand very simple business concepts such as inventory management. In a cafe, you have coffee drinks which require storing beans and milk which can be kept for days in a refrigerator. You can also sell cold drinks which keep well. But, pastries just don’t taste the same the second day. So, what is the solution?

What is Perishable & What is Not?
There are items such as cookies which can be stored longer than pastries. It might also be possible to buy more pastries mid-day if you prematurely ran out. Biscotties are a type of dry bread that cafe goers love that keeps forever. However, our local cafe owner employs none of these strategies. He has a huge surplus of pastries in the winter at the end of the day, and runs out at 2pm in the spring and summer. He fails to base his purchasing on sales and refuses to adjust his habits or even think about the matter. His management style is pure madness and very stubborn.

A Pastry Algorithm
I suggested to him that he create a pastry algorithm. His ordering practice would be based on a combination of how many he sold last year during the same month — but, also based on how things have been going over the last two weeks. Maybe his business picked up recently because there are more neighbors who enjoy his coffee.

What Else can he Sell?
Our local cafe could easily sell sandwiches, fruit bowls, and dinner items. People would buy them. They used to sell them and it went okay. However, if you have the same old thing all the time, people might get sick of it. It is important to have the same old things that sell like crazy, but to also have new things so that your long-term clients don’t get bored.

It’s not hard to make big money
Some cafes are always packed. They have a vibrant social scene, a great staff, and great coffee. Other cafes just don’t do as well. The consciousness of the owner has a lot to do with this as well as the overall quality of everything else. But, if you don’t think outside the box or the croissant here, you will be limiting your success. Why put a damper or lid on your potential? Try some new ideas on a small scale and see how they work. But, don’t just try the ideas, really think about them and ask your clients how they feel about your need ideas and their experience with them.

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