Thank you for your coffee, Seignor. I shall miss that when we leave Casablanca, ‘as Ingrid Bergman spoke in her hushed, husky tone making Casablanca one of the most celebrated movies in Hollywood, she also elevated that quintessential warm mug of smoking coffee to new heights. Be it falling in love over a steaming cup, or just taking an idle break and penning down words like author Ernest Hemingway often did in a pleasant and friendly café, over a café au lait, it’s always an exciting experience to just sit and laze at a café of your choice. But what about a café that brings hearts together and unites a community through love and friendship? It stands to create history for sure. Just like Arsaga’s Coffee Shop did at Fayetteville.
So in conclusion here's what made my particular first hand experience great:
Thanks to Cary & Team for a hospitable visit and best ventures into a successful 2017!
As a food merchandising consultant, last year's travels took us across the U.S. for a fun bunch of unique food industry projects but also simultaneously my entirely informal review of America's greatest coffeehouses, cafes, and espresso bars. Granted, any coffeehouse in a city I did not visit had a serious handicap in this exercise. Yet, frequent travel provides ample opportunities to sample and experience coffee in a variety of translations and retail environments. I've asked one of our writers to research and chronicle a bit more below to share in more narrative about an everyday visit to my favorite coffee experience in 2016: Arsagas Coffee:
I recently stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn. It was a fine experience, but I always take note on how the food is merchandised in the foyer / entrance way. The program was functional and operationally thought through but also visually pleasing. General decor had a fresh appearance which I'm sure actually adds to overall guest satisfaction. I would be very surprised if the group didn't have a custom scent developed for their brand as a enjoyable aroma greeted you upon entering the property.
A massed out display of happy hour beverages were housed in a built in stainless well ice bin. The under counter featured a home kitchen and marble counter top much like modern kitchen home renovations. The look made you feel at home, but also that the food and culinary offerings was better than average if you stay here!
The hotel actually charges a fee for their breakfast, but I feel they do a great job from the arrival of increasing your perception of what they may offer the following morning. My business colleague and I did purchase breakfast and I enjoyed 3 perfectly cooked poached eggs with a side of salsa for an exceptionally reasonable price. Which brings up a great point, the merchandising perceptions I encountered was delivered in the value and service and food quality of my actual meal. Many retailers and hotels try to build a wonderful environment to serve guests garbage in and make them think they got a great deal.
A small bar offering was available, but I was most impressed with the cross selling signage found throughout the entrance. This message made guests aware of a special offering of chicken wings on Wednesdays with compelling photos and clear detailed information on how to participate.
I loved these little Le Creuset dutch ovens used for candle holders. Once again they added a lovely color and a very important message: better culinary here!
A special partnership was developed with a local restaurant Bravo Italian and communicated through this nicely designed signage on the front desk. This offer featured a special discount for guests of the hotel.
Finally I was very impressed that the complimentary snacks were "home-made" by their culinary team. These in-house granola type bars were a customer recipe to enjoy with the continual coffee and water service, which also looked great by the way. Great Job Hilton Garden Inn.
It's hard not to find innovative ideas when you look closely at what other retailers are doing. In many cases...it can simply be the "Why didn't I think of that" ones that are easy to implement and quick methods to improve upon current techniques. This display below was in the free coffee sample area at Trader Joes in Ardmore, PA. Using the beans themselves as a drip plate, this method shows the culinary aspect of the hot beverage inside the pump pot.
This display discovered in the Ardmore's Farmers Market featured mini wooden 2 quart farm marketing baskets lined with burlap and filled with raw beans. The window cling signage uses great culinary imagery to demonstrate the flavorings. This strategy seems to work, as I've seen many retailers focus on the ingredients in their packaging. One great example is Hagen Daz.
This method using burlap would allow use of almost any container as seen at McCaffrey's Market in Princeton, NJ. I personally would leave out the plastic liner,or have it down deeper in the container so it's not as distracting to the product.
I loved this poster from Ikea's Food Market area upon exit of their stores. The large format culinary imagery captures attention with a pertinent display underneath.
Just a few quick ideas on how to present coffee in compelling methods. Thanks for reading.
Last Fathers Day my family took me for a meal at the regionally reknowned Terrain Cafe at Styers in Glens Mills, PA. If you've never been, imagine Williams and Sonoma meets your favorite local family owned outdoor gardening center or greenhouse. The primitive but very intentional merchandising throughout greenhouses, wandering pathways, small sheds was as interesting as it's brick an mortar counterparts owned by the parent company URBN operators of Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie. I enjoyed a local beer tasting, a summer infused culinary salsa, and honestly couldn't wait to visit again. Yesterday I stopped by to snap a few photos of the trip and wanted to share a few great display ideas for specialty foods.
Crated Local Farmstead Cheeses on living grass.
Culinary Books featuring Food Images create a bi-purposed backdrop and saleable product offering.
High-End Product offerings by Counter Culture Coffee are sold retail and by the drink on the espresso bar at the entrance to the cafe dining room (greenhouse).
Strong cross selling of catering services are shown on a miniature easel with potted small fern-like plants below. This subtle message sells the entire ideology and many services of the business in one small on-counter display.
These metal baskets were hung from the cafe counter to display artisan potato chips for easy grab and go items.
The Cafe counter-top with freshly prepared baked goods.
Culinary Papers are great culinary gift item and fill the space with color and edible ideas.
Food Merchandising Blog: Ideas & Tips to Help you Grow Your Food Market