So 2010 is here, holiday time is over and no one has any money or do they? For most of us, this is a busy time of year, getting back into the swing of work, which invariably means spending less time with the ones we love. And therein lies your opportunity to capitalise on the ’power catch-up’ friends chatting over a coffee and something to eat.

Our colleagues from research firm him! say almost 50% of consumers come to a café, bakery or convenience store with a friend, date or family member (adult), whereas only 6% visit with a child or teenager. Knowing that regular customers visit on average 1.5 times per week and almost a third are attracted by money-off meal-deals, why not tempt them further with a double offer a single price for sharing breakfast, lunch or an indulgent in-between meal snack.

Him! also tell us that 88% of customers buy a hot drink when visiting bakery retail outlets. This is what is known as a ’liquid gold’ opportunity to offer an appropriate savoury, sweet pastry or cake; converting even more of your customers when they buy a hot beverage.

I was in my local deli in Hammersmith, London last week and even I was tempted by just this type of offer two pastries with coffee or tea for a discounted price. Undoubtedly, value for money is top of mind when considering this year’s shopper missions; we know that our customers are especially price-sensitive in terms of hot beverages, as 60% can tell the exact price of the hot drink they purchased, whereas only 40% remember the exact price of a sandwich (him!’s Coffee Shop Report 2009).

But because friends like to share so much, we all benefit from having meal promotions throughout different parts of the the day, such as a breakfast platter for two. As with all promotions and meal deals, it is important to communicate these with the right point-of-sale material. Almost half of our customers know exactly what type and brand or food offer they are going to buy and the 40% who don’t know before, decide in-store, as they are attracted by the promotion (him!). This is another perfect opportunity to sell, sell and sell some more, by grouping items together, luring your customers in at the door with amazing deals and trading them up with combination purchases of mouth-watering displays. Dazzle them with your offer: who can resist a slice of carrot cake so close you can almost taste it? Be proud of your offer and it will reflect in your sales and remember the mantra, make a friend, make a sale.

Good luck and let us know how you get on at