By Max Jenvey of Oxxygen Marketing Partnership, a strategic management agency that delivers business acceleration processes and brand development within the foodservice, bakery and convenience retail sectors

With all that wind, rain, sleet and snow it’s a miracle anyone ventured out over the holiday season, but thankfully they did and most of them were looking for winter warmers! Our colleagues from market research firm him! found that 78% of café and coffee shop customers enjoy their food in-store, spending up to 45 minutes to relax and unwind.
Knowing that customers spend a little longer in-store during the winter months, it’s important to increase their average spend. Him! said that 49% of café and coffee shop visitors would take advantage of a discounted refill; so half of your customers would potentially spend more if you combined two or more items for as little as a 10% discount off the total price.
Turn the coldest time of the year into your opportunity to sell more than the competition, with comforting winter warmers along with hot drinks. If you don’t already sell coffee, then now is the perfect time to start.
Warm up your customers with some traditional British winter warmers; popular favourites are soup and a roll, toasted sandwiches and the classic sausage roll.
Also, consider the different times of day, as it’s important to promote the right products, at the right time, in the right place. Starting with the morning, according to him!, on average people leave their homes 13 times a month without breakfast. So why not offer different toppings and fillings for croissants baked beans, cheese, bacon or sausage, for example, to improve your breakfast menu.
Regarding lunch, him! reminds us that not everyone eats between 12 and 2pm, so ideally, winter-warming lunch food should be provided between 11am and 3pm every day.
At supper time, it’s about the combination of comfort food with a healthy twist for example, vegetable hash or sticky warm flapjacks made with fresh oats and honey. Or why not capitalise on the nation’s weakness for apple and cinnamon combinations?
Start 2010 off with a bang. Review your offer now, look at what you are selling, what sells well and what opportunities exist to increase sales. This is an ideal time of year to plan ahead.