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  • #982583
    TwinkleOz
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    Hi All,

    I started my own food business selling Vietnamese take away food 5 weeks ago. It’s been a very steep learning curve.

    The bulk of my business is catered towards corporates between 12pm-2pm and between the other times, it’s pretty much dead.

    Now when my customers buy their food, there is no interest in the buying a drink with their menu! Because my joint is take away, I assume that they go back to their desks and eat it!

    The drinks I am currently stocking are soft drinks, ice tea and energy drinks. My understanding is that the corporates are big coffee drinks but when it comes to a drink with their lunch, they go without.

    I thought about doing a meal deal but I don’t think that will get them to buy a drink. Besides, my product is already cheap at “$5” so unless I do my drinks for $1… which doesn’t give me much margin!

    Any creative suggestions?

    #1137577
    JewellerTracy
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    Cathie, post: 0 wrote:
    An urn filled with green (Chinese) tea. .50c or a dollar (depending on how steep your rent is) and you can refill for free. People may even bring their own mugs, saving you the cost of cups. (Though I’ve no idea on food safety rules on this!)

    You can also ask your customers what they’d like to drink.

    This is a great idea and would definitely work for me if I was your customer. I don’t drink any soft drinks or ices teas etc, the only cold thing I drink is water, and I take my own filtered tank water to work so I never buy cold drinks. I would be one of those that buy Vietnamese for lunch (especially at $5!) and take it back to work. If I could add a nice big cup of green tea for a dollar, I would do that for sure.

    #1137578
    LucasArthur
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    TwinkleOz, post: 156853 wrote:
    Now when my customers buy their food, there is no interest in the buying a drink with their menu! Because my joint is take away, I assume that they go back to their desks and eat it!

    Hi Twinkle,

    Great query… admirable in fact as this can be the difference between owners drawing a wage or not – in some industries…

    Not that i am an expert, although may i address your actual query… Are you asking how you can entice the clients to buy drinks on their own merit when ordering a menu item from you?

    If this is the case, and excuse me if it is not, you may be tackling it incorrectly…

    My first comment would be associated with your ordering process… do they order by phone, internet or over the counter? anywhooos… however they do it you need to implement the standard process of asking “would you like a refreshing ice tea with that?” with EVERY CUSTOMER… EVERY CUSTOMER… dont be shy, dont be afraid.. just ask.. if you get 25% hit ratio that is great…

    This method will allow you to play with items, offerings etc without the production cost.. If you have staff, you have to ensure they follow this process as well with EVERY CUSTOMER… its a numbers game…

    If you want to support it with flyers, in store marketing you can and it will only assist your campaign..

    This whole movement is to inspire your customer to ‘think’ about something different, not to sell them.. Because it sounds like they were not thinking they wanted a drink, so you need to encourage that thought process..

    This may sound familiar.. Mr Ray Kroc started a company a few years back that uses this to its maximum effect… have you heard it before? “Would you like fries with that?”.. must say, pretty impressive campaign…

    All the best, look forward to reading more input and ideas…

    Cheers
    Jason

    Jason Ramage | Lucas Arthur Pty Ltd | E: [email protected]   P: 61 3 8324 0344    M: 61 412 244 888
    #1137579
    Shaukat Adam Khalid
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    Try advertising everything as a combo meal so a drink with meal purchase appears to be the standard. Charge a higher price e.g $6.50 or $7.

    Have a small, ordinary sign (not at eye level) offering the $5 meal u usually offer.

    Your price seems too low to be honest and therefore, you may be attracting the cheapies so you need to establish your customer profile first and see if they have money to spend.

    Also, stop thinking about what you want your customers to do and start listening to what they want.

    Give them what they want (not need) or they will gladly give their money to a competitor who understands their preference.

    Sales / Marketing is more about consumer psychology than creativity.

    #1137580
    Warren Cottis
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    Howdy

    I’m going way different to previous replies Twinkle… you need to think bigger picture and it’s a real pity that you didn’t fill in your profile so we know more about you… to tailor suggestions better

    ok… Twinkle… let’s make the biggest assumption: Your food (product) is good.

    Next and understandably… your 12 – 2 customers are price sensitive and in a rush… I hope they take it back to their office.

    Regardless… consider this if your food is damn good !!

    For however many customers you have per week, buy four times the number of super super cheap business size cards.

    Include a card with every purchase for four weeks.

    Craft a yada yada message on the card like… if you like Esteemed Grandmother Twinkle’s Four Generation Recipe we have… (special deal… go to…)

    Push to capture some information about them particularly their email address… if you are successful you could start emailing them in the morning telling them what your selections are for lunch… if they are time poor they could book a collection time… if you are saving busy execs precious time and delivering great food you might just be able to increase your prices.

    You think you’re in the food business right now but I think you might be in the traffic business.

    #1137581
    TwinkleOz
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    Howdy All!

    Thanks for your inspiring thoughts so far!!!!

    When I do serve my customers, I “sometimes” ask them if they are after a drink.

    My prices are around the $5 mark so doing a meal deal combo, would be cutting into my profits. I want to build a reputation for my food not necessarily prices.

    I was thinking of doing $1 water with purchase of anything on the menu.

    Also, I do have POS in my store and I have a loyalty program and being 5 weeks into business, my repeat business is at least 80-90% but I need more customers and higher transactions.

    #1137582
    spinninghill
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    The green Tea idea is a must I think. Nice idea.

    I have never worked in retail. But I know as a consumer it annoys me if I get a good deal for food only for the drinks to be a rip off. Again, I have no idea these days what you can get soft drinks, juices etc for wholesale.

    Again being a bit different to others, why not consider selling drinks for a profitable (but low markup) price. You could become known as the Great food, cheap drinks place and have people coming from 3 blocks away to get their lunch from you. It would be an office talking point amongst colleagues I would think..

    Just some Vietnamese food for thought

    #1137583
    spinninghill
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    Oh, and again, maybe a risk, but consider doing breakfast items such as coffee and other relevant food items in the mornings – if you’re open anyways.. I’d seek advice from others as to whether this would work…

    #1137584
    SuzsSpace
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    How do you reward your repeat customers?

    You could collect names and addresses and send them cards. It’s the opportune time to join Send Out Cards as a customer and send them postcards celebrating their time with you, their birthday, anniversary or whatever you want to celebrate.

    The first time you use it could be to remind your customers about buying drinks with their food. If you want to push the water just remind them you need eight glasses every day and one of those could be bought from you.

    PM me if you’re interested in Send Out Cards.

    #1137585
    James
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    Outside of the large fast food chains I imagine the rates of drink purchases are pretty poor.

    They have success through making the ‘meal’ seem like the better value option. To do that you almost have to up the pricing of your food to $6, and then make a ‘meal’ price of $7 including a drink. Clearly price your drinks at $2.50, and then the human mind sees the $1.50 discount and bites.

    Otherwise I can think of a number of reasons why the professional market don’t buy drinks:

    • Most are conscious of their health and steer clear of unhealthy drinks.
    • Those who do enjoy soft drinks have strong preferences and brand loyalty, and likely buy in bulk. There is no difference in the product they can purchase at the store or from you.
    • Companies may already provide drink fridges in the office.

    You need to provide something different and healthy, without being so weird as to put people off. Homemade lemonade or tea as suggested are some good options.

    Finally, I don’t know the statistics but it makes sense to me that drinks would sell better with a sit down meal. Do you have seating available? Put plenty of salt in your meals and you will have people begging for drinks ;)

    #1137586
    LucasArthur
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    Wow, what a great thread.. have followed from the start..

    There are so many reasons why people do and do not buy drinks and as you are (or this query) sits in the FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) area its really hard to give ‘perfect’ feedback as there are so many things that can affect the outcome of what you are endeavoring to achieve…

    Firstly, there is a true psychological input into what drives some behaviors with consumers in this space. Things such as:
    a. Position of fridge
    b. Layout of fridge
    c. Doors on fridge or not
    d. etc etc…

    In the FMCG field it is a known fact that if its an open air cooler fridge your sales lift approx 17% with traffic flow (slightly older statistic though)… If you have your items stocked effectively (not an empty shelf or fridge) and it looks full, bottles facing forward with labels and merchandised properly your sales can improve some 50%… Basically both really come down to effective POS and merchandising – along with keeping stuff CLEAN and COLD…

    It would be nice to know what fridge you have at present, if its cold, if its serviced, where it sits in your premise, if its stocked, has effective racking etc etc etc.. all this assists in the sale…

    I do like James’ salt suggestion, although you dont want to send people away with ‘bad’ food as they may not return…

    The comment about seating or not, tends to not have much bearing on the sale of beverages… its about how its marketed and delivered to them…

    An example… i frequent 2 fish and chip shops, friday routine for the kids..

    Shop A.
    Is run by a foreign family who are lovely, make decent food and are pleasant.. Although i DO NOT BUY SOFT DRINKS from them even if i need them. in fact, i stop at the local Milk Bar before coming home after i get the chips if i need a drink..

    WHY?
    Because they have an older fridge (self owned), is normally empty, drinks are out of date sometimes, clearly are stocked from supermarket stock (cans mainly) which does not provide me ANY CONFIDENCE to buy from them.. also there is no offer of discount for meal and drink..Although the milk bar, on the other hand, offers a deal if i buy 2 1.25 drinks.. go figure!

    Shop B.
    Older shop, older couple who make nice food… hamburgers are home made etc.. fridge is at the door as you enter (unusual configuration as normally at rear of ship to get traffic flow) and it is will lit, clean, stocked well with bottles and cans etc etc… AND ALWAYS COLD… and fresh stock… also a good variety of items to chose from should i have a different quench (such as creamy soda) for the night….

    So whenever i buy chips from here, they always ask if i want a drink and i tend to take them up on it.. pay before food ready and walk out door with drink…

    Also, on James’ comment re pricing.. oh boy,, small business owners bleed profit if trying to compete with large firms.. an example is those companies that run international contracts with Coca Cola (there are 3 or 4 that i am aware of) get up to and sometimes exceed a 50% discount on popular lines such as 600PET Buddy bottles of Coca Cola and similar products.. unheard of in the private sector, actually 15% used to be the most for private guys and i hear a lot of that is being removed as well…. So i feel for you on that… lots of smaller business substitute offerings with cans as they can buy them for $0.50 – $0.60 cents compared with $$2 or so for a bottle… easier to include or markup on a product combo..

    Something not mentioned… If you are considering a fridge from a beverage company (coke or schweppes), may get them in.. the market research they have available to them is extra-ordinary and you will benefit just by sitting with a rep should you ask the correct questions and are prepared for the meet.. Put the rep on the spot and ask “how can you support me” with increasing my beverage sales.. they have a direct benefit in assisting you grow this area of your business… although they may want blood!!!! be wary, get info..

    The journey can be long, but is certainly profitable when it comes to beverages :)

    Cheers
    Jason

    Jason Ramage | Lucas Arthur Pty Ltd | E: [email protected]   P: 61 3 8324 0344    M: 61 412 244 888
    #1137587
    TwinkleOz
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    HI Again!

    Great ideas!!!

    I have a loyalty card which has about 80-90% repeat customers. While this is great, I need to increase the customer spend and more customers! Unfortunately my window of opportunity is only 2.5 hours of the day.

    I am open to catering and have that advertised on the shop window….

    I’ve been trying a lot of new things in the meantime… changing to better ingredients limited edition food items… so far, it’s not improving sales too much (mind you, Sydney had a couple of days of rain and we are entering school holiday period!)

    RE: Coffee…. I thought about doing that (and the previous owners did this) but I want to focus on my core product. Also, I offer fresh juice and yoghurt (which the previous owner sold) but I don’t make much money form it…. might delete this off my menu!

    #1137588
    Sign Here Graphix
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    Congrats to simply replica to getting to it before me, but my first question was going to be….where is your fridge located in relation to the customers?

    I always thought they were traditionally put at the back of the shop to stop the quick snatch and grab, but I like the thought of it near the door so it is a convenience as customers are on their way out.

    I wouldn’t ask if they would like to buy a drink, but infer they are going to take one anyway.

    “Grabbing something from the fridge on your way out?”

    On a warm day especially sounds to good to refuse.

    If you stock your fridge with standard type drinks (375ml cans only or 600ml bottles only) then it isn’t going to matter what they take, you can do a quick stock take at the end of each day to see which ones are the most popular and start stocking your fridge accordingly.

    #1137589
    TwinkleOz
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    James Rayers, post: 156986 wrote:
    Outside of the large fast food chains I imagine the rates of drink purchases are pretty poor.

    They have success through making the ‘meal’ seem like the better value option. To do that you almost have to up the pricing of your food to $6, and then make a ‘meal’ price of $7 including a drink. Clearly price your drinks at $2.50, and then the human mind sees the $1.50 discount and bites.

    Otherwise I can think of a number of reasons why the professional market don’t buy drinks:

    • Most are conscious of their health and steer clear of unhealthy drinks.
    • Those who do enjoy soft drinks have strong preferences and brand loyalty, and likely buy in bulk. There is no difference in the product they can purchase at the store or from you.
    • Companies may already provide drink fridges in the office.

    You need to provide something different and healthy, without being so weird as to put people off. Homemade lemonade or tea as suggested are some good options.

    Finally, I don’t know the statistics but it makes sense to me that drinks would sell better with a sit down meal. Do you have seating available? Put plenty of salt in your meals and you will have people begging for drinks ;)

    Heya all… today was the first day I sold $1 water and 375ml soft drinks. It seems to have worked…. will keep you posted. It’s obvious that my target audience is very price sensitive. The $1 drink deal is with any food purchase so I am not completely looking desperate to make a dollar! :)

    #1137590
    martin.firth
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    They go back to their office and buy drinks from their vending machines which are cheaper, colder, and they haven’t had to carry them.

    You need to start offering drinks they can’t get anywhere else. Find some traditional Vietnamese drinks you can produce in house and sell in cups, and tell people they suit particular meals.

    OR

    Raise the price of your food slightly, and offer them a ‘meal’ deal which includes a drink with the food at it’s regular price. People will be the drinks if there’s an illusion of value.

    Hope I’ve helped :)

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