Make no mistake about it, the food and beverage industry is tough. How tough? Very. We’re talking about an industry where it is so cutthroat, that failure rates fluctuate around the 50% within the first five years. If you’re thinking of putting up a restaurant or coffee shop, you better have a crap load of capital to make it through the dry months/years or else you’ll be eating more ramen than a college freshman. Sadly, this is the reality that many food and beverage businesses have to contend with.
Given how rough things can be for food businesses, I gotta give it up to the owners of the New South Wales Australia coffee shop, Seven Mile Beach Kiosk, for their marketing and promotions work. In this day and age, I don’t care how much chicken is in your chicken fingers or whether your milkshake is gluten free, if no one has heard of you business, chances are, you’ll probably be going belly up pretty soon.
Hence, the owners of the Seven Mile Beach Kiosk came up with a coffee pricing scheme that would make any MBA School marketing instructor smile: they turned the traditional service pricing model on its head.
In a nutshell, Seven Mile Beach Kiosk’s pricing is based on how cool you are(or how big of an ass you are). It’s different because innately, it takes into consideration the actual behavior of its customers. You get a lower price for your coffee if you are kind to your server. This totally turns the traditional method on its head. The customer is the one getting incentivized not the server. The coffee shop will reduce your price depending on how you order your coffee. Presumably, your courteousness is measured by the words you use to order your cup of Java.
If you say ‘A coffee…’ you pay five dollars (we’re talking Australian dollars here).If you order your java with the phrase ‘A coffee please…’ your cup will set you back only $4.50. Now, if you order your coffee with the phrase ‘Good morning, a cup of coffee please…’ this incantation will reduce your cup of morning energy booster to a mere four bucks.
Seriously. The genius meter for this obvious marketing stunt operates on so many levels that you are just left in awe of this nuanced marketing ploy. Clever doesn’t even begin to describe the marketing coup the Seven Mile Beach Kiosk has achieved.
First, if you are a small business, you have very limited resources for getting the word out about your establishment. Between paying the rent, paying staff, and paying your overhead, there is very little left. Maybe you’d have a few bucks left over for a flyer distribution campaign but hey, let’s get real here, that’s probably going to do much good. You can try to hit social media but unless you know what you’re doing, your social media profiles will probably join the rest of the digital carcasses of non-professional social media campaigns for eateries that have gone before you.
The Seven Mile Beach Kiosk hit a moonshot by simply focusing the pricing model on its head and putting the focus on the customer and making a few calls to the media. That’s all it took. No extra charge and what are the results? Tons of local media coverage and, interestingly, international media coverage as well. In fact, the story of this cafe’s coffee pricing reached as far as China. You can’t buy such media attention for cheap!