The Hidden Gem – No Marketing Required

Yesterday we stumbled over one of the best independent coffee shops I never knew about. We have just been to town that we visit very infrequently for a very important meeting and coming out of the big office block where the meeting had taken place we needed good coffee. We were delighted to find that an independent coffee shop had opened across the road since the last time we had visited.

The coffee was excellent, Single Origin bought from different high-quality roasters, the equipment was top end, the skills of the barrister shone through in the quality of the coffee.

As fellow coffee shop owners we soon not talking to the proud owners of this little-hidden-gem, and soon we were comparing notes.

No Marketing

Matt, not his real name, told me he did little to no marketing, no stamp loyalty card, no offers, no discounts, no VIP club. His rationale behind this was that because they do everything really well people just find them and tell their friends and that’s how he will build the business.

He was so passionate about the coffee his relationships with the roasters, the quality and origin of his teas, the fact that he has sourced some of the best equipment you can get for a coffee shop, it was a pleasure to speak to him.

The question I asked him was simple why when you have so much to tell people about your story and your passion is it that you don’t share it in one way or another.

His social media presence was non-existent, like most businesses they have a Facebook page but the last update was six months ago, someone had obviously told him to get an Insta gram account however when you click on the logo on his website it took you nowhere, he was not collecting the details of any of its customers to do email marketing, although he knew lots of my name and have a very regular clientele base

Word of Mouth

He was adamant that his hidden gem of a coffee bar will be found by word-of-mouth. Now whilst that is quite possible that this will happen over time it is astounding that this should be his only marketing strategy.

Because of his location a lack of direct competition he was able to charge a little bit more than the chains, not have a stamped loyalty card I’ll just let the coffee do the talking.

He had such a great operation it is really sad to see that here’s not marketing it at all and therefore not getting as many customers as he could get if he started to just email them once a week to share his passion and energy about this week’s coffee blend all this time of the roast or what he’s doing to ensure the coffee farmers get a better quality of life.

By not marketing he is depriving the hundreds of potential customers who have never visited him over best coffee they could buy in this town, he is depriving himself and his wife of a better living.

In our book, “the daily grind– how to open and run a coffee shop that makes money” we have dedicated a whole chapter to “marketing for no money”, I have promised to send him a copy.

The Daily Grind - How to open and run a Coffee Shop that Makes Money

Published December 2015 -  pre order at at 

About the authors

Andrew and Claire Bowen have run their own coffee shops for the last decade starting as franchisees and moving to develop their own independent business. The knowledge and experience gained from this have been used in the development of Café Success – the UK’s best resource for a coffee shop, café and tearoom owners. Free to Join at it is growing to cover all aspects of setting up and running a coffee business. Please link in with them and join the Coffee Shop Owners of the UK discussion group on linked in.