Homemade nutmilk, coffee cocktails & Co. How to spice up your menu to stick out

What are you doing to differentiate from the coffee shop next door? Lower prices? Promoting the quality of the coffee you’re serving?

Well, if you look around in your neighborhood or even in your city, everyone is trying what you’re trying to do - attracting more customers - with the things you offer or the things you do.

But, with the customers having more choices to go to for their daily caffeine kick and being more, yeah, let’s say picky, for the ingredients you’re adding to your Lattes, coffee drinks and food options, there’s a need to think a step ahead. There’s even a need to find something that none of the cafes around even thought about, yet.

How can you do just that?

Well, think of your customers. I’m sure you have some regulars and you know about their favorite coffee drinks. And, I’m sure, you’re hearing one question more often by now: What about more non dairy options for their Lattes and Cappuccinos?

The Barista in you might feel about that question like if someone asked you to make bubbly foam out of nothing and you’d rather tell your customers to stick with black coffee. I know...

But, there are multiple (commercial) options for milk substitutes especially made for Barista needs by now, like almond, coconut or even rice, you can try to experiment with.

Make your own!

If you really want to be different than any other shop using those substitutes, though, make your own nut milk. It might be some work to do for your staff day in and day out, but it’s worth it. It’s so much creamier, so much better for a nice foam, that you’re customers are looking for in their Lattes, you have to at least give it a try. And, there are plenty of recipes on the internet how to do a homemade nutmilk at your shop.

You can even experiment with it. Using only almonds, or adding some other nuts like macadamia or cashews - homemade nutmilk is a great way to stick out, especially for customers looking for places with non dairy options.

Speaking of non dairy, you don’t have to go all vegan, but a couple of food options that are vegetarian or even vegan on your menu can help you with your coffee business to move forward. If these food options use some local (and maybe even organic) produce of your area - the veggies and fruits you’re using - this might be even one more reason to go to your cafe for your customers.

Just make sure, you’re promoting this ONE thing that lets you stick out and making it the WHY you’re customers are coming to your cafe. Recommendations are the best here.

Speaking of the WHY and speaking of coffee drinks. Have you asked yourself how you can spice up your menu with more options than just the usual espresso, Lattes and filter coffee?

Well, with the World of Coffee taking place in Dublin in June again, you might remember the Barista championships and those creative recipes the competitors used for their signature drinks.

No, you don’t have to invent fancy coffee cocktails all of the sudden. But, with some simple ingredients to add to an espresso or cold brew, shaken and served on ice, you’re creating a delicious coffee drink that your customers will love and talk about.

Here’s one simple recipe for you:

How about taking some lime juice, adding some simple syrup (sugar dissolved in water), one shot of espresso and some ginger beer, serve it on the rocks and with a piece of candied ginger on the side?

This is creative, but not too fancy. If you want to go more fancy, you can add all sorts of homemade syrups, bitters, spices and herbs to that shot of espresso or make some cocktail with the cold brew you might be preparing anyways.

Be creative!

Coming up with recipes is also a good way to involve your baristas. How about encouraging them to create one themselves? Depending on how many there are, you can even make a small contest among them for creating the best recipe. Many possibilities here, too for engaging your staff.

What about all your customers that don’t drink coffee, you’re asking?

I have something for them as well. Make some homemade Kombucha. This fermented beverage really spices up your menu, because you can easily add so many flavors and fruits as you and your customers like.

It’s not just healthy, it’s delicious! As with the homemade nutmilk, there are plenty of recipes on the internet for homemade Kombucha as well.

Is this too much time invested for making some creative and delicious additions to your menu? I don’t think so! Making some batches each day, be it of the Kombucha or nutmilk or adding one coffee cocktail to your menu each month, can spice up your menu like nothing else.

And, you want your customers to be coming to your cafe, right? Let people talk about the new additions to your menu! How? Let your regulars try them first and especially for free. Ask them about their opinion and let them talk about the newbie on your menu! Word of mouth is the best with new things.

What are you doing to spice up your menu? Let me know in the comments!