Coffee Cups – What's Your Message?

BFor many people, going out for coffee or tea is not only about getting a caffeine fix, it is about an experience. Whether consciously or unconsciously, customers notice every aspect of a coffee shop: the aroma, people, chairs, noise, even what their drinks are served in. It will all play a role in the quality of the overall experience and the message you are trying to convey. Ask yourself, what impression do you want to give?
Based on the type of café or coffee shop you want to be, and your mission as a business, it is important to decide what message you want to communicate to your consumers. If you are promoting high quality beans and specialty drinks, it is important to select in house mugs that will give that impression as well. According to Mitch Bangert, Owner of Offero, LLC “placing more emphasis on great cups shows more respect for the drink.” Bangert continues to add “Offero cups differentiate themselves visually and by function, we created the extended back and belly of our cups to enhance the drinking pleasure by enhancing the nose of your drink.”
While in house mugs may play a smaller part in the entire coffee shop experience, to-go cups are what represent you outside your walls. Larinda Becker, Vice President of Foodservice Marketing at Solo Cup says, “We have found that the consumer perception of value is enhanced by the right cup. The right look, comfort, feel of warmth, leak resistance, and secure closure all make the product value worthy to the patrons they serve.” The wrong cup could give out an overall impression or lower quality.
In today’s world, there are a plethora of inventive, original, and high quality cups to fit every need. For example, “For premium roasts, Solo offers Duo Shield®, a double wall, paper insulated cup set that will upgrade the operator’s image, making quality of the experience tops with no sleeves or double cupping required. When used with a Solo Traveler® lid the cup offers the ultimate experience in coffee drinking,” says Becker. On the other hand, Seda’s double walled cup “Insulation characteristics are superior with drinks staying hot longer while protecting hands and giving warm pleasant touch. The cup is one piece with no sleeve or double cup needed improving operations,” says Cliff Albert, Commercial Director of Seda North America. Features such as single or double walled; plug in lids; built in French press; and even lid’s that change color depending on the temperature; can make it easy to pick your individual style and stand out once you determine your mission and the message you want to communicate.

Environmental Sustainability

DAn industry, like coffee, that depends entirely on the environment cannot afford the luxury of neglecting it. Ecological responsibility is not only an obligation of the producers or the people who work directly in the farms. Each individual involved in the process, from crop to cup, is responsible for the sustainment of the environment. According to the International Coffee Association, it is estimated that 1.6 Billion cups of coffee are consumed worldwide each day. Imagine how much waste that produces every year?
As a café or coffee shop, if you are thinking sustainable, and you should, the best way to portray that message is with the cups you use. Buzz Chandler, President of Asean Corporation says, “All of our companies products are 100% plant based, we use no petroleum or other similar materials. Our company motto is “100% compostable, it’s all we do” and we continue with that tradition. If our products are not certified compostable, we simply will not make or sell them.” This is a great example of a company that not only sells a compostable product but also lives by the standard. Chandler continues to say, “The use of our products by shop owners, show how the business is thinking sustainable, which more and more customers either are demanding or prefer over your standard single use disposables.”

Expanding your revenue basis with mugs

CTraveler mugs are a great way to diversify your product line. Moreover, if you customize the mugs with your brand, your customers will be promoting you everywhere they go! According to Erez Toker, President of Vessel Drinkware, “When developing a retail merchandise program cafés should emphasize variety of body styles, materials, and design. By doing so, the café will attract the largest cross section of customers to their retail merchandise selection.” Stylish and trendy mugs will increase appeal and usage; customers will be attracted to your mugs and therefore your brand. “The best programs we create utilize designs that resonate with the end consumer. That emotional appeal is the initial attraction of the customer to the product, and those positive feelings encourage the customer to use the product, creating a bond between retail consumer and product. These positive feelings ultimately translate through to the retailer. Everybody wins,” adds Toker.
Encouraging your customers to bring their own mugs will not only promote sustainability, but will reduce your inventory expenses. Offer your customers a discounted price if they bring their own mug, and an even lower price if the bring a mug bough at your café!
We live in a society where the concept of cups and mugs has been revolutionized. Taking not only into account the comfort of the consumer, but also the importance of brewing methods for coffee and tea, when creating different cup designs. Companies have made it a point to create innovative cups that take into account every essential factor. For instance, TRAVELER ZITA™ is a multifunctional double-wall tumbler for cold and hot drinks. According to Christian Justus, CEO (and creator of the tumbler) “It’s exceptional and appealing look is largely owed to its lid, which resembles a tea cup with a new spill-proof cork mechanism at it’s spout. This makes the tumbler ideal for mobile use… TRAVELER ZITA™ can also be used with its patented Tea Control™ Kit, which allows control of the brewing process with a simple turn of the lid.”
When selecting the type of mugs and cups you will serve your coffee or tea in, remember what you stand for. Do you want to convey a message of Quality? Sustainability? Sophistication? Uniqueness? Despite the famous saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” when it comes to buying a product, we all do.
[box style=”rounded” border=”full”]Committed to Sustainability: 
The Sustainable Forest Initiative By John Mulcahy, Vice President of Strategy & Category Effectiveness for Georgia- Pacific.
The Sustainable Forestry initiative is a fully independent, non-profit organization dedicated to promoting sustainable forest management. Their forest certification standard is based on principles that promote sustainable forest management, including measures to protect water quality, biodiversity, wildlife habitat, species at risk, and Forests with Exceptional Conservation Value.
In November 2010, Georgia-Pacific announced an updated policy to address issues of increasing interest to our customers and to consumers, such as the conservation of endangered forests and special areas and the maintenance of natural hardwood forests. GP’s Statement on Forest Protection and Sustainable Practices takes us beyond certification in two key areas: (1) our commitment not to procure from endangered forests as they are defined and mapped in our key supply regions and (2) our commitment to avoid procuring pine fiber from plantations established after July 1, 2008, on sites that were natural hardwood forestlands immediately prior to their conversion.
At GP, we understand the value that healthy forests have for our environment and for our business. Healthy forests help clean our air and water while providing economic livelihood for millions of Americans. Paper comes from a renewable resource and can be recycled.[/box]

Suggested Reading