Adding a new offering to your list of services can capture new clients and increase your business. But when is a good time to add a new service? As a business owner myself, I can feel when the market/client is asking for it or my heart is wanting a new challenge. At Pacific Perks Coffee, LLC, adding a new service gets my creative juices flowing while giving me a project that builds excitement and keeps me in a positive entrepreneurial space. It can be scary, but nevertheless – exhilarating! So let’s take a look back at our 11 years in business and how and why I knew it was time to add a new service.
Pacific Perks started as a company specializing in Espresso Bar Catering. In fact, our original logo had a cup of coffee on it. That made sense! We offered one flavor of Smoothie on the Espresso Bar, so it was natural to also offer a full Smoothie Bar as a separate service. That was service number two. Same thing with the Italian Sodas, that was service number three.
To balance out the season of coffee, we quickly added the Ice Cream Sundae Bar. That allowed us to have an offering that focused on the warmer weather to increase our business in the summer. This opened us up to different types of events as well, like company picnics. Service number four was definitely a strategic business decision.
We stayed with that quad-plan for quite a while, until one September a couple years later business was flat. This was our livelihood and things had been steadily growing and then it was stagnant – yikes! We had thoughts of our next service, the Omelet Bar. It was in the back of our minds, but we were humming along and doing just fine, until we weren’t. I remember putting my hands on my head and falling back on the couch thinking, “Okay, it is time to add the Omelet Bar.” There was both a feeling of, “damn it” and of excitement. The “damn it” feeling makes me laugh. It is a feeling I get inside when I know it is time to expand and take myself out of my comfort zone, like it or not. I have had many of these moments in my life. I can personally feel inside when it is time to push once again and know it isn’t going to be comfortable. But I know there is always potential for personal growth, which generally is accompanied with a huge reward. We sold omelets before we even had it all figured out. Sound crazy? Yes, but the market was demanding it. So it worked, and just hitting that start button – “ready or not!” – is actually a great way to get your “sh8%” together quickly. That was service number five!
Our next service, The Quesadilla Bar came a little differently. Our clients were using the Omelet Bar and mentioned that they wished we had a lunch option. I took note, asked questions and went to the test kitchen. One thing I will say about adding a service, though, is that it has to be simple … or we won’t do it. “Keeping it Simple” is one of our core values and we consistently check in on whether we can add a new service and keep it simple. Service number six was born!
The Panini Bar came after the Quesadillas as another lunch option, for service number seven.
Then we wanted a really healthy smoothie option, so we came up with our Green Smoothie upgrade. It is made with spinach and fresh fruit. It is not a separate service, but instead accompanies the Fruit Smoothie Bar. It is green and it is good.
By the way, when adding new services, some of your ideas are going to just take off. Others, not so much. In that case you might decide to leave them on as a product offering if there’s no harm in it, or you may pull them. Like most businesses, not all of our services have been a hit. But I have never regretted giving it a try.
The next service we added was our Gourmet Hot Cocoa Bar. This was relatively easy for us to add and so much fun! It was taking the hot cocoa we make on our Espresso Bar and giving it a gourmet boost! We had a blast coming up with all of the yummy drinks and menu. We knew this service would be very seasonal and not a #1 seller, but it was super easy to put together – service #8!
This brings me to another point. When adding services, we try to use ingredients that we are already using, maybe add a few more if absolutely necessary, and then launch our new service. An extreme example of this is mexican food. All the same ingredients, just presented differently. I have heard comedians talk about mexican food and it cracks me up because it is so true … and SMART!
A couple of years ago, we added another seasonal option: the Frappe’ Bar. It was simple, fun and refreshing. Another opportunity to capture business in the warmer months and a very similar process (same equipment) as our already-existing Smoothie Bar. That would be #9!
Our next two services that we added were very much market driven. You see what is starting to pop up and what places have lines out the door. Like I said earlier, you can just feel it … and we certainly did with these next two. No, we didn’t start making donuts even though we do live in the Pacific Northwest. 😉 But we did go for Crepes! We used a Danish family recipe and that has been a hit! I love the nostalgia and personalization of using a recipe my kids have grown up on that comes from their great grandparents. A way to honor history and really a gift for us.
The Crepe Bar was a delicate matter, literally. We spent LOTS of time in the test kitchen and training our team. It is not the easiest to learn. The crepes can be hard to work with and the batter needs to be just right. But this service has proven to be a winner. Oh the aroma they create….Mmmm. Service number ten.
This brings me to our newest offering that has just launched! This has been in the back of our minds for quite some time, however with the carb and gluten-haters, I waited just a bit. Our eleventh service is the WAFFLE BAR. I had the market and my entire team speaking about this service. It has started with a bang and I expect that to continue!
We have a few other services in the works. We might relook at what we offer now and see about pulling some stuff and adding others. I think the main thing as a business owner is to remember why you got into the business. What drives you and gets that entrepreneurial spirit activated? Remember to keep that part of your job at the forefront and let everyone else do the other stuff! There are a lot of hats we business owners wear and it is important to do the things we enjoy the most and hand off the rest to people who thrive in the other areas. Here are some final thoughts for you:
- If you aren’t growing, you’re dying.
- If you want to get some stuff done, plan a party (or a new service)!
- Listen to your inner voice.
- It is okay to move forward even though it feels uncomfortable, that is where growth happens.
Pacific Perks Coffee, LLC