Coffee Stores, Read “You Can Compete: Double Sales Without Discounting

January 12, 2009 by

On my CEO Blog I’ve been reviewing and summarizing You Can Compete: Double Sales Without Discounting by Bob Phibbs.  I’ve just read chapters 6 and 7 on both hiring and training and they are a must read for every coffee store owner. 

They are a must read.  If you don’t have a copy Robert Kraeuter, president of Kaffe Magnum Opus will get one for you without obligation.  Healthy coffee retailers are a part of KMO’s mission.  It maintains several coffee sites one of which contains valuable ideas for increasing sales.

I’m very excited about this book and in particular these two chapters.  They contain basic information about hiring and training.  If we all do what is presented in these chapters we will all be more successful.

The summary is on Docspoc

Bob Johnson

Founder, Kaffe Magnum Opus, Inc.

TV Anterra Comes Back – Reverse Obsolescence for TV Antenna

December 19, 2008 by

horse-and-buggyMy TV antenna is right this minute providing my Sharp Equos television, which is digital and HD enabled, about 15 channels, including all the major networks, in the clearest, sharpest picture I’ve ever seen.  No cable.

Free.  Nada. Zero.

I remember around 1970 after purchasing my first home waiting impatiently for the advent of cable television.  I think I paid around $18 for the service, which I purchased in order to get good reception.  Over time this relatively modest sum grew 10 fold and I had added a bunch of high powered programming, all of which I purchased in order to watch Tony Soprano knock off a few friends.  He’s now gone, but the cable persists. 

Well not exactly.  After spending last winter in a motor home with the same antenna I have in my 2008 super duper motor home  now worth zilch, I cancelled my cable.  Now 63 I was able to get the basic plan for $12 per month.  It provided all the major networks and I think the History Channel. 

Now, with a super duper antenna at home I’ll be able to get digital and HD without the help of a cable company.  Then I’ll buy the DVD’s of the high powered HBO programs.  Or use the Netflix I pay $18 per month to funnel downloaded movies through my computer to my television.  So movies are handled by Netflix, programming by DVD or Internet streaming, and I still don’t need cable.

This is all because the antenna is coming back.  Hooray for History.

At the price of gas (I know it is down for the moment) we will soon be riding horse pulled carriages or bikes to work just when the Chinese People are getting their first car.  I have Vonage and Skype so I really should drop my land line, fax line, and mobile line. 

I purchased my first mobile telephone for protection so that Cathy would have a phone should she break down on the road.  Trouble was  most of her driving and mine was across the Pinelands where, you know what I’m about to say, there was no service.  The point is however, I purchased it for protection but now have an iPhone with all sorts of stuff I don’t use because of my laptop, Skype and Vonage. 

I can set up Vonage to forward my phone to all the places I’ll be today, like my sons, or the doctors office (they may not like it) and get all my calls, without a mobile phone.  Oh well, it was not my intention to go this far, just to cebrate the return of the home antenna.

Celebrate, Celebrate, Celebrate and save like $200 per month.   Oh, to be fair I have to say that I paid $2,000 for my laptop.  But having done that, why not drop all the other stuff.  Think I will.  It may be time to sell your cable stock.

Let us all know how  you are saving money, please.


Flavored Coffee, Flavored Beans or Syrups: Join the discussion at Kettle and Cup or Right Here

November 21, 2008 by


I was delighted to find Kaffe Magnum Opus mentioned on Kettle and Cup.  Two very nice people had some positive things to say about the company.  We thank you Heather and Marye.


The article deals with flavored coffee; KMO sells over 270 flavors and has always been a proponent of coffee stores carrying at least the top twenty (20) sellers in whole bean flavored coffees.


Some of you know I rode a bicycle from New York to Key West last fall.  The purpose of the ride was to gather ideas that would help independents succeed and to bring attention to independent coffee houses.  I found that the further south I rode the less flavored coffee was presented as an option to consumers.  Most coffee houses and café’s carried flavored syrup to add to liquid coffee.


I think this is a mistake.  People want flavored coffee to drink at home.  If you only flavor with syrups you can not meet this need; if you serve flavored coffee you have a shot at creating demand for the beans.  This is good for you.  It will build your sales and keep people coming back and build your profits and average sale.


There is also the matter of cost of goods.  Syrups are at least 25 cents per shot.  Flavored coffee costs you nothing.  Although 25 cents sounds small, you know how fast that bottle of syrup is empties.  One of my favorite says is: a little number multiplied by a big number is a big number.    


Syrups also limit your selection of coffees.  There are hundreds of flavored coffee flavors compared to a limited number of syrups.


Flavored Beans also satisfy your customers existing demand for a great experience at the kitchen table, the Thanksgiving Dinner Table and the Christmas Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Table.  You customers will entertain at Christmas and KMO knows from 20 years experience that they do it with flavored coffee in place of wine and hard liquor.  So, save a life, sell flavored coffee. 


An independent coffee house has to have as many products as possible so it can have more than one connection with a customer.  This helps keep them coming back – makes them repeaters.


I know this subject is controversial; there are several points of view.  Many coffee store owners espouse only flavored syrups – this is especially true on the West Coast and is influenced by the Roasters Guild whose focus is on straight coffees. 


But I disagree, and jot just because I sell flavored coffee.  It’s because my success depends on your success and it’s in our mutual self-interest to adopt this strategy and enjoy financial success together.


So thank you Kettle and Cup for raising this critical issue.  Do you all agree?  Where do you stand on this profitability issue?  Is this just a marketing issue?


Bob Johnson, Founder

Kaffe Magnum Opus


Skype For The Office

November 21, 2008 by



Staying in touch is critical.  Exchanging ideas with partners (vendors), customers and folks who do what you do but in another market will help you improve your profitability.


Today was the first video conference our company scheduled using the Skype service.  I’m delighted to say it was a smashing success.


I repeat here the offer I made on my personal business blog.  If you are in the trade, owning a café or coffee house or bakery or bagel shop and buy a fair amount of coffee from Kaffe Magnum Opus, I’ll arrange for a Free Desktop video camera.  I’d ask that in exchange you subscribe to our blog and give us one or two calls on Skype.  Downloading Skype is easy.  It’s best to have your camera installed first.  Just e-mail and I’ll arrange for the free telephone.


The Skype service is free between Skype members.  Today there were 13 Million people on line.  If you are on line and are in the coffee business and agree to talk once or twice with KMO and subscribe to the blog, I’ll arrange a comparable, very nice surprise.


Let’s build a community of coffee professionals at which is a KMO sponsored and managed blog intended for the exchange of ideas to help you build your profits.


Bob Johnson


Dear Dr. Brew Bunnomatic Or Bunn Opens Blog

November 15, 2008 by

The link to Dr. Brew is: Dr. Brew which is made for folks who need information about brewing equipment.  I’m not sure if they will be answering questions about the beverage coffee or tea.  Does anyone know the answer to this?


Here is Dr. Brew’s Mug Shot


KMO got the news from Caterers Blog

Helping Farmers With Food For Dry Spells

November 10, 2008 by

A Strategic Summit was sponsored by Green Mountain to help find a way for some of the people in Nicaragua to more easily sustain themselves through difficult times, that is, when food is not in plentiful supply.  Kaffe Magnum Opus applauds this effort and is trying to find a way to support their work.  Here is a link to the page: Nicaraguan Summit.


While the link was posted in October, the conference took place in April of ’08.


Bob Johnson




Mayorga Coffee Opens New Retail Store

November 8, 2008 by

Mayorga Coffee will open soon a new store.  Here is the link to their announcement: Mayorga Coffee Opens New Store.  In view of their commitment to this strategy Kaffe Magnum Opus wishes them well and congratulates them on their growth. 


KMO has chosen not to open retail outlets because they create a dual distribution system.  That is, a company retail location competing with a Cafe, Coffee House or Drink Bar that may purchase coffee from KMO.  Just one of the conflicts is: in the real world customers may be running out of coffee and need to have emergency service.  Faced with a customer or an owned store, which do you send?  At KMO there is never a question. 


If your coffee roaster also operates stores they may put their stores ahead of you.  Or, worse, they may take a location you desired. 


I’d love to have your comments on this.


Another topic related to this is the Specialty Coffee Roaster maintaining a blog and a web presence.  There are conflicting thoughts on this, but in the end it is good for you, our customers, and Kaffe Magnum Opus to maintain a presence on the web.  The web is the new Umbrella covering all the other traditional marketing channels.  Social Media are swamping the traditional media (television, radio, newspapers and magazines).  Promoting a brand today dictates a strong web presence.


Just last week the Christian Science Monitor, a daily for what seems like a hundred years, announced that it would now print a newspaper only on the weekend.  It stopped or is stopping their mid week publication and will instead use the web for news.  This is for sure a harbinger of things to come.


Bob Johnson


Please comment.  Tell the industry what you think.


Sell More Coffee Idea 1: Surprise People

November 7, 2008 by

Sell More Coffee Idea 1 – Surprise People


Costumes are a good place to start.  Given the state of the economy right now I think something humorous is good; remember Paul Simon on Saturday Night live?  This morning he was on one of the morning shows and they played a clip of his appearance on SNL.  He was costumed as a really big turkey.  He sang in the costume.  It was hilarious.

People want to laugh and you can help.  If they see you as medicine for the blah’s, great.

Please share your ideas and comment here and we’ll get them out as far as we can.

How about a new drink “The Turkey Trotter”, a tasty latte with double or triple expresso.

Bob Johnson


Welcome To Kaffe Magnum Opus, The Specialty Coffee Roaster

November 5, 2008 by


Welcome to Kaffe Magnum Opus, the leading specialty coffee roaster in the country.