I am a coffee guy. I spent 13 years managing a coffee roasting company. We owned multiple drive-thru stands, roasted coffee, and had a successful subscription marketing service. I have over 20 years of knowledge of the coffee industry. For this article, I wanted to take that knowledge and marry it with what Wapiti does – specifically our ability to build awesome websites.
Note: This article will focus mainly on why your coffee stand needs a website. If you don’t own a coffee stand, the same principles I lay out here will still apply. Even if you’re not in the coffee industry at all, you can still find some applicable truths here.
Coffee stands are mini box businesses, literally. If you’re an owner of one or a few stands, you generally have to keep all your supplies in this small box. You also have to keep your employees happy at the same time in such a small constricted space. If your stand is successful, you’re constantly dancing around each other with little time to stop. If you're doing well, you may have lineups of several cars because they know the line will move fast enough, and they’re willing to wait because the coffee and baristas are that good. Once the traffic dies down, there’s still the restocking and cleaning to do. It’s a nonstop process in a very small, tight space.
Knowing this is the nature of the coffee stand business, most espresso stand owners don't really pay attention to their web presence. Selling to a local clientele, most don’t feel that a website is that important, and they haven’t allotted much money to put toward one, especially if they only own one stand. Profit margins are very tight even for a successful stand; things get a little easier if there are multiple stands. So the idea of investing in a website, or investing in a marketing company, seems like an expense you can't afford. These small stands often neglect the web in order to focus on their product, which I totally understand.
Every business needs a website. There are still some out there that say they don’t need a website; they’ll just use a Facebook page. Yet, there are a lot of people that don't use Facebook; therefore, a website can be more universally accessed. Coffee stands should have a web presence: one that’s built right, focused for mobile traffic, and set up correctly on Google My Business.
Wapiti has created a package specific for espresso stands that delivers a beautiful, custom website for a very inexpensive price. Each website is built with a mobile visitor in mind: the menu, directions, hours, and contact information all come up quickly and are the first thing people see when they load the site.
Mobile traffic specific websites are important because the reality is, people use their phones on the move. If they’re in a hurry and know a stand is coming up in a few minutes, they might take a couple of minutes and pull up that business’s menu and prices and decide then and there whether or not it’s worth the stop. If they go to pull it up on the phone and can’t even find a website, they actually become more frustrated and it turns into a negative experience linked with that stand. This is true of any business.
Mobile focused websites are one step in the process coupled with great web services (fast, reliable hosting and a team to update and support you as you need it.) When it comes to mobile, websites need to load incredibly fast because cellular signal isn't always the best. A big image and a heavy website that looks great on a desktop can be horrible for mobile users. The solution is to design it with mobile in mind first, and then make it look good on desktop, too. This is important for quick foodservice type operations because 80-90% of traffic to their websites is going to come from mobile devices.
Another reason having a website is vital is that when people do a Google search for “coffee near me,” Google gives multiple options. Businesses with a website are going to rank better. Also, if you have a website, Google provides a little icon you could just click on to go to your website where they will see your menu, your hours, quick directions, etc. If designed right, a website for your espresso stand, or whatever your business may be, will increase your sales and make your customers happier.
In the years that I've been in the coffee business, it is so rare to encounter a mom and pop stand that actually has a web presence. The ones that do have a website make poor use of their presence. For example, I’ve seen sites that list all the staff and their individual stories on the main page. All customers really care about is what they’re getting: “Is it quality?” “How much is it going to cost?” “Where are they located?” “Are you open when I want to go?” A mobile website done right will make you look more professional, and it will bring in outsiders because they'll be able to find you quicker.
Make sure your online citations, a listing of your business, are updated. There are many listings out there: Yelp, Google, Facebook, the Yellow Pages, Manta, etc. It is important to keep the top 50 listings updated because if your information is accurate across all those sites (your web address, location information, etc.), it’s going to build trust online with your business. It will help your website (if you don’t have one, please contact Wapiti), and it's going to keep your visitors informed accurately so that they can get to your site. There are plenty of tools out there to help you with that, and I am happy to help you find the right tool.
Your Google My Business listing needs to be taken seriously. Since Google is the most used search engine, Google My Business listings have really high importance and value to them. If you had to choose between a website and a Google My Business listing (which of course I believe you should do BOTH), the Google listing would be potentially more important. This is because it will come up in the Google search without having to navigate to another page, and it will give all the pertinent information on your business right away. Incidentally, this is how your website should be laid out: with all the pertinent information given right away, especially since the majority of the visitors are probably coming from mobile users.
Whether you're an espresso stand or in the coffee industry, or something else entirely, your website has importance. For those with single locations like a drive through, your website is an important part of making your business look complete to outsiders, providing important information, and helping you with your success in general.