Inspirational Grounds uses a strategy of total market service. Our promise is in our uniqueness in the market and the products we sell, the people we attract, the atmosphere we create.
We will create an atmosphere that lures the "spiritual seeker." The "coffee lover" and others will come because of the quality and the atmosphere. Ultimately, we aren't selling either products or coffee. We are selling the experience. We want to be part of the community, part of their lives, part of the search for meaning.
Inspirational Grounds will position itself as an upscale coffee house, spiritual resource and entertainment provider. It will serve on-site roasted, high quality coffee and espresso, as well as specialty beverages at a competitive price. Due to the number of coffee shops in the Minneapolis area, it is important that Inspirational Grounds set competitive prices for the freshly roasted coffee. Customers will see coffee as it roasts throughout the day, and they will be able to order coffee beans roasted to their specifications while they enjoy a beverage.
The competitive advantage of Inspirational Grounds is threefold:
Our uniqueness in the market - Inspirational Grounds will be the only spiritually centered coffee shop in the Twin Cities metropolitan area which roasts its own beans daily, sells quality coffee and espresso based beverages, and specialty drinks, along with inspirational music and books. Inspirational Grounds is upscale, not stuffy. Our community-based focus will be hard to duplicate, even if products and service are similar.
Excellent Customer Service - Because competition in the specialty beverage market is high, Inspirational Grounds will work to ensure that each customer is treated in the same respectful manner as the next. Technology will play a key role in ensuring that our customers get that special one-on-one feeling they might experience at a high-end retail store. Our Point of Sale system will not just ring orders, but keep key data on customers' previous purchases in the area of freshly roasted coffee. In this manner, sales staff will know about the customer's buying habits and tastes, and will be able to make suggestions for purchases that will likely result in increased sales and make the customer feel special.
Excellent service in a community focused environment will be a unique undertaking. We will ensure that Inspirational Grounds is a fun place for people to gather. Inspirational Grounds will employ the principles that make Seattle's World Famous Pike Place Fish Market an invigorating experience for customers. These principles are: Play, Make Their Day, Be there, and Choose Your Attitude. We will ensure that each employee understands the fundamentals at the base of any successful service organization.
Quality - We are committed to serving only the best quality beans and beverages. Moreover, the training the staff receives will ensure that the art of espresso making is understood. There is more to a good espresso than the beans and the machine. At Inspirational Grounds, we understand it, and will ensure our customers do as well.
It's the combination of these three elements that make up the competitive advantage of Inspirational Grounds.
Inspirational Grounds' marketing strategy focuses on the key elements of the target markets' soft needs, and the focus of the venture.
Pricing in this industry is very competitive. The price of freshly brewed coffee and specialty beverages doesn't vary by more than a few cents between the corner coffee shop and the large chains.
The price of roasted coffee beans can vary. Larger chains, having the benefit of volume, can charge slightly lower prices per pound. Inspirational Grounds will charge a slightly higher price as our coffees are freshly roasted on-site daily. Inspirational Grounds will roast its coffee to maximize the flavor of the specific bean. We will also roast coffee to the customer's specifications. This strategy of bringing the customer in to the whole coffee experience, gives the customer an additional service, for which a slightly higher price will not be deemed excessive.
Inspirational Grounds will use several ways to reach new customers. We will leverage schools, churches, community organizations, print ad, internet advertising and word of mouth.
1. Advertising--We'll be developing our core positioning message: "On-Site Roasted Coffee, Made to Order." to differentiate our service from the competition.
2. Postcards-- Inspirational Grounds will employ targeted mailings to our 55407 customer base. These postcards will announce Grand Opening Specials.
3. Internet Advertising--As customers come in, they will be asked if they wish to sign up on our internet mailing list. Special promotions will be available only through Internet "coupons."
4. Media--Inspirational Grounds will work with local media on several different "story of interest" venues. The Homework Happy Hour is one example that would gain media attention at no cost to Inspirational Grounds.
The programs Inspirational Grounds will initiate are depicted on the following graphs. These programs support the soft needs and product offerings listed in the Marketing Strategy section, and have been transliterated into "Vision Focus" and "Customer Focus" programs.
For the Christian who needs a place to seek, have fun, relax, and enjoy quality beverages, Inspirational Grounds is a place to feel welcome, special, informed, and energized. Inspirational Grounds meets the needs of this market. Unlike the other coffee shops in the metro area, Inspirational Grounds has character and a purpose.
For the neighborhood, Inspirational Grounds brings a positive message with a community centered focus. This is a place where all are welcomed and embraced with a warm greeting and hot coffee. The look and feel of the shop will ensure that anyone who walks through the door feels right at home. We want our customers to learn about coffee, and experience quality first hand.
The trained baristas at Inspirational Grounds will handle the sales transactions. To speed up the customer service, at least two employees will be servicing clients--while one employee prepares the customer's order, the other one will take care of the sales transaction. All sales data logged on the computerized point-of-sale terminal will later be analyzed for marketing, Cost of Sale, and volume purposes.
In order to build up its client base, Inspirational Grounds will use banners, fliers, postcards and other advertising, utilize customer referrals and cross-promotions with other businesses in the community. At the same time, we will use customer retention programs like drink punch-cards to make sure the customers are coming back and spending more at the coffee bar.
Internet Coupons - As customers come into the store, they will asked if they'd like to put their name on the internet mailing list. Once added, these customers will receive special "internet only" solicitations for discounts and specials, as well as a calendar of events.
Community Based Programs - Inspirational Grounds will partner with community organizations, schools, and churches to provide unique offerings which strengthen the community and provide sales for the store. The Homework Happy Hour is a prime example of leveraging community needs with sound sales techniques and business practices.
Direct Mailing - Inspirational Grounds will periodically mail special product offerings to people in the 55407 zip code. This promotion will also be used to announce the Grand Opening of Inspirational Grounds.
Inspirational Grounds is taking a modest approach to forecasting. Inspirational Grounds is forecasting an 8% average growth which is in line with industry estimates. With our unique product and service offerings, along with our aggressive marketing strategies, the sales forecasts are actually on the conservative side.
Inspirational Grounds has aligned itself with key players in the industry: Espresso Services, Inc. located in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and the specialty Coffee Association of America. Both of these organizations are nationally and internationally known for their knowledge of, and expertise in, the specialty beverage industry.
Inspirational Grounds has also formed key alliances with non-competing experts in Restaurant and Retail markets.
Finally, Inspirational Grounds has established itself within the community through developing relationships with five of the surrounding Neighborhood Associations, key developers and planners of the Midtown Exchange project and various City Officials and city Counsel Members.
These alliances will serve to be conducive to the company's success and marketability.
The accompanying table lists important program milestones up to the date of opening. Further milestones, with dates and budgets for each, are currently being developed to line up our live-performance events and to meet our marketing and sales goals. These post-opening milestones are dependent on receiving adequate funds for opening.