Jake’s Coffee & Espresso

April 29, 2016

Having a special diet can be rough in some parts of the country. Certainly, with the advent of the internet and the homogenization of urban culture in America, in just about any city beyond a couple hundred thousand people you’ll find at least one restaurant that serves up a nice vegetarian menu or a bakery that features a line of gluten free products, but what about the rest of the country?

Many of us who live in cities tend to forget that the vast majority of this country is rural, meaning that if you have special dietary needs or are looking for expanded options beyond fast food, greasy spoon diners, casual dining chains, or big-box grocery stores, often times you’re just plain out of luck.

It’s that need–the need for options–that lead business partners Diane and Jessica to open up Jake’s Coffee & Espresso several years ago. Located in rural Staunton, IL, about an hour northeast of St. Louis, Jake’s Coffee & Espresso provides something that isn’t provided anywhere else in the southern part of the state: a gluten free bakery, making it somewhat of a destination.

Jake’s Facebook page regularly fields questions from all sorts–travelers, touring cyclists, truck drivers–looking for gluten-free baked goods and quality coffee while traveling up and down Interstate 55 between Springfield and St. Louis. People will drive from several counties over just to pick up some of their famous gluten-free lemon poppyseed or carrot cake muffins, monster cookie cupcakes, or the Staunton favorite, the peanut butter cranberry granola bites.

Whether it’s the wide array of gluten-free baked goods, deli counter staples like their tuna salad panini, reuben sandwich, and a number of homemade soups, or their exotic latte menu that includes wild flavors like butter beer, island dream cupcake, and coconut macaroon–among many others, Jake’s always provides a staggering assortment of options, even when it comes to providing ways to engage with their loyalty program.

Jake’s started running their loyalty program with Clover Rewards in mid-November of last year, and in the nearly-five months that have passed since, they’ve created a highly-engaged group of core customers by doing something that few other merchants do: Jake’s uses every tool in the Clover tool belt to connect with and engage their customers.

For example, when Jake’s signed up with Clover Rewards, they knew that in order for the program to be a success, they’d have to get users to download the app. To do so, they utilized the “specials” functionality of Clover to create an electronic coupon that was shared to social media, offering users a free cup of coffee to simply open a rewards account. The special was a success, garnering 48 signups in the first 24 hour period that they offered the program.

Notice Jake’s offered the free cup of coffee just for a signup. The distinction here is that Jake’s is a frequent user of another of an often less-utilized functionalities–the text message account.

Prior to offering Clover Rewards, Jake’s already allowed their customers to text message in their morning coffee or pastry orders so that they’d be waiting piping hot the second the customer walked through the door. Given the fact that Jake’s customers were already texting the shop, it wasn’t much of an additional effort for them to further engage with the shop via Perka’s text-message accounts. Now, a fair number of Jake’s customers earn rewards using only SMS.

Since then, Jake’s has built a group of 150 highly engaged core-customers who have earned over 1500 punches in just over 1000 visits, meaning their average Clover Rewards customer has at least 10 punches and has been rewarded at least one free coffee drink.

So how did Jake’s do it? By utilizing another of Clover’s highly-valuable, yet generally under-utilized functionalities: the push notification.

Regardless of whether a Jake’s customer signed up for Clover Rewards via text message or by downloading the app, Jake’s stays top-of-mind with their most valuable customers by pushing out a “special of the day” push notification regularly. Between two and five times per week, Jake’s offers one of their exotic latte or mocha flavors for the special price of $2.50 via a short message that’s received by every one of their Perka customers.

The beauty of it is, regardless of whether the special flavor is the customer’s–pardon the pun–cup of tea, they’re still reminded that Jake’s is open and waiting to serve them a hot cup of joe, whatever their favorite flavor.

For Jake’s, the results of engaging with and rewarding their most valuable customers with Perka has been clear: more visits from their most valuable customers. Through a mix of a great menu, exceptional service, and a rewards program that’s flexible enough for any kind of customer, they’ve built a group of highly-engaged regulars that they can count on to visit the shop day in and out.

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