Crafting Unique Holiday Menu Items: A Barista's Guide to Creating Seasonal Sensations and Higher Profits

‘Tis the season to be jolly–and to perk up your cafe with a unique seasonal menu. The trick? Blending traditional classics with innovative syrup, milk, alt milk tea, and sauce combinations that hit the sweet spot in your customers’ Venn diagram. In this blog, we will explore strategies to discover new flavors for holiday drinks without pouring money down the drain with “oops” offerings that miss the mark.

Know What’s On Your Customers’ Wish Lists

Understanding your customers is the first step to crafting successful holiday flavors. Consider their preferences, dietary restrictions, and local tastes. You don’t have to be a mind reader to get the inside (coffee) scoop. Conduct surveys, gather feedback, and analyze past sales data to identify which flavor profiles are likely to bring joy to your customers’ worlds.


Work with a Supplier That Flexes on Flexibility

What gets suppliers on the Nice list? Flexibility. This is more crucial than ever when buying holiday themed syrups and sauces because cafes can incur significant cost of waste with suppliers that have strict minimums or only sell by the case.

Work with a supplier like Barista Underground that offers the ability to (literally) mix things up so you can mix and match new flavor options with classics you’d purchase anyway. Introduce new flavors. See how customers respond. Adjust orders. Repeat. It’s the perfect recipe for seasonal success.

Test Those Tastes with Small-Scale Trials Commitment-shy?

We get it. Before you bulk order a new flavor, make sure it’s a palate-pleaser for your customer with small-scale trials. Offer the new flavor as a limited-time special or as a customization option to gather feedback and see how it performs. If it’s a hit, go all in. Limited appeal? Cut it loose.


Underground Tip:
Give Out Samples

After educating your staff about new flavors, pass out the samples to both employees and loyal customers. You’ll generate more buzz than a triple-espresso and encourage fans to spread the word.

Create Signature Blends

If your signature move is creating drinks that generate profits, blend up your own signature concoctions by using a combination of syrups, alternative milks, and sauces rather than adding a single new flavor. This can will add a unique twist to your holiday drinks and serve customers with a one-of-a-kind experience. Need a little inspo? Check our latest recipe post here.

Keep Your Eye on the Prize

Testing new flavors isn’t a one and done proposition. Throughout the holiday season, closely monitor the performance of your new flavors. Keep an eye on sales, customer feedback, and waste levels. Then adjust your offerings in real-time to focus on the most popular and profitable options, if needed.


Promote Responsibly

Market smarter, not harder–or with unnecessary expense. When introducing new flavors, ensure that your marketing materials highlight the unique qualities of these offerings. Use social media, in-store displays, and your website to entice customers to try the new creations. Highlight any special promotions or loyalty rewards for trying these flavors. You’ll ring in the New Year with higher profits and happier customers. Happy holidays, indeed.

Manage Costs

While Managing to Delight Customers While it's important to innovate, it's equally crucial to keep an eye on costs. Now more than ever, it’s important to ensure that your new flavors are competitively priced and that the cost of ingredients doesn't eat into your profits. Negotiate with suppliers for favorable pricing and explore bulk purchasing options to give customers the flavors they crave at a price that’s palatable for your business.