Rick Pajak breathed new life into Wilson Farms’ hot and cold dispensed category by treating condiments less as an afterthought and more as a category of its own. “We look at the condiment section as one of the longest stops in the store,” he said. “Why not give them the right space and right opportunity to create their own cup of coffee.”
A 16-square-foot condiment counter was installed in the coffee section, then stocked solid with mini marshmallows, honey, cinnamon and nutmeg powder, sprinkles, creams, sugars and substitutes and more. A self-dispensed whipped topping machine was added at no cost to the consumer.
The result: Sales of iced lattes at the chain continue to grow at a double-digit pace, and coffee remains a colossal margin-grabber. To supplement the program, Wilson Farms started offering seasonal promotions for different coffee flavors, as well as a “Coffee Cash” program offering a booklet of coupons to cut the price of any size coffee to 90 cents.
Specialty blends like crème brulee and pumpkin spice have all been favorites, and some are added permanently if they’re well received. “I’m not going as far to say our product is better than Starbucks,” Nanula said, pointing out that Starbucks charges far more than a similar beverage sold at Wilson Farms. “But we have a very good cup of coffee to offer our customers, where they can make the coffee or cappuccino their way and pay a very fair price.”