Skip to content
Seasonal Menu Tips for Boosting Sales

Seasonal Menu Tips for Boosting Sales

From spring savoring to summery sips, full fall flavors, and holiday coffee drinks, does your shop’s seasonal menu strike all the right notes?

A new season can bring about a fresh start for your coffee shop or cafe as a desire for new and enticing flavors can reinvigorate customer excitement, with tastes that welcome in the shifting weather.

Why is it Important to Have a Seasonal Menu?

Importance of Having a Seasonal Menu

The truth is, that many of your coffee-loving customers are looking for more than just a jolt of caffeine when they stop by your shop. They want a special—or even extraordinary—experience. Aromatic roasts and artful pours can work wonders for curating a memorable visit—but offering a rotating seasonal menu can make an even bigger impact when it comes to providing a meaningful experience in your shop.

One-of-a-kind drinks and innovative flavor combinations that rotate in and out with the changing seasons can leave a lasting impression on your patrons. In fact, 59 percent of consumers reported that they were more likely to order a drink if it had been labeled as “seasonal.”

Making a Holiday Menu

Creating a holiday menu for a coffee shop is an excellent opportunity to infuse festive cheer into your offerings. Consider incorporating seasonal menu items and flavors like peppermint, gingerbread, and cinnamon into your drinks. Specialty lattes and hot chocolates can become signature items that attract customers looking for a taste of the holiday spirit.

Sure, pumpkin spice lattes are all the rage from September through November (and beyond). But offering up something just a bit more unexpected on your seasonal menu can get customers excited about stepping into your shop year-round. Here’s what you need to know about crafting a compelling seasonal menu that serves both your patrons and your bottom line.


So Many Recipes, So Little Time: What Belongs On Your Seasonal Menu?

"Florals? For Spring? Groundbreaking.” -Miranda Priestly in “The Devil Wears Prada"

…But honestly, there really is something about florals for spring, even if it’s just the flavors you’re serving up for customers.

When crafting a seasonal menu, it’s important to think about all the factors that play into what would get your customers excited. That means the changing weather, the favorite (and trendy) flavors of the season, the varying feelings of nostalgia that arise as the seasons change, and even what fruits, vegetables, and flowers are at the height of popularity during these months.

As the months go by, your seasonal menu could likely include the following:

  • Spring: The reintroduction of cold drinks, flowery flavors, and perhaps even a variation on a London Fog latte for rainy April afternoons.
  • Summer: All things iced and chilled, memorable cold brew options, fruity blends, and maybe an espresso-tonic or espresso-lemonade (trust us on this one!) combination to cool off on a hot summer day.

  • Fall: Something a little savory and spicy, sweet and milky lattes to take along on a trip to the pumpkin patch. Maybe even take the simplicity of a pumpkin spice latte a step further with notes of rosemary, turmeric, or cinnamon, all popular flavors added to favorite fall dishes and baked goods.

  • Winter: Warm up your guests with syrupy, sweet offerings that sing of nutmeg, chocolate, and winter fruits. If you can bake with it, chances are your patrons will be excited to see it included on your menu. And don’t forget the hot chocolate, marshmallows, and whipped cream.

So what are all the markings of a great seasonal drink? Here’s when you know a seasonal drink you’ve tested and tasted belongs on your temporary menu.

  • You can price it just slightly above the regular items on your menu, which can help signify a special and indulgent experience.

  • It has some factor of familiarity to it, whether that be the comfort of a latte or a standard cold brew, or a flavor profile your guests know and love for other reasons.

  • The menu item is simple and easy to make, you can source the ingredients quickly, and it’s cost-effective for your bottom line.

  • It feels tied to the season so you can entice patrons with the limited availability and the potential that it could come back next year. It might be a slight twist on a popular regional or national offering, or you might gain inspiration from beloved recipes to make appealing holiday coffee drinks.

New call-to-action

Designing a Seasonal Menu that Makes Dollars and Sense

With the right planning, seasonal menu offerings and holiday coffee drinks can add variety and excitement to your shop, while also bringing in noteworthy profits. The key here is to keep costs low; building a seasonal menu requires careful planning and selection of ingredients—and requires enthusiastic marketing efforts to ensure customers are engaged and excited about these temporary offerings.

So how do you build a seasonal menu that’s friendly for customers and your bottom line?

It starts with the number of menu items. How many new items is too many?

While your seasonal menu may depend a great deal on the ingredients you can source, there are a few things you can do to craft a menu that suits your operations—and that starts with the number of items on the seasonal menu.

For starters, you don’t want to offer too many choices, which can overwhelm customers who may just decide to opt for their go-to order rather than take advantage of seasonal offerings. And too many new recipes can be stressful for baristas and may even slow up service.

When you’re making changes to your menu, keep quality, rather than quantity in mind. You want your seasonal drinks to be prepared correctly, which means allowing time—and the gift of repetition; making drinks over and over again—to support your team. A menu with too many elements will only increase the amount of labor that goes into each drink and increase wait times for patrons.

So, what’s the perfect number of drinks to add to your seasonal menu? Keep it simple. You probably don’t want to add more than four or five seasonal offerings. Keeping it simple also saves on storage space and product waste. The more ingredients you stock that are used in multiple recipes the better. This way, if one drink doesn’t sell as well as you had hoped, the seasonal products you purchased will still be used.

How else can you design a seasonal menu that adds to your profits? Take a look at your metrics throughout the year to see which seasonal beverages were the most popular—and be sure to evaluate your profit margins for these drinks, as you’re creating them, as they are being sold, and as you transition into the next season.

You’ll also want to think about your pricing strategies for these drinks, taking into consideration factors like:

The Dilworth Coffee Crew: Your Go-To Guide All-Year Round

Your seasonal and holiday coffee drinks can be major showstoppers—and we know it. That’s why we are here with an extensive inventory of ingredients within our seasonal collections, specialty blends, and featured coffees to help you build a menu that gets your customers excited and helps your shop thrive through the seasons.

Since our founding so many years ago, we’ve helped 1,000+ coffee shops take off, bringing great coffee to tens of thousands of coffee connoisseurs. Together, our coffee crew has well over 100 years of experience in supporting coffee shops with their operations, covering everything from roasting and buying to menu development and boosting profit margins.

Our live support and services include everything you need to build a successful coffee shop business. Ready to discover how we can help you season after season? 

Connect with our coffee-loving crew today!
Previous article Proud to be NC Local
Next article What Licenses Do You Need to Open a Coffee Shop?

Blog posts