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How choosing the right chai can lead to coffee shop growth
A conversation with Aleczondra Selzer, owner of Mandala Chai, about what coffee shop owners should consider when choosing a chai for their menu.
At joe, we strive to help small businesses thrive through tools, technology and connecting shop owners with industry experts. From our data gathered, we see that warmer drinks are trending across the coffee community.
Being intentional around menu development presents opportunities for shop owners to differentiate from competition, as well as introduce new items to customers with the help of joe's automated loyalty marketing. All in the name of growth!
So we talked with chai and coffee expert Aleczondra Selzler, owner of Mandala Chai to learn about what coffee shop owners should consider when choosing a chai for their menu to maximize their bottom line. From quality and flavors, to prices, here's what she shared.
How and why did you create Mandala Chai?
I created Mandala a few years after stepping into the world of Coffee- after being a barista of four years in 2015, I noticed nearly every shop carried the exact same product because there were hardly any options. I decided to make my own- Cooking and formulating recipes is something I love and grew up with, so creating a new chai recipe came easy and natural for me. After just one week I brought my new recipe to my peers and they seriously encouraged me to sell it! After a few months, Mandala became a common name in the Northwest coffee culture. From Seattle WA, to Spokane and even Missoula, MT.
How can a good chai differentiate a shop from another?
You can have great coffee, but when every other item on the menu is the same as every other shop in your surrounding area… it makes you blend in. When you offer other products that match the quality of your coffee and service, such as a quality chai or tea line- THAT is when you begin to stand out to your customers and newbie’s! Who are now going to be repeat customers btw. ;)
When it comes to choosing a chai, what flavors and ingredients make a quality chai?
To us, the most important ingredients you can use are the whole spices. Cheap chai brands use a lot of sugar as a filler for flavor, even using artificial tea flavor as an ingredient. Wild, right? We use several different spices selected from farms across the globe. Our favorites are Cardamom, Star Anise, Black Peppercorn and Clove. Using things like fresh cut ginger and orange rind make a HUGE difference in the quality of a chai as well. I have found that it’s very common to find that more brands use dried ginger or ginger powder, missing the kick and flavor benefits of the fresh stuff.
What’s the benefit of using a concentrate?
The ease and quality of using a concentrate is a huge reason why most shops prefer a concentrate over a loose leaf or powdered chai. A fresh concentrate has to be brewed with real spices and tea and can be made in seconds. A loose leaf chai latte can take up to 5 minutes per order, and a powdered chai can make consistency difficult. Using fresh chai guarantees the most flavorful latte you can make.
How should shops balance quality vs price point?
We believe it’s important to have the best of both worlds, you want to make your profit margins sing and you want your customers to keep coming back for that one menu item (aka that chai they can’t get enough of because they’ve NEVER had anything like it before.) Your customers will thank you and keep paying for quality products that they love! A coffee shop is only as good as it's offerings. A great coffee shop always has a variety of quality beverage and food items to choose from.
Why is Mandala Chai the one to choose?
Choose us because we choose quality. We are baristas who know the coffee world inside and out. From roasting beans to managing coffee shops and making a killer cup of coffee- we know what it takes to make customers taste buds happy and have them coming back for more drinks. Mandala chooses single origin spices just like many shops choose their coffee beans. We value fair farming and believe it results in the best tasting spices to use in our chai. We will always use FRESH cut ginger and oranges in our brew as well as hand ground spices, making us stand out from the rest. Offering three different spice levels and sizes we are confident your customers AND baristas will be happy. From Sweet Spice to Spicy Chai, we got you covered.
Any creative recipes you’d recommend for shops who want to introduce a new drink to customers?
1. Vanilla Pumpkin Chai - For the shop who likes sweeter drinks
- 1/2 vanilla
- 1/2 pumpkin
- Milk, steamed or iced
2. Maple Orange Chai - For the shop who likes things straight up
- A touch of Maple syrup
- Fresh orange rind
- Milk, steamed or iced
3. Vanilla Chai Soda - Last but definitely not least, for the shop who loves to take risks
- 1/2 vanilla syrup
- Chai concentrate
- Sparkling water
- Orange rind
- Topped with cream or oat milk
- Plus a few drops of bitters
joe Point of Sale with built in tools and automated marketing engine does the work to get your unique menu offerings in front of customers, to increase purchase frequency and average ticket month over month.
Estimate your potential growth on joe through our growth calculator, linked below. Or email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org