Becoming a “Benchwarmer”

5 Mar

Catching a whiff of a money-making idea doesn’t just “happen.” A group can sit down for days and not come up with anything of value. It’s a multi-step process typically starting with a brainstorm session (or multiple sessions) to which births a possible gem. Our group believes to have found that gem – or fragment of gem.

While brainstorming, a pattern seemed to occur. Today’s coffee-shop culture can be broken into specific target groups or characters if you will. According to, 10 characters can be identified in every coffee shop. The character who had the most potential of becoming lucrative was the “benchwarmer.” The BW is described as the following: “…that one guy who sits on the bench right outside our favorite coffee spot each morning…” Presumably known to most of us as the “regular.” Every coffee shop has regulars. At times, they are simply the friendly faces sitting in their corner booth. At other times, they are the lifeblood of the shop. Why not target the folks who bring in a steady flow of income to your business?

We’re not suggesting we squeeze the BWs dry because that would be counterproductive. We suggest giving incentives to regulars, thus gaining total loyalty. Also, our services would attract customers who weren’t totally smitten until knowing our business caters to those who frequent most. A win-win situation that few businesses cultivate.

Our conglomerate competitor Starbucks does a great job of creating regulars. Those who love their local coffee shops may feel dejected by the little recognition they receive currently though they patronize the shop religiously, or maybe their wallets have shrunk due to our poor economy. Regardless, Starbucks absorbs other shops’ caffeine-addicts easily. Why? Because there are things like the Gold Membership card, which I proudly own, that gives incentives to those who come in more than once a year. It’s almost as if it’s a game. The more stars or points you receive, the more “loyal” you are to the company. This is the way a business should cater to its customers.

To compete with other local shops, or even Starbucks with its over-concentration retail strategy, our group has “created” the regular ringup program. Upon downloading the app we created, a regular to our shop could have his or her normal order preset so that once s/he crosses through the shop’s doorway his/her order will be processed. The regular is happy. The coffee shop appreciates the shortening of the line, and the shop’s knowledge of what people want is expanded by the use of this app.

The coffee-shop culture has become such a strong trend within our society that Neil Pasricha’s book “The Book of Awesome” projects the yearning many people have to become a regular. His blog, which is a live extension of his book, is quoted saying, “There’s something special about becoming a regular and feeling that human connection in your human heart. When you visit your favorite joint it’s like welcome back to your corner stool, welcome back to your favorite table, welcome back to your perfect order.” It may not be a coffee shop, but it’s a concept strongly connected to such.

People want to belong. People want to have a purpose. That’s why our business should give them one and make money doing it.

Author: Matt Mazick
Contributing members: Brooke Simmons and Min Soo Suh

Works cited:

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