A café on the NSW coast is using a simple but innovative marketing technique, and it is paying dividends for both the business and customers alike.
Seven Mile Beach Kiosk in Gerroa, south of Wollongong, is offering discounted coffees to customers. The catch is they have to say the word “please” with their order.
A sign out the front of the café advertises the discount, with a normal takeaway coffee costing $5. However, if customers say the word “please” the price drops to $4.50, and if they also throw in a “good morning” then the price comes down to $4.
The café’s sign has gone viral online, with a post on Ballarat’s local radio station Power FM receiving more than 38,000 likes and more than 7000 shares.
Speaking to SmartCompany this morning, Seven Mile Beach co-owner Kylie Pickett said the media attention the business has received since the sign went viral on social media has been “just crazy”.
“All around our kiosk we have quirky signs – there are little things like that everywhere,” she says.
“One of our staff members was in Adelaide and spotted a similar sign out there. We just adapted it and it just has happened to be seen by the right people.”
Pickett says the sign has been at the front of the store for about three months, and everyone from local newspapers to BBC radio in London have been interested in speaking to her about it.
However, she points out that the surcharge for not saying “please” or “good morning” is not something the business strictly enforces.
“The whole idea behind it is to put a smile on people’s faces before they come in the door,” she says.
“For all the guys who work here it’s such a nice experience. To say please it takes a second and it makes all the difference.”
Pickett says while they sign has garnered a lot of attention, she never intended it to go viral.
“You could never work a marketing campaign around this, it would never happen,” she says.
“You can’t pick what will work and what won’t. But we’ve had so much fun with it this week. All the local and regular customers have loved it.”
Instead, Pickett says the key lesson she has learnt over the past few days is how powerful social media can be as a way for a business to promote itself – even if it is done unintentionally.
“Something so simple as being polite has translated so madly around the world,” she says.
“It’s hit a nerve with the industry too. I think it’s at the heart of everything we do in the hospitality industry – we really try hard to make it a nice experience. It’s those couple of people that come in that aren’t polite that really wreck your week.”
Still, Pickett says there is nothing stopping other small businesses from trying a similar marketing tactic – all it takes is some chalk and relatively neat handwriting.
“It’s nothing we’ve created ourselves… We really encourage everyone else to do the same thing.”