7 Ways To Gather Customer Feedback At Your Coffee Shop

Small businesses can thrive or dive depending on things like customer perception, experience, and loyalty. As a business owner, one of the many responsibilities you should put on your plate day after day needs to involve actively gathering and learning from customer feedback. Choosing to invest in the customer in this way is especially important for owners and managers of coffee shops.

If you own a coffee shop, the present and future success of your business depends greatly on whether or not your customers are happy, loyal, and willing to tell their friends about you. In order to gauge whether happiness, loyalty, and word-of-mouth actually exists among your customers, you need to take the time to gather feedback from them. Here are seven ways that can help you get started:

1. Create a physical or digital survey

One of the most direct and effective ways to gather feedback from your customers is to create a survey. Surveys are typically made up of a handful of demographic, true/false, multiple choice, and short answer questions. If you regularly capture email addresses from your customers, you can consider creating a digital survey online using platforms like SurveyMonkeySurveyGizmo, Point ShoutGoogle Forms, and a number of other available services. If you haven’t started capturing email addresses at your coffee shop, you can easily create and print out physical surveys for your customers to fill out. Protip: let your customers turn their completed surveys in for a free drink! More on that later.

Some questions you could ask on your survey:

  • How many times do you visit our coffee shop per week?
  • How likely would you be to refer a friend to us?
  • What 3 changes or suggestions do you have that could make our coffee shop better?

Some tips for creating your survey:

  • Make your questions short and sweet
  • Use simple language
  • Keep questions relevant
  • Transition from general to more specific questions
  • Try to accommodate for all possible answers

2. Plan a private VIP focus group event

Another great way to gather customer feedback is to invite loyal customers to a private focus group event at your coffee shop. It’s no secret that consumers love feeling like they have VIP status. If you’re looking for information that can help you improve your business, look to your best and most loyal customers. More than likely, they will not only have valuable opinions and feedback to share with you, but also excited to help improve upon a business that they already love.

How to plan your focus group event:

  • Make a list of customers you’d like to invite
  • Reach out to those customers in person or over email (in person is best)
  • Give them event information and invite them to attend
  • Prepare food, drinks, and how you intend to capture feedback (written, recorded, etc.)

What to do at your event:

  • Start by thanking attendees for their business
  • Let people socialize and enjoy the food and drinks you have prepared
  • Have attendees sit together and begin asking your questions
  • Don’t be afraid to let the group go off-topic if the conversation is productive and helpful

3. Be proactive on social media

If you’ve taken the time to create an online presence for your business and have been regularly engaging with followers on Facebook and Twitter, you can easily use the sites as customer feedback tools. It’s always a good idea to be monitoring what people are saying about your business on social media sites, but taking a more proactive approach to gathering feedback from customers on the sites will help you not only capture specific information that can make your business better, but also connect you with the customers who care.

How to be proactive on social media:

  • Ask for feedback once a week (ex. Feedback Friday)
  • Post updates that let your followers know you’re listening
  • Let them know when changes have been made thanks to feedback someone made (show them you are listening)

You can gather feedback by:

  • Posting the question as an update
  • Sharing a link to a survey
  • Sharing a link to a blog post and ask followers to comment with feedback
  • Asking followers to email you directly

4. Build a team of “advisors”

You can also be proactive by reaching out to individual customers every so often as a way to gauge how you’re doing. If you have been able to develop an ongoing friendly relationship with a handful of people who consistently buy coffee at your shop, consider bringing them on board as volunteer “advisors.” Ask them if they’d be willing to provide feedback to you every so often over email. Send each person in your “advisor” group a customized email and ask them questions about your business and their experiences interacting with your team, buying your products, and spending time in your shop.

You can also ask them questions like:

  • “What will keep customers like you coming back to our shop?”
  • “What do you like about our coffee shop? What don’t you like as much?”
  • Is there anything we can do to make the experience better?”

When you send your emails out to individuals, make sure you:

  • thank them in advance for their help
  • let them know that you are willing and eager to listen
  • let them know that you value them as a customer

5. Offer an incentive

People like free stuff. You might have noticed that we hinted at this next customer feedback gathering strategy right at the end of the first suggestion we made, but we felt it was worth mentioning in more detail here. Another great way to gather customer feedback is by offering a reward or incentive to customers who are willing to help.

Types of incentives you could offer:

  • Free drink for filling out a survey
  • BOGO for attending a quick mini focus group
  • Discounts for joining a customer feedback email list

When to try this idea:

  • Times during the week that business is slow
  • Right after the holidays
  • When you’re thinking about launching something new

6. Listen to your employees

You might not realize it, but your employees can act as great barometers for what’s working or not working at your coffee shop. If you’re like other small business owners, your employees are probably in front of customers much more often than you are. It’s beneficial to take time to talk with them about what they are noticing and hearing when they are working shifts. Use the information they have to improve your business.

You can learn from them by:

  • Meeting once a week and talking about the week prior
  • Creating a system that allows them to submit suggestions or feedback they heard from customers
  • Offering extra perks for coming to you with “insider information” from customers they regularly interact with

Help your employees gather feedback by:

  • Reminding them to listen to customers
  • Giving them praise for being more involved
  • Encouraging them to be more friendly with customers

7. Use the ol’ tried and true suggestion box method

If all else fails or you find that you can’t implement any of the suggestions from above right away, you can always put together a simple suggestion box and place it somewhere in your coffee shop where customers will see it. When you let customers know that there is a way for them to offer suggestions, make complaints, or ask questions, you can start getting the type of helpful feedback that can make your business better.

What should you do with feedback once you get it?

Gathering feedback from customers at your coffee shop is important, but it’s meaningless if you don’t actually do anything once you get it. As a small business owner, you should constantly be working to find out how you can improve your business, your products, and the experience your customers have when they interact with you. When you get feedback, spend time going through it and talking with your team. Decide what is important, and what’s not. Then make changes accordingly. After making the changes, try to follow up with the person or group of people that originally gave you the feedback to see if they’ve noticed or appreciated any changes that were made. Invest in developing an ongoing relationship with these individuals. They’re the ones who can help keep your business afloat.


As the owner of a coffee shop, it’s your job to gather feedback from customers in order to learn how to improve the products you sell, the experience you create, and your business overall. You can start gathering more feedback by implementing one, two, or all of these ideas:

1. Create a physical or digital survey
2. Plan a private VIP focus group event
3. Be proactive on social media
4. Build a team of “advisors”
5. Offer an incentive
6. Listen to your employees
7. Use the ol’ tried and true suggestion box method

What are you doing to gather feedback from customers at your coffee shop or small business? Leave a comment below!

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