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Updated: Jul 18, 2021

For some time now, Cafe owners have known that a great name and branding of your name is paramount. Marketing your cafe 30 years ago was perhaps signs outside the cafe or letterbox dropping.

There might have been some advertisements in papers, or magazine listings.

Times have changed. As we move into the social media enhanced world, some cafes have found another way of branding their name.

The Side Hustle in today's cafes is what you are seeing more of but not really taken any notice of.

As I travel around my city to find the ultimate coffee, I realised that more and more cafes are branding differently. I had noticed this before, but not taken much notice of it. Until now.

I notice things like displays of t-shirts and shorts, hats and caps, socks and jumpers, pen holders, and wrist bands.

I suppose the reason why I have been noticing more these days is that more and more cafes are doing it and moreover what they're willing to do anything to get their brand name out there.

Call me old-fashioned, but I remember the only thing I would buy with brand names on them was anything to do with the great BRUCE LEE or the Italian soccer team, being its jerseys and socks. That was just me.

Would I wear something that has been branded with a cafes name? Depends on how much they pay me to showcase it. Kidding. No, I probably wouldn't. But some would.

That's what these cafes are banking on.

But seeing someone wearing socks from the local cafe doesn't make me run and buy a coffee.

So what is the appeal? Is it because it actually looks cool? maybe. Or is it because the more that people are aware of the cafe that it might bring in more customers? I should hope so.

The thing that has caught my eye lately is the different types of homemade sauces on offer.

This is not your normal tomato or barbeque sauces, but rather sauces made with spicy delicacies or fermented sauces, like the Koreans Kimchi sauce, or some of the Thai sauces on offer.

But can't I just buy them at the local foreign markets? Of course I can. But what are the chances of a European buying any of those Asian sauces? Probably none.

What these cafes are pushing for is that if you have some of the food at their cafes, you might just want to take some home. After all, haven't we all wanted some sort of recipe from a cafe or restaurant in the past? I know I have.

Starbucks was one of the first to offer it to its customers.

Starbucks thought, Coffee, cakes and food were ok, but what else can we offer customers?

The great Howard Shultz, who founded Starbucks, knew that eventually, Starbucks would have to offer more than just a comfortable chair with your ice coffee.

As much as he didn't want to ruin the premise of coffee culture, he knew that to get the attention of the global coffee world, he would have to broaden the brands name.

So he introduced, Take-home cups, Coasters, Cookies, Shirts, Packaging, and Take-home packaged coffee.

Among other things, Shultz introduced music CD's, in the 90"s, which was a plus, given the fact that (Kenny Gee, the musician), was one of the first investors in Starbucks. Kenny Gee's music set the scene and ambience of Starbucks cafes.

Essentially, The Side Hustle is a way of making money other than coffee and food.

More cafes today are catching on to this trend to bolster their margins and build

their brand name.

Offering traditional foods, biscuits, condiments from your cultural background gives cafes the edge and allows customers to sample delicacies from around the world.

And why would I buy a pair of socks or spicy sauce from a cafe? Why not? Perhaps it's the thought of making the same Kimchi burger or spicy chicken soup that you have just enjoyed or a soft drink that you would normally have to otherwise buy on your next trip.

Maybe I can have their t-shirt and socks on at home and it will give me the inspiration of cooking something amazing.

Perhaps it's that feeling of remembering the time you visited the country and couldn't wait to try the delicacy again.

The only question is, would you like Kimchi and socks, or pasta and a t-shirt with your coffee? :)


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