Would your number of loyal customers increase if you had the ability to carefully analyze your labor cost as a percentage of your sales? If you want to really make an impression on your customers, then using your labor costs and sales forecasting to schedule your staff will ensure each guest is adequately taken care of.

Every morning, I visit this locally-owned coffee shop, J&B Coffee Co., near the university that I attend. Like your own favorite coffee shop probably does, they boast organic coffee and tea, a healthy lunch menu, and some of the most scrumptious baked goodies you’ve ever had (Try the lemon poppy seed muffin!). Most days, one of my favorite baristas is already finishing my drink by the time I get to the counter, without me even having to ask for my Hot Dirty Chai. If they have time, they’ll swirl an elephant in the foam to match my forearm tattoo, but usually they just pour it into a heart-shape. I love these guys!

We all like to feel like a “regular”. It makes us feel welcome and like a member of a select community. Having the guys at J&B remember my name and my order each morning brightens my day and encourages me to remain a loyal customer. I know I cannot be alone in this. It’s the reason Cheers was so popular. It’s the thing we romanticize about small towns. And, perhaps most importantly, it’s a brilliant branding strategy for any business like J&B.

I’ll admit it. I’m shameless. Part of the reason I go there every morning, part of the reason I spend an obscene amount of money each week on gourmet coffee while my coffee maker collects dust is that I enjoy that sense of importance that comes from being a regular! It’s an eclectic kind of place where anyone would feel welcome, but it’s still full of loyal customers. I know these people too, now. Even before checking the backroom, I always know when one of my friends is there by checking the rack for his orange coffee mug.

I think it’s paying off, too! Since 1979, they’ve had all kinds of regulars, but they’ve always had familiar faces they can depend on. J&B loyalty runs deep in Lubbock. Other independent coffee shops have opened and fizzled here in Lubbock, but J&B seems constant. My guess is that it’s the personal touch the staff gives each customer that solidifies J&B’s place in its customers’ hearts. They can count on people like me coming back.

In fact, I wonder what would happen if all of J&B’s customers were like me. An entire customer-base of regulars? What would that mean?

Well, having consistent clientele means being able to anticipate customer needs and never running out of supplies. I know how much I hate it when I get there just after they’ve run out of chai. So, in a perfect world, they’d know I was coming…after that other guy! And what about staffing? Loyal customers tend to come at the same time everyday, so in this “Regulars Only Coffee Club”, there would always be enough people to handle that morning rush.

But luckily, it’s not all regulars. People get to discover the magic of J&B every day. With that, sometimes it’s hectic there. Even the most skilled baristas can be found frantically trying to keep up. Maybe you can relate in your business. Do you ever feel like you need a crystal ball to keep up with the changing demand?

Maybe you should consider the sales analysis tools from TimeForge. Let TimeForge compare your sales to the labor cost to schedule the employees you need to take care of your customers. With adequate staffing during your busiest times, you can make all your customers feel like regulars!