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How to Appeal to Millennials: Coffee Shops

Posted on Monday Aug 14, 2017 at 09:29AM in General

Millennials have surpassed Baby Boomers as the nation's largest living generation, according to population estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau. Another fact about millennials is that they love coffee. In fact, they love coffee so much, research says millennials consume 44% of coffee in the United States.

Quality coffee is important but so is the ambiance and environment millennials drink coffee in. Drinking good coffee in an inviting, eco-friendly environment has become trendy. It's the socially acceptable way of getting that extra oomph to get through your day, week, and year. As a millennial myself, I prefer coffee with my oxygen. It is necessary for survival! When Monday arrives and your Sunday "scaries" become reality - the only comfort is your beloved coffee giving you the superpower strength to get through the work day.

If millennials are consuming all of what's left of the world’s coffee supply , then you need to appeal to that consumer. Hill & Markes, Inc. has the top 5 ways coffee shops can appeal to millennials.

Cafe Kubal with Custom Print Hot Cups

Custom Print = Free Social Media Advertising

Millennials are technologically savvy and they are attached to their mobile phone. So much so, that they've been accused of being addicted! You can use this “addiction” to your advantage. Since millennials document their every move by checking in and sharing their experiences on various social media platforms, you have an opportunity to get free advertising to an extremely large audience with minimal effort on your end. If 69% of millennials take photos or videos of food before they eat or drink and your name is printed on a sleeve, napkin, or coffee cup - your brand recognition is immediately elevated and advertised by your target audience to your target audience.

Hill & Markes, Inc. offers a comprehensive custom print program. It is a value-added program that offers printed sleeves, cups, bags and napkins. We recently partnered with Coffee Kubal and facilitated the implementation of their re-branding, this was their excited reaction:

We couldn't have imagined a smoother, simpler and better partnership than the one we have created together. Our brand is shining bright like a black diamond because of the hard work and dedication you put in for us .

Our sales representative and fellow millennial, Jim Paige, Jr., has this to say about custom print programs, “When my fiance and I go out to dinner, grab a cup of coffee, or a quick drink at a bar, we snap pictures of our experience to share with our friends on various forms of social media. What would that mean for your business in terms of brand recognition and new customer growth? I see a company believes so much in their image and brand, that they customize their consumables. It's that extra effort that makes a difference."

Be proud of your image and your customers will share it for you.

Sustainability and Eco-Friendly Products

Studies show that millennials are willing to pay more for sustainable goods and products. Millennials are envrionmentally motivated and believe in buying based on their values. Businesses need to prioritize environmental responsibility if they want to cash out on millennial buying habits. Millennials are more civic-centric and believe in supporting causes that are impacting the planet in a positive way. If your ideal consumer strongly believes in eco-friendly products- you need to get on board.

Hill & Markes, Inc. offers an extremely special Sustainability program. We care about the future of our planet. So much so, we’ve invested in our own state of the art LEED Certified facility. It is a priority to partner with the most sustainable-focused manufacturers in the industry and provide the most sustainable products. Here is a list of what we offer that is kind to our planet:

  • Compostable Products
  • Bio-Degradable Products
  • Green Products
  • Reusable Products

Check out our Compostable Catalog

Compostable Catalog

We offer these eco-friendly products in cups, plates, packaging, and toiletry. We have everything you need for your coffee shop. Millennials are passionate about eco-friendly products and they are your biggest consumer. Partner with a distributor that shares those values *cough cough*.

Green Cleaning Supplies

Quality coffee is important. But, the environment accompanying the coffee is equally as important to millennials. It’s all about the ambiance. The act of drinking coffee is more than receiving an energy boost, it is a full blown social activity. It is the norm for friends meet up for coffee and a bagel just to catch up.

In this new working age, younger demographics spend their days working and studying in coffee shops. Consumers aren’t just buying coffee and leaving, they are staying for longer periods of time and buying more coffee - all in one sitting! Millennials are willing to spend more on a high quality coffee experience to get the full feel of coffee culture. If millennials are spending longer amounts of time in your coffee shop, you need to have the right environment.

This starts with being clean. Even If you have the best quality coffee in the world, millennials won’t be willing to spend time at your shop if your business is dirty. Hill & Markes, Inc. partners with companies like Tennant and Ecologic to offer you chemical-free cleaning. Now we can offer you sustainable products you can be confident won’t hurt our environment when they go down the drain. We already mentioned millennials believe in eco-friendly, green products. That entails more than just reusable cups and compostable plates but also, the cleaning chemicals you use for your floor and machinery. Go green folks, the millennials will love you for it

Check Out our Sustainability Catalog

Number Three

Modern Oats Variety

Clean Foods

Now that we established the importance of a clean environment, we need to tackle the importance of health-conscious food items. It is safe to say that millennials are passionate about sustainability and eco-friendly products, just scroll up. So it makes sense that they lean toward healthier lifestyle choices. According to data collected by marketing firm, The Halo Group, 65% of adults born after 1978 consult either a nutritionist, dietician (58%), family or friends (57%) or a personal trainer (54%) about their food choices. Millennials are actively educating themselves on nutrition.

Yes, we want the bagels and sandwiches, but offering alternative healthy food items gives you a more dynamic food selection that aligns with your core customer. Guess what? Hill & Markes, Inc. has a Clean Foods program to assist you in offering alternative healthy food options to balance out your selection.

Check out some of the clean food items we offer that are perfect for your coffee shop. Offerings include:

Clean Foods Offerred


The best type of dining experience starts with the service. Serve your coffee with a smile, have fun, and love what you do. That sells itself!

Interested in our Coffee Shop Program? Click here for more information!

Katie Bruno - Hill & Markes Marketing Assistant and Social Media Specialist

Katie Bruno is originally from Peru, but recently moved to Amsterdam, NY after graduating college with a Communication degree from UAlbany. Oh, not that Peru, a small town in upstate NY. Fueled by coffee, she passionately blogs about all things wholesale and uses her addiction to social media for the greater good of the company.

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