We get many questions, comments and emails regarding an array of topics here at Taylor Maid Farms. The following email is one I wanted to share because it hit on a question about our can refill pricing, a topic many of our customers don’t have a lot of insight about. This year we began to change the pricing structure of our Can Refill discount. Please, take a moment and read the following interaction between me and Bob about our change.
If you have questions or comments, do not hesitate to connect with me any time. I value our customers and am always trying my best to over the best product and company to support possible.
Thank you – Rob Daly
Original Email from Bob
From: Bob . . .
Date: July 5, 2012 7:01:24 AM PDT
To: christaylormaidfarmsco (christaylormaidfarmscom) m
Subject: Can Re-Use Program
I have been a loyal customer for about three years. I have been re-using the same cans and receiving the discount. I understand there has been a change in the Can Re-Use Program such that now it is only $1.00 off the regular price. I like your coffee, but you may be losing a loyal customer.
Either one of the following two possible solutions would bring me (and perhaps others) back:
1) $3.00 discount for re-used cans, or
2) Re-use Once Program: I buy a can of coffee and the retail clerk puts a sticker on it at the time of purchase. I return with the can to refill it and purchase for 50% off. The clerk marks the sticker with an “X” and I cannot use the same can again for refill. In the transition, loyal customers, who already have cans, can bring in their cans for refill, purchase at 50%, and, again, the clerk marks the sticker with an “X.”
This rewards your loyal customers and is a reasonable solution for you to maintain a healthy business.
Perhaps you have another idea. Right now, you have lost a loyal customer, and I suspect I am not the only one.
–bob . . .
Response from Rob Daly – Taylor Maid Farms
On Jul 17, 2012, at 11:14 AM, Rob Daly wrote:
I am sorry for the delay in responding to your email. Chris sent it my way last week. I appreciate the time you took to reach out to us and provide some feedback about our can refill program. I also like that you put some ideas down for the can refill program. I will provide a little insight to the plan changes so you know why we have changed it.
The refill program started just a couple years after we started packing in cans; 1995. At that time it was easy to set a flat price for the program. As you know, much has changed from that year. The biggest impact we ran into last year was a green coffee price that jumped from the average $1.80 per pound it had been up to $3.40. We did all we could as the price went up and up with no end in sight! Just on the green pricing alone we found ourselves actually at a negative margin on many of our coffees. Now today our coffee still averages in the $3 per pound range.
The self serve and flat rate price also gave our customers the freedom to pack more than the original 10oz of coffee in the can (which was the original idea of re-filling it to the original volume). Because all coffee is different in size and weight, many customers were finding that about 14 oz. of some coffees were able to fit in the can. At a flat price of say $8, that coffee is now .57 cents per ounce for some customers, while it was .80 cents an ounce for others! That didn’t seem fair.
With the cost of the coffee and production so high and the over packing of the can by our customers we also found that we were giving almost $400 a week of unaccounted for coffee away. No business is sustainable that way.
This was the hardest change we’ve had to make, because many customers only looked to us as a cheap coffee. We never looked at ourselves that way and never will. We buy the best coffee we can find and support organic practices and farmers all over the world. I hoped that our community would continue to support us because of the good we do and because we are a small company trying to make it (still even 19 years after we started).
While I appreciate you asking for $3 off for the refill, that puts us at anywhere from -$.30 cents to + $1.06 per can sold ( with our most popular can refills of Goat Rock Roast and Red Roosters French Roast (selling at 5 to 1 against the rest of our line) at the negative $ .30 cents). The “X” marking of the can and for the most part taking it our of commission unfortunately defeats the purpose of reusing our packaging. Because we use a reusable package and refill program, we save the need to waste 500 bags per week!
I hope I provided enough information and not to much at the same time. This has been the hardest change we’ve had to make and one that our customers are very passionate about, however one we needed to be sustainable.
I’d really like to post your email on our web site. I know others have ideas and questions. Do you mind if I do that? Also, I would like to talk with you in more detail if you’d like to talk. Please connect with me when you have time.
Taylor Maid Farms Organic Coffee and Tea
o: 707.824.9110 x 12
e: robtaylormaidfarmscom (robtaylormaidfarmscom)
Response from Bob
I appreciate your detailed response. I buy your coffee for several reasons: 1) The coffee tastes great, 2) You are a local, small business supported by Oliver’s, 3) Your company is actively attempting to reduce landfill waste by the Refill Program, 4) You use a Fair Trade philosophy and buy organic coffee from sustainable farms, and 5) The price is reasonable.
I do wish you roasted the Gayo Mountain in decaf. You did for a while. Do you plan to offer it again? I love the flavor.
Again, thank you for taking the time to reply to my email. You have kept a loyal customer. Feel free to reprint my emails.
–bob . . .