Wake up and smell the coffee – Twitter works!

Here’s an interesting story on Twitter success in the coffee shop business written by Erik Bratt at MarketingProf.

” The Coffee Groundz

Company: Started in 2007, the Coffee Groundz is a coffee shop, bar and all-round “hang-out” joint.  Twitter address: @coffeegroundz

 The Houston-area coffee shop was just another coffee shop—until it found Twitter. Today, the Coffee Groundz is ground zero among local social media fans, and sales have soared.


Like all small businesses, the Coffee Groundz sought to distinguish itself. Coffee shops tend to be a dime a dozen, so it is very hard to get noticed. Since opening two years ago, the owners of the Coffee Groundz had tried several methods to get new customers and increase sales. They tried print ads in local community magazines and newspapers, radio spots, and even working with local non-profit groups. Nothing seemed to work or deliver the type of impact that Coffee Groundz desired. Then, early last fall, one of the owners began using something called Twitter. 


In September 2008, the managing partner at the Coffee Groundz, J.R. Cohen, began using Twitter informally to interact with friends and customers. One month later, Cohen was in the back of the shop when he received a tweet from a customers asking if he could get a breakfast wrap to go. The exchange went like this:

maslowbeer @coffeegroundz I want to pre order a bkfast wrap so I can zip thru to get back for gas man. c’est possible? 

coffeegroundz (Cohen): @maslowbeer Oui. What do you want on it?

Just like that, history was made: the first go-to order on Twitter. A couple of Houston Chronicle reporters noticed the exchange, and the Coffee Groundz ended up receiving a lot of publicity over the exchange. And Cohen took advantage of it. He started building a vibrant community on Twitter by interacting with Coffee Groundz customers, taking their orders, posting tweets about the local music scene, giving tips on how to make better coffee at home, etc. Soon, he began hosting local tweet-ups, impromptu gatherings of local Twitter users. His biggest event was the Obamainauguration, which he organized on the fly less than 24 hours before the event. More than 250 people showed up to drink coffee, nosh on sandwiches, and watch history being made.


The Coffee Groundz is now widely regarded as a hip, tech-savvy place for local social media fans to get a fabulous cup of coffee. The number of Twitter followers has swelled to more than 5,500 at last count, and Cohen said business has increased 20 percent to 30 percent since October. The Coffee Groundz has integrated Twitter into its overall operations, using it to take food orders and special requests (such as opening a bottle of wine and letting it breathe), offer exclusive deals, communicate with customers, and organize in-store events. The store’s Twitter address, @coffeegroundz, now adorns water bottles, t-shirts and aprons.

Business Lessons Learned:

  • Use Twitter to communicate with customers and build a community.
  • Consider integrating Twitter into your business operations.
  • Leverage tweet-ups and other events

You can find the original article and 10 more Twitter case studies put together by Erik Bratt at MarketingProf here 

Do you have any Twitter success stories to share? We would love to hear them. We have some more we have collected here from Scotland, and more from Russell Allert at BakedSocialMedia

Take a Twitter workshop


About jonhartl

Jon Hartley is a former manager in international online and traditional publishing. He has over 20 years experience in marketing, training, editing, copywriting and translation.Jon Hartley Internet Marketing is a collective of professionals expert in all aspects of internet including design and IT

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *