Many people around the world start their day with a cup of fresh coffee. If you’re one of the caffeine lovers, you probably spend a lot of time exploring new hip and trendy coffee shops in your town. The coffee industry is booming, and this can be a good sign if you’re thinking about starting your own business. Opening a new café can be quite challenging, though.
Large-scale coffee chains may seem like an unbeatable opponent, but more and more people seem to choose small independent coffee shops. With a unique design and a high-quality coffee, you’ll be on a good way to stand out in the (coffee) crowd. Here are some helpful hints that you should take into account if you’re thinking of opening your café.
1. Show your customers that you care.
It’s important to create a place that expresses your vision to the point, but your employees should do the same. Every customer finds it important that they feel comfortable in a café but the service is what takes the cake. Of course, hiring people with experience is a plus, but having the right attitude is a trait you want your employees to have.
When the customers walk in, greet them and use their name if you know it. Asking them how they are will make them feel special. When you treat people nicely and put their needs above yours, it’s highly likely that they will become your loyal, regular customers.
2. Keep people curious.
Let’s be honest, the competition in the cafe industry is tough. We’re telling you this not to discourage you but to inspire you to be creative with your menu. If you’re offering the same types of beverages and sweets like any other cafe in town, people won’t have a strong reason to choose your place over some other. The general rule of thumb you should follow when it comes to creating your menu is Less is more. Instead of trying to please everyone, keep it simple.
Go for fewer products, have one or two classics, some of the new and unexpected ones, and make sure you include some of the gluten-free and vegan options as well. Add some seasonal special and change them accordingly. Play with tastes and keep people curious. That will undoubtedly keep the customers coming back to your cafe.
3. Choose a unique theme for your cafe.
To make your cafe stand out from all others, you need to have a unique theme. To be able to achieve that, you need to do some market research first. Go to every cafe in town you can and take notes. Learn from your competition. The range of cafe themes is usually great and you’ll want something not so ordinary for your place.
Look for a theme that will capture customers’ curiosity. If you have a place for sitting outside, consider installing pergolas or similar shade structures. There are many professionals like those from Pioneer Shade that will tailor-made the shade specifically for your cafe. They come in many different shapes and materials, so you’ll be able to incorporate the shade into your overall design. These are not only stylish but functional as well. After all, caring for your customers means sheltering them from bad weather conditions, right?
4. Work on marketing.
Like every small business out there, you probably have a limited marketing budget. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t pull an effective marketing campaign. First of all, you have two options – you can either hire a marketing expert or you can do the job yourself. The latter will require far more time and energy, but in the end, you’ll gain skills in a new field which always a good thing. Luckily, we live in an era where you can automate almost every aspect of your business. That includes marketing, too.
For example, as you probably know, u can increase your sales by regularly offering daily or weekly specials on social media. These platforms allow you to schedule your posts, so instead of spending time every week on editing posts, you can finish them all in one day and decide when they’ll run and for how long. This is probably one of the best time-saving tips when it comes to online marketing.
5. Take advantage of social media.
Millions and millions of people around the world spend hours on social media networks every day. It is a powerful channel through which you can introduce the world to your business. And the best thing of all – it’s free. It cost you nothing to create a profile for your cafe. If you want to use these platforms for marketing, you’ll need to invest a certain amount of money for ads. Facebook is without a doubt one of the most popular platforms out there.
Not only does it provide some basic information about a cafe, but it also enables you to see customer reviews, photos, and menus. On the other hand, if you want to focus on the visual, then Instagram is the platform for you. With high-quality images and tempting visuals, you’ll attract a lot of new customers.
6. Location is everything.
This may be one of the most important factors in the success of your cafe business. Although there is no magic formula that can help you choose the right location, there are still some things that can help you along the way. First of all, know who your target market is. Are they families, business people, Instagram-loving students, or perhaps digital nomads? This will help you to narrow down your search when it comes to demographics.
Think about area traffic and visibility. You want your cafe to be easily accessed so it can attract more customers. Finally, you have to consider the competition. Whether your cafe is surrounded by 2 or 22 coffee shops can play a major role in the success of your business. If you live in a big city, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be able to find a busy location with no competition in sight, but it’s still easier to stand out in a less crowded area.
7. Learn how to deal with the complaints.
It’s always a pleasure dealing with happy customers. However, now and then, you’ll come across a complaint or two. As unpleasant as the situation can be, there are ways to deal with them smoothly. The general rule of thumb is – the customer is always right.
However, it’s not always so black and white. So, listen carefully to whatever they have to say. Only by doing this will you be able to find the solution to the problem. When the customer feels that you’re willing to listen to their complaints and do something about it, the chances are that you’ll agree with ease.
8. Get to know the market
Sure, you have visualized this amazingly themed coffee shop, but what if there are already similar places in your surroundings? Before you start working on your vision, you must research the market if you want to run a successful business. By visiting different cafes, you’ll get an insight into the things that work (and those that don’t) so you can learn from their experience and incorporate some of it into your place.
As you can see, opening your café doesn’t have to be a crazy-making experience. Following these tips will ensure you have all the key points on your checklist covered. This way, you can enjoy more and worry less while sipping a cup of coffee in your new favourite place in town.