Five Tips for Cafe Success

Posted on June 3, 2016 by Ash Bennett

There’s a common consensus that coffee is good business. And it’s inspiring a lot of people to want to venture into the café industry. But success is not as simple as just knowing how to make a good cuppa. There are many elements that will ensure your café is a hit, and it all starts with picking the right place to set up shop.

1) Right Location

Sourcing the perfect spot to launch your café venture is no easy task. There are many factors to take into consideration and it’s highly unlikely that one place will tick all the boxes. It’s about finding the one you’re most comfortable dealing with the trade-offs on.

Ideally you need a space that has already been used as a café – this will reduce a lot of the headaches that can occur when starting from scratch. It will likely come with the legal permits you need, will be equipped with the right machinery, and have a layout to facilitate your café design.

One non-negotiable when it comes to picking the right place is access to foot traffic. While you don’t need to be in the busiest location, you do need to be in a position where people will already be walking in front of your café, and therefore more likely to walk in and buy a coffee. It’s striking the right balance between an up and coming area with less competition, but a high level of potential customers.

Additionally, parking is your friend so the more car parks you can secure the better, as this will entice people driving past to pull in and take a coffee break.

2) Right Planning

While choosing the right location is part of your business plan, there are so many other areas you need to check off to ensure your venture will be a success. A lot of time will be spent in the initial stages working out which products you’re going to supply, at what price point to ensure a high margin, and what suppliers you can work with to ensure reliability, good service and reasonable costs.

Researching suppliers will involve a lot of ringing around for comparisons and will be time consuming, but it will hone your negotiating skills and ensure you’ve set yourself up to provide the right products to your customers. Online searches are gold for cutting down on some of the research time and can allow you to sharpen the price point with your suppliers.

3) Right Staff

You cannot run a café on your own, no matter how lean you need to be or how good you think you are! There will always be a time when you need a bathroom break, and what will your customers do then?

At the very least you need a qualified barista. And not qualified in the sense of having a sleeve of tattoos or a hipster beard. You need top-notch coffee skills to produce the perfect caffeine drop for your customers, complete with latte art. And it doesn’t hurt for it to be served with a sparkle of personality – you want your barista to care as much for your customers as you do. So ensure they take the time to learn names, orders, and raise a smile no matter how early in the morning. People may pop in once for a great cup of coffee, but they’ll keep coming back for a great personal connection.

While you can’t do everything solo, you should expect to get your hands dirty. In fact, it’s highly recommended at least in the initial stages of getting the business off the ground. By working in each area, you’ll soon learn what processes need streamlining, what products are resonating best with your customers and what areas of service need to be improved. This information is golden for bettering the business and guaranteeing its future success, so don’t shy away from being hands-on, and saving yourself a few bucks in the process on extra staff.

4) Right Customers

You need to have a clear idea of what kind of customers you’re hoping to attract to your business. This will inform everything from location, to design, what products you need to stock, and the type of marketing you need to produce. By understanding what makes your customers tick, you can tailor your service and offering to them. Your goal is to ensure yours is the café they call into during their morning coffee break.

No matter the type of clientele you’re looking to draw to your café, the bottom line is that you and your staff should treat everyone that comes in equally. You want your customers to feel like they’re important to you, and, if you end up treating them well, word will spread.

5) Right Marketing

Having a great location and brewing the best drop of coffee will only get you so far. There’s simply too much competition out there to ensure customers beat a path to your door – instead, you must get out there and battle for each and every one.

If you start marketing the day you open, you’re already behind the eight ball. On opening day, you already want people to be excited to come in. To do that, you need to start marketing several months before you open. Affordable marketing options include flyer drops, free samples, social media, local event marketing, direct mail campaigns, and PR to name a few. Leverage everything at your disposal to ensure your potential customers know you’re there and what makes your café different.

Another piece of golden advice is to network, network, network! Do all you can to create and maintain connections to the area and build relations with your local residents. Tips for this include joining the local chamber of commerce, a business association, or a local charity.

These are of course just five small tips to set you on the path to café success. Be brave, be bold and be prepared– and be ready for an exciting ride.

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