Tailoring Your Café’s Unique Ambiance to Fit Your Target Market

Posted on April 13, 2017 by Ash Bennett

Tailoring Your Café’s Unique Ambiance to Fit Your Target Market

The keystone of any successful business model is target market analysis, and this holds true even for the sidewalk café that attempts to draw in any and all passersby as potential clientele. There’s nothing wrong with welcoming everyone, from business executives en route to meetings, to soccer moms jonesing for a break, to college students in need of a corner and a power outlet. But when you, as the shop owner, take the time to analyze your niche market, your chances of scoring repeat patrons soars.

Once you have your coffee shop’s target market in mind, you can begin taking mindful steps to cater to it specifically, and one of the most important ways you will do this is by tweaking the ambiance of your café.

Implementing Your Vibe

Let’s start with the bigger picture. What about the mood and feel of your coffee shop can you control? Is your space lofty and open, or can it be better described as cozy? You may not be able to change the size of your locale without a major overhaul, but décor options varying from paint colors to art pieces can dramatically alter your perception of your surroundings. Find out if you want to call attention to high ceilings or to window seat-inspired comfort. Is your shop frequented by packs of college students or by high net worth customers meeting friends during their leisure hour? Let your seating reflect that. Figure out who you want to attract, and make your café attractive accordingly.

Don’t Forget the Little Things

More often than not, the ambiance is in the details, and even those that may appear to be too miniscule for notice can make an unconscious impression of the overall vibe of your coffee shop. Take a moment to consider what straws you are stocking. Are they cute, colorful striped paper straws? Or are they of the more staid clear plastic variety? Do they jibe well with your décor, or do they subtly detract from the atmosphere you are trying to construct? There is no clear-cut correct answer here, no one-straw-fits-all; rather, your café’s décor and utensil style is as unique as the food and drinks you proffer.

Likewise, a printed coffee cup versus a plain one can make all the difference, depending on whether your coffee shop’s style leans more towards the hip and fun or to the clean and minimal. Take care in making these purchasing decisions, and don’t be afraid to experiment until you find what works best for your shop.

Finally, here are a couple of universal caveats to keep in mind:
 Even if your market is business people, try not to make your café so business-like that it calls forth notions of a cafeteria. Smatterings of personality here and there are always appreciated.
 Always keep a close ear on the genres and volume of the music you play: students, for example, may appreciate a loud concert anywhere but the coffee shop they’ve chosen to study in.

Crafting your own unique style is an ongoing process, and sometimes it can be frustrating to generate the right fit. In your quest to offer the tastiest drinks and nibbles, don’t ignore how your café’s setting makes your guests feel.

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