Cafes are good business, no matter how you look at it. There are over 100 million coffee drinkers in the US looking for the next best place to get their daily dose of caffeine. Admittedly, the competition is fierce. Huge brands like Starbucks have monopolized the majority of the market. But more and more people are turning to independent, small businesses in an effort to boost the local economy. What’s more? Small cafes can offer higher quality products and personalized service. So, if you’re thinking of testing these waters, read on for a complete guide to setting up an impressive cafe.
Come Up With a Quirky Brand Name
You want your business to stand out. An easy way to do this is with its name. Brand names that hold a pun tend to be particularly successful, due to their memorable and unique nature. Remember to copyright your brand to avoid copycat competitors from taking it.
Invest in Quality
The main focus of any cafe should be good quality coffee. This is what your company will centre itself around. So make sure that what you are serving is good. Try to use organic, fair trade beans. Educate yourself on the different types and the different tastes that they provide. You should be able to talk to your customers about the sources of what they are consuming. If possible, visit the places that your beans are grown. Get to know their roots.
Many coffee shops focus solely on the drinks. Perhaps offering a cake or pastry on the side. But sometimes customers want a little more. Your cafe can exploit this gap, offering high-quality drinks, cakes and pastries and a small food menu. There’s no need for anything too expensive or extravagant. But breakfast options and light snacks will draw in a bigger audience. What’s more? The longer people stay eating, the more drinks they are likely to order and the greater profit you will generate! Perfect. So, invest in a small kitchen and some competent chefs. You won’t need Michelin star standards, but you want the food to be good quality and consistent. To remove the need for specialist knowledge, invest in equipment that can do more complex tasks. For example, skinning machines to prepare fish for dishes. Remember to include options for all dietary requirements on the menu to maximize your potential customer base. Vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options always go down well.
Cafes are places where most people will want to sit and stay a while. Whether they’re doing work, reading a book, meeting a friend or stopping for a bite to eat. So make sure that your interior is comfortable and aesthetically pleasing. Keep things minimal. This is where you can really stand out from major chains. Your store will be unique and individual, without the standard furniture and layout that is uniform throughout chains. Try to keep lighting relatively dim or have an abundance of natural light. Harsh, bright, artificial lighting doesn’t appeal to many.
Photo by Matt Hoffman
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