Running this cafe is not an easy task and there are quiet a few things that we’ve learned in our history of operation about running a successful cafe.
If you’re planning to start your own cafe, here are a few key things that you can learn from our experience:
Don’t Give In To The Competition
Coffee shops are among the only places where smaller shops are at an advantage. They aren’t supposed to be all luxurious and high maintenance! In fact customers prefer a comfortable and friendly shop that serves good coffee to a high and mighty cafeteria.
Therefore don’t be overwhelmed if there are imposing cafeterias and tall glass buildings in the city, the contents of the cup matter the most. Also the quality of service that you’ll get at branded shops with numerous outlets all over the place is nowhere close to an experience at an independently owned coffee shop.
High margins don’t guarantee profits
Only keeping a high price range and margins is not enough; at the end of the day it all boils down to how many cups of coffee you sell.
According to the founder of La Bogetta Milanese, Alex Galatino, “Having a high margin on a small ticket value is not the same as having a low margin on a high ticket value.” Also introducing special varieties of coffee can be cumbersome as it involves lengthy and expensive testing, tastings and processing.
Think Outside The Box
High demand automatically translates to cut throat competition in the market, where conventional or ordinary marketing tactics won’t work. You need to implement some unique strategies to capture the attention of the customers.
Originality and an unconventional approach go a long way in creating a solid and loyal customer base. Learn to take risks; for instance, Black Sheep was the first coffee company to introduce 100% Robusta coffee at the time when everyone believed Arabica was the only special coffee in the market.
Another example is of Workshop Coffee where customers are served on-the-spot roasted coffee, a first in London. You can also opt for a coffee shop cum bar framework like Grind & Co. where they serve steaming cups of delicious during day and cocktails at night!
You Cannot Compromise On Quality
We’ve repeatedly stressed on the supremacy of independent coffee shops over branded ones. It does not mean they are ‘good’ by default. Customers may walk into a new shop once but only top quality coffee will guarantee any future visits and recommendations. We personally use only the best brands of coffee makers for our cafe. We went for one of the top single serve espresso machines listed on Freshpresso. However, if you have the budget for it, I’d suggest going for a more
After all, the basic purpose of coffee shops is to deliver a memorable cup of coffee, every time! And with new high tech coffee making techniques and flavours popping up every day, it becomes all the more important that you serve only the best.
Hire Competent People
The atmosphere of the coffee shop is also a major determinant contributing to the success of your business. Coffee shops are known for their warm and cosy atmosphere, friendly and expert staff, and quality services. Ensure that you recruit people who are skilled in the art of coffee making.
Also offer crash courses and training to keep them updated with the latest technology. Your cafe staff forms the back bone of your coffee shop, compelling the customers to visit the place again.