Whether we like it or not, cafes or coffee houses have gone beyond coffee. These days, owning a café also means running a versatile place that lends itself to various types of people who are there for reasons that aren’t necessarily limited to getting a java fix. While you may think that you’ve got it all covered with your specialty coffee, the tedious process of finding your own niche/s of customers or ‘regulars’ to cater to, nonetheless plays a vital role in the success of your establishment.
Needless to say, grasping the needs of these regulars is key when it comes to surviving and even thriving in the competitive and ever-growing café business. With this in mind, we gathered data and asked these different types of regulars in cafes for some constructive criticism and what they usually looked for in a café. How you can make sure that your café is a worthwhile destination to constantly journey towards, is what you’re in for.
Specialty coffee—yes. Of course, securing a substantial coffee program and system that at-home, do-it-yourself coffee just can’t compare to, is what will primarily get you going and most likely attract a handful of nearby customers that are looking for a good fix.
What can get you far when it comes to people that are passionate about their coffee, however, is being very particular about your offerings— meaning, having variations of beans your customers can choose from and even going to lengths of concocting and articulating a signature drink that can set you apart and that which you can be known for.
“I think having specialty drinks that's unique to that place makes a cafe stand out.” Freelance Architect John, who spends almost every day in a café, suggests this.
Because let’s face it, coffee enthusiasts are constantly on the lookout for something new to explore, appreciate and even come back to when it comes to their coffee experience. A further word of advice from him is to: “Invest on good branding and visual identity of the brand. Partner with local coffee farmers and roasters.”
I think we can all agree that knowing that we’re also patronizing something that helps our country’s hard-working and yet sadly, impoverished farmers, is a big plus.
Out of all the factors here, attention to detail about your café’s food offering is probably the most overlooked one. While no one is really expecting a café per se to offer full course, Michelin star meals, we found that a versatile, yet appropriately curated food offering is mostly appreciated.
“There are times when it’s more convenient and appealing to just eat lunch or dinner at a cafe, especially when you’re already settled there. So it’s better if they offer more than just coffee or typical baked items.” 20-year-old fresh graduate Michelle explains.
Notwithstanding the fact that the focus is really the coffee, your customers most likely do not need to be bombarded with foreign and unusual dishes to choose from. The keyword here is familiarity. This is also not to mention that most of the time, people would most likely order something light like some bread or cakes to pair with their coffee.
Nonetheless, you can go with the trend of offering some comfort food to match the casual atmosphere of a café but do add a bit of your own twist so as to avoid being forgettable.
It’s no secret that from time immemorial cafes have been a social sphere and now, a constant meetup place for groups of friends who want to catch up or even just bounce ideas off each other alongside a cup of joe and some comfort food. Even so, your café evidently isn’t the only place they could opt to hang out in; that's why, in order for you to secure the loyalty of these groups to your cafe, you need to get the most out of the fact that they are more likely to linger in places that have an extra cozy and homey vibe in them.
“If I’m studying, I don’t want it to be cozy or too comfortable because I’ll be sleepy, but when hanging out with friends, it needs to be cozy” says Rachel, a 29-year old lawyer by profession who likes to have meetups with friends in local cafés.
Splurging a bit on some ceramic cups to serve “for here” coffee in and some comfy lounge furniture can probably get those cliques hanging out in your your café and probably even getting more traffic from these groups via word of mouth and invitations to their other friends.
In addition, a very timely and game changing tip that we’ll leave for Rachel to explain is that:
“What makes a good café for me is the lighting, not just for when you’re studying but also when hanging out with friends. When