Many of these sites will allow you to reply to comments that customers have left, so be sure to show gratitude for positive reviews, and try your best to accept criticism gracefully. Taking feedback on board and attempting to win over particularly disgruntled customers is an effective way to show you care about their views. Some additional marketing options that you could consider are:. There are still a number of more traditional, offline marketing techniques that can be highly effective in boosting your business, and should not be overlooked.
This is, arguably, still one of the most important and influential marketing methods there is. The best way to turn your customers into advocates is to make sure that they have the best experience possible when in your cafe. Though a relatively old advertising technique, posters and flyers can still be effective in marketing your coffee shop — especially if you have a new product or promotion that you want people to know about.
Even something as simple as handing out flyers with a free drink offer can work wonders, as it helps people cross the threshold of your business for the first time. After they have been once, they are much more likely to come a second and third time — providing the experience was positive. Forming relationships with other businesses near to you is important — and mutually beneficial agreements can be reached even with direct competitors. For instance, a customer could gain access to a special discount in your cafe by purchasing a drink in another.
You may be able to attend small business networking events in your local area, and build partnerships with the people you meet there. Hosting events at your cafe can help to draw people's attention and attract new custom. An event could be something as simple as setting up a stall outside your shop to give away free samples - or, if you're feeling more adventurous, running an elaborate coffee bean masterclass for the public.
You may want to tailor events to your target audience, or make it accessible for the general public. Again, this is a traditional, tried-and-tested marketing technique — and cafes across the UK still use it because it works. A customer loyalty scheme will help to facilitate return custom, and differentiate you from competitors if you use your own unique system. Stamp cards — which offer a free drink after stamps are collected — are a common way of rewarding customer loyalty in cafes.
There are plenty of other ways of rewarding customer loyalty, too:.
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In order to conquer any doubts you may have, we decided to see what existing cafe owners — those who have been through the process of opening and building successful businesses — had to say, and what advice they would offer up to those starting out or looking to improve. His philosophy is that having a burning passion for running a cafe can not only boost your business's chances of in the long run, but also help to carry you through difficult patches in the short term. Owner of the successful Pear Cafe in Bristol , Elly, tells how she has never once paid for any advertising and never will — her marketing almost entirely relies on word of mouth.
As mentioned in Chapter Four, word of mouth can often be one of the most powerful forms of advertising for a business — as verified by the Pear Cafe. Before opening her cafe, Jo Kruczynska spent years running her successful blog, Platelickers Anonymous. By the time it came round to actually opening her business, she had already built a name for herself in the relevant location and industry. Lorna Jackson, owner of Real Meals cafe, considers this to be the best piece of business advice that she has ever received. The owners of Cafe Conor in Belfast have learnt to adapt in a changing economic environment over the years — and much of their success is attributed to this.
Andrew Scott, whose Heaven Scent Coffee Shop is situated outside of a busy city, believes in the importance of creating the right atmosphere in your cafe, and giving customers a good experience. III SmallBusiness.
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Running a successful cafe doesn't have to be difficult Cafe concepts With the increasing popularity of both take-away and sit-in cafes, there has naturally been a subsequent increase in the number starting up, resulting in a relatively crowded market place. Anything from a dedicated cat emporium to an African-American soul music inspired cafe can be successful — as long as your theme is unique. At this stage, you will also need to consider the logistics of actually running your cafe, for example: Will your cafe serve food or be primarily beverage-led? Will you offer table service, or will customers order at the counter?
Will your service be takeaway style, table service, or both? For many cafes, determining who your target audience is will require looking beyond traditional traits such as age and gender, and instead considering customer characteristics such as: Intention — a worker on their lunchbreak will want to grab a coffee and go, whereas someone meeting friends is likely to want to sit and stay a while.
Your cafe can cater to both of these customer intentions, or choose one over the other. Preferences — if your cafe has a strong theme or concept, then this will likely define your core customers based on their preferences towards that theme. For instance, a dog-friendly cafe will be looking to attract dog lovers almost exclusively. Lifestyle — the type of lifestyle that consumers lead can be a good indicator of the type of cafe they may be attracted to. Location can be a good indicator of lifestyle, for example: Rural areas could indicate active, outdoor lifestyles An artsy district of a city centre may suggest a young, possible student population An up-market residential village could mean consumers are likely to be retired, or middle aged with children.
There are a number of different elements to consider when it comes to location, such as: Building — the actual building that your cafe is located in is important. Its size will dictate the volume of customers and number of covers that your cafe can handle, and its shape will influence the layout, flow and functionality of your day-to-day operations. Immediate location — the location of your business building will have an impact on the number of people that see your business, and the volume of customers that you receive.
For example, in a town centre, are you located on the main high street, or down a quiet side street? For instance, think of the differences between a busy city centre cafe, and a coffee shop on a village square. Remember to include the following key topics in your cafe business plan: Introduction — a general overview of your business proposition.
Objectives — targets that your business will aim to hit, and how you plan to measure them. Finance — this should be detailed, and include everything from initial investment to the cost of decorating, buying equipment and hiring staff. Location and premises — where your coffee shop will be located, and the implications of this location. Industry and competition — your research of the market place and how your cafe will fit into it. Remember to relate this back to your objectives. Target market — a description of your core customers, why you are targeting them and how you intend on appealing to them.
Premises — this includes your initial deposit as well as rent. Make sure to remember kitchen equipment, too, if you plan on serving food. You may want to consider purchasing second hand equipment in a bid to keep costs down. Wares — this includes cups, jugs, mugs, plates, bowls, cutlery and just about anything else necessary to actually serve your products to customers. Cafe menu ideas Once you have decided what types of food and drink your cafe will be selling, you can start thinking about designing and creating your menu. Remember that you will also have to budget for other tools and equipment, such as: Storage and display units Kitchen pans and pots Food preparation utensils, such as knives and spatulas Serving utensils, cutlery and other tableware Wares such as plates and bowls Bar items such as stirrers, mixing glasses, bottle pourers and tongs.
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Premises size and layout The size and shape of the premises you have chosen will ultimately influence the way that you lay out your cafe — for example where the entrance is, and where the main counter should go. Things to bear in mind include: The location of the door in relation to the main counter — the counter should be close enough to the door to allow customers to easily order coffee to go, but far away enough that a queue at the counter would not restrict access for customers who want to sit in.
Food service — furniture should not block access to the kitchen or counter, and walkways should be open and easily navigable for waiting staff. Wheelchair access — your cafe layout should leave enough space to allow easy access for wheelchair users.
You may also need to purchase ramps if your premises has steps, to make it more easily accessible. Using visual sites such as Pinterest can help to give you inspiration. Lighting — consider not only the fixtures, but the actual levels of light in the room. You may want your cafe to be bright and sunny, or you may want to create an ambience with dimmed lighting. Sound — the music that you play in your cafe adds to the atmosphere.
Think carefully about the style of music that you play, as well as the volume at which you play it. Temperature — you should keep your cafe at a comfortable temperature so that customers are neither too hot nor too cold. Keep an eye out for signs that the temperature may be wrong — for example customers wearing coats indoors. Cleanliness — making sure that your cafe is always clean — particularly in restrooms — is an important part of ensuring a positive customer experience.
Cafe regulations and licenses As well as all the creative considerations that need to be made in preparation for opening your cafe, there are a number of technical and legal aspects to starting a business that you will need to make sure you address. Some of these licences could include: Food business registration — if you plan to cook for or sell food to the public, then you will need to obtain a food licence.
Alcohol licence — you will only need this if you intend on selling alcohol on your business premises. Entertainment licence — this will allow you to play music in your cafe. Health and safety — the Food Standards Agency may need to carry out a health and safety inspection on your cafe premises, and give you a food hygiene rating certificate. Read their guide to food hygiene here.
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Environmental Health Service — you will likely be required to register your business with the Environmental Health Service before opening your doors to the public. Read more about coffee shop insurance here. How to run a successful cafe No matter whether your cafe has recently opened or has been established for years, you may find that the daily logistics of your cafe can be adjusted and optimised. Some areas that you may consider addressing are: Opening times Is your business opening at the right times of day?
Stock and products Reconsidering your products and stock management techniques could help to you to save money by reducing waste, as well as increase sales. Service style Cafes and coffee shops can adopt different serving styles based on their unique propositions. Flexibility Quite often, there is the need to have formal processes in place - especially if you employ staff - to help ensure your cafe always operates at a certain standard.
Just a few ways that you can add a more personal touch to your service are: Greet customers as they enter. Engage in small talk and chit chat. Be honest — if their coffee is going to take ten minutes, tell them. Anticipate their needs — for example, napkins for a spilled drink. Know your regulars Most cafes have their own regular customers, and the same is likely to be true for you.
Deal with complaints gracefully Dealing with unhappy customers is never easy, but there are certain things you can do to handle complaints smoothly. Some common scenarios that your business may experience could include: Late or incorrect delivery may mean you do not have the correct stock or products to sell. Staff AWOL — service standards can fall easily when understaffed. Equipment failure — the machine your cafe depends on could break at any time.
Personal injury — yourself, a member of staff or a member of the public could sustain injury on your business premises. Hiring cafe staff You may get to the stage where you decide to take on staff to help you run your business.
Read on for help and advice for every part of the recruitment and management process: Do you need staff? Only you can decide whether your cafe truly needs staff or not — but some considerations that may help you come to this decision are: What your competitors are doing — are there any cafes of a similar size and stature nearby?
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