In your local area, how many coffee shops do you know of? If you live in an urban centre, the chances are there are more than you can count on one hand.
And of these coffee shops, which one is your favourite? And why?
The answer to that question will be different for everyone. For some, it comes down the quality of the coffee. For others, it will be the friendly barista that greets them every morning. Whatever the reason, that coffee shop has done something better than the rest to shine and become your favourite.
Levi Andersen is a career barista, and even has his own website.
He first decided to pull shots for career day at age 6, complete with a Starbucks t-shirt. He resumed his connection with serious coffee during high school, and was soon running a family coffee stand, then his own cafe.
Fast forward several years and he’s now working with Coffee Fest and helping new and existing cafe operators to raise their barista skills, popularity and profits.
In this article, we’ll run through some of Levi’s most important tips for turning your coffee shop into somebody’s favourite.
Invest in really good equipment
Investing in multi-functional equipment expands your business opportunities by increasing the variety of products that you can offer. Being able to offer cold smoothies in addition to standard coffees, for example, is a great way to extend your customer base over the warmer months.
But where to begin? Don’t be afraid to ask question to equipment dealers and baristas – it will help you make a more informed decision. Such questions include: How many groups do you think I need? Which machine is the best? What is the price range? What grinders should I have in my espresso machine? Should the grinders be of the same brand?
If you’re on tight budget, check around for second hand equipment or equipment leasing services.
Update your product knowledge
The modern coffee consumer wants to know everything about what they’re drinking. They want to know all about the origin of the beans, what it tastes like, and how it’s being brewed. If you cannot answer these questions or have the information readily available, they will simply find somewhere else.
Most cafes now have their bean information displayed within the cafe on a blackboard that they regularly update. It’s a great decoration for customers to read whilst waiting for their coffee.
Know the competition
In crowded urban centres, the concentration of coffee shops can be as intense as five or six on one city block. So don’t be shy about taking a look around and seeing what they’re doing. It’s a great way to get an outside perspective by visiting other restaurants for new ideas.
Take notes whenever you get a tinge of inspiration on how to better your services.
Do something different
Ensure uniqueness in your product offering. One way to stand out from the crowd is to, well, stand out from the crowd! What can you offer in your district that no one else can? What food or beverage trends are yet to be tapped into? Can you offer a new service format?
The internet is an excellent resource to look into overseas industry trends and find something new and exciting that hasn’t been tried in Australia yet.
Review, review, review
Don’t rest on your laurels. Even during busy times, make sure you are constantly assessing your services to align them with customer needs. It’s also a great idea to stay across any comments or suggestions left on your social media pages, or with your staff. If someone feels compelled to make a comment, it’s worth taking into consideration.
Energy and enthusiasm inspires clients – especially ones who are in desperate need of a coffee to start their day! Enjoy interacting with your customers: your passion, interest and energy rub off onto everything else you do and your staff will notice it and act likewise.
Avoid tying emotions to the business. Running the business according to your moods can affect your relationship with staff and clients, which could lead to failure.
Cherish good staff
There is nothing that makes a coffee shop more attractive to a consumer than a team of smiling, happy, and helpful staff. It’s the cornerstone of any businesses success, even more so than the product you’re selling.
So, train your staff to be great hosts. Ensure consistency in their service delivery – they should never compete with customers for your attention. Make your employees feel that your cafe is a great place to work by going above and beyond the ‘standard’ management behaviour – for example, give your staff time to rest by adhering to your set days and hours of business.
Keep everything fresh
Who doesn’t like new? Customers love the feel of freshness and excitement that comes with new offers and/or jazzed up premises. The easiest way to achieve this (without spending a million dollars) is by getting the most from the skill base that you’re paying for. So, motivate your staff to develop innovative products for your customers.
For example, ask them to suggest or make foods that complement your core products. Build up your day parts with products for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Such could include breakfast bars and other easy to make pastries that customers can grab as they go.
Get your location right
There is always audience potential around you but you hardly ever notice. Look around for the best place to place your promotion coupons and you will attract clients, sometimes outside your conventional definition of your customers.
Part of this should come via clever social media marketing. Good marketing is an extension of yourself. People want to know who they are buying food from, and you easily pass on your ‘story’ via social media.
A big smile, great products, and excellent coffee will also set your apart from the rest. But the best way to keep your customers loyal? Remember their name. They will love you for it, forever!