It's not easy trying to please everyone, especially in hospitality. What do your customers want? Excellent coffee? Absolutely. Good food? Most likely. The lowest price? Maybe.
As a café owner you'd be pleased to know that according to a Australian Café Market Report by Café Pulse, coffee is the number one beverage consumed out of home. The question is: how do you make sure you're doing everything you can to capture the market of coffee drinkers?
Whether it's the weekend brunchers or mid-week coffee addicts, what are they really looking for in their go-to café? Based on the responses over 1,370 individual café (both structured and independent) outlets, we've outlined the top five influencing factors below along with the percent of respondents who ranked these as the top five reasons they chose their favourite cafe.
1. Coffee taste/strength – 88%
The top influencing factor is the taste and strength of the coffee you sell. If we look at Australian coffee trends over time, it's fair to say that we have now developed a much more sophisticated palate for fine coffee. What was once referred to as a 'pavlova' by National Coffee Competition Judge Les Schriato some years ago, our cappuccinos have come a long way.
2. Coffee quality - 87%
Not far behind the top influencing factor, consumers are now also considering the quality of coffee and how consistent it is. Café Pulse's Australian Café Market Report highlighted the fact that independently owned cafés are encouraging third wave constant coffee changes. This means coffee franchises are conducting ongoing quality controls and barista staff training to perfect their consistent offers. But, barista training and the quality of beans are not the only things that can influence coffee quality.
"To produce top quality coffee you must invest in top quality equipment," explains Marty. "The best coffee equipment comes at a price – the coffee machine I rented through SilverChef costs $12,500." – Marty Richards, owner of Blackstar Coffee Roasters
"We insist café owners who use Campos coffee purchase the same coffee machine we use at our flagship store in Fortitude Valley and that can cost around $15,000 including the grinder," explains Eugene. "We want to make sure that every time a customer has a Campos coffee, it is served as a consistent product." – Eugene Phua, part-owner of Campos in Queensland
3. Convenient Location - 84%
This should come as no surprise considering that location was also an important factor you considered when you first decided to open a café. Be prepared to lose the battle with mid-week coffee drinkers on their way to work. It just wouldn't make sense to drive 30 minutes in the completely opposite direction to work of a morning. Not to worry, if you can deliver on the other top influencing factors your café is still in the running to be their favourite weekend meet-up!
4. Pleasant ambience - 76%
Visiting a café involves all of the senses – not just taste. When you get all of the senses right, your customers will enjoy the experience and keep coming back for more. This includes things like playing the right kind of music, keeping the café looking tidy and encouraging your staff to be presentable. Not to mention, making sure everything is 'insta-friendly' as it's all about eating with your eyes.
5. Quick service - 73%
'Let's grab a leisurely coffee…' It's a nice thought, but it's something we rarely get time for these days, especially on our way to work. People who are meeting up with friends or family for a catch up might be a little more forgiving, but the results show people want quick service. This is where cafés need to ensure their processes are as efficient as possible. You may want to consider incorporating some automated coffee processes into your café to keep things running smoothly without sacrificing quality.
The other seven factors mentioned in the report that customers consider when finding their favourite cafe include:
6. Price 68%
7. Staff/Barista 63%
8. Brand of Coffee 53%
9. Discount or Coupons 43%
10. Ethically Sourced 42%
11. Coffee Roasted Locally 33%
12. Know the Barista 29%
The key takeaway here is that there is the demand for your type of business, but looking at how you can continue to appeal to your customers will keep your coffee machine running!