Cafes can be very attractive options for entrepreneurs interested in entering the competitive restaurant industry. After all, there seems to be at least one cafe in every other corner of bustling urban areas, and there's always someone walking out with a cardboard-wrapped cup of coffee in their hand.
Of course, the reality is not that simple, and coffee shops can struggle like any other small business if poorly managed or facing severe economic downturns. But it's safe to say that coffee isn't likely to go out of style anytime soon. As long as there are coffee beans grown, there will be coffee customers. In fact, on average in 2015 coffee consumption in the United States was around 10.2 pounds.
There are a number of ways that independent shops and cafes can become financially viable and provide a satisfactory return on investment, with the right tools in place.
Here are the top five ways to grow your coffee business:
1. Quality is always the priority
Serve the best
It should go without saying, but in a competitive space like coffee, you still need to serve the best coffee and espresso.
This means investing in the right equipment and using the highest quality coffee beans and products. People go out of their way for good coffee and if you're one of the five cafes nearby you can't afford to skimp.
Tell people why your coffee is unique
If you're sourcing from a specific small farm that uses sustainable cultivation techniques or exclusively serves fair-trade coffee, or if there's something else that sets you apart from your competition, be sure to talk to the people.
Educate your baristas so that they can easily reinforce what makes your drinks unique when they interact with customers and share this type of information on your website as well. It will help make your store more memorable.
Hire the right people
Quality also means hiring the right people to work in your cafe. It can be the difference between success and failure.
While it can be tempting to hire the cheapest help, in the long run, you need to make sure your frontline is positioned for repeat business and word of mouth growth. Your employees are your customer service force and you need a top-notch team.
Do not change your training program
Don't underestimate the importance of a good, consistent training program. Larry Alton, a pro with 10 years of experience training baristas in a high-volume espresso chain, shares some best practices in barista training in this article.
2. Start a loyalty or rewards program
You will not lose money
Small businesses are often reluctant to do this because they think they will lose money. But according to a study by Manta and BIA / Kelsey, 64% of small businesses that started a loyalty program said those programs made more money for their business than it cost them to run it.
You'll benefit more from loyal customers
If the quality of your product is where it should be, then you need to start looking for other differentiators to help you set yourself apart from the competition. The same study also found that loyal customers spend 67% more on purchases than new customers.
No matter how you slice it up, you can only benefit from it by offering customer retention incentives.
3. Add wine or beer to your menu
If your cafe is open in the evenings, serving wine and beer can be a great way to take part in the happy hour crowd.
When Starbucks launched its Evenings program, adding craft beer, wine, and snacks to their meals after 4 p.m. in some locations - the company predicted it would add $ 1 billion to its annual revenue by 2019. Adding only wine and beer to your menu can give your business a boost during the months. hours when you can generally expect to see a lull in customers.
4. Consider buying an existing store if you are ready to expand.
It could be faster
If you are looking to expand into a second location, consider acquiring a cafe for sale in your area. If you started your original location from scratch, you know how difficult and time-consuming it can be to create and start a whole new store.
You could save on start-up costs
By acquiring an existing location, you can save time, and even some equipment purchases, depending on the deal you negotiate. Acquiring an existing store that has invested in quality coffee and espresso machines and other equipment can save you time and money.
There could be an integrated customer base
If the store you are buying has an established customer base, less marketing capital may be required.
Of course, you will still want to market, especially if there were negative associations with the existing store or if you change the name of the store. In this case, you will want to let people know that it is under a new owner and provide offers and incentives to customers.
5. Understand that you are selling more than coffee
Be an oasis
While quality is the top priority, it's also important to understand that you're selling more than just coffee. If it were as easy as a craving for caffeine, everyone would buy their own Italian espresso machine and make their daily cup of coffee at home.
There are many reasons why customers frequent a cafe, from the need to escape the stress of the office, or the basic need to connect with others (https://www.wowessays.com/). You can take advantage of this by encouraging customers to stay in your store.
But think about if you want people to linger
While you're definitely going to be offering free Wi-Fi in your cafe, do you need to boost it with plentiful access to power outlets? The jumpsuit encourages people to stay, even set up their small workspace, and spend much of the day plugged in while their empty $ 4 purchase sits on the table next to them.
“Free” services cost you money, and if unpaid or low-paying customers take advantage of them, it can create a difficult situation. On the other hand, if you don't offer them, you risk losing business from the start.
Help people relax and have fun
You should also take advantage of people's desire to connect with others by providing board games, puzzles, or other interactive activities in your store. Coffee is more than a drink that people love - it's a reason people come together and connect. Understanding the variety of needs your store meets will increase your chances of success and continued growth.
There are a number of strategies that can help you grow a food and beverage business, but cafes offer many unique opportunities. Following the tips above will help you grow your business in a sustainable way.
If you're looking for resources on how to start your coffee shop, check out this guide. And don't forget that one of the best things you can do to encourage the continued growth and profitability of your coffee business is to keep an eye on your finances and use your business plan as a tool to help you stay on top. opportunities and challenges.