Running a Café: 3 Key Areas to Ensure Success

It shouldn’t surprise you to know there are best practices to running a café that will help contribute to its success. Today, we’re focusing on three key areas of running a café that will ensure a full house morning through evening. Let’s delve into three key aspects of the café business and their corollaries.

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1. Specialise in top quality products

The most important element of your cafe is the quality of your products. We know that many people (especially in Melbourne!) will endure anything just to lay their hands on the best cup of coffee in town. These days, tea drinkers and food connoisseurs can be just as picky in their café choices.

With this in mind:

Get the best roast

Become familiar with the coffee roaster business model. In this model, you purchase the raw coffee bean directly, then use top notch machinery to process it, roast it and turn it into a fine, fresh brew exclusive to your venue.

Invest an appropriate amount to ensure you have expert baristas and staff well trained in the background to your coffee – where it’s sourced and how it’s processed and roasted. Build your brand on this expertise.

Provide multiple choices

Make sure there is variety in your hot beverage offerings. With the rise in popularity of non-dairy coffee brews, make sure you include such choices as almond, coconut and soy milks for your lattes.

Have your barista experiment with the best frothing requirements for each. Think about also including a range of chai and herbal teas, and even the increasingly popular golden latte.

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2. Provide stellar service

The smoother and more enjoyable your customers’ experiences at your café, the more likely they are to return – and to recommend your venue to others. The best marketing is word of mouth, as it’s totally free on your part.

Stellar service comes from well trained staff along with seamless technology to ensure that everything from ordering to food delivery goes efficiently.

Here are some things to think about: 

Invest in streamlined systems

Have systems in place for everything. Invest in a good café POS system that you can tailor to suit the needs of your venue. Make sure your POS system caters to split bills and make order amendments for certain dietary requirements.

Your POS system should also have:

  • inventory tracking so you know exactly what products are and are not working
  • smart rostering that recognizes when you need more staff for peak periods
  • table layout functionality to ensure the most efficient service for all customers.

The more your POS system can do for you the more time you can invest in giving your customers the VIP treatment.

Honour your loyal customers

Build a loyalty program that rewards your customers after every 5 or 10 visits. This is a great way to encourage them to return to your venue.

Personalise this service by offering them free cake on their birthdays or giving them discount deals on your venue’s anniversary. Make them feel special and they can’t help but love your brand.

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3. Promote a unique culture

Many customers are drawn to a café because of its unique culture, whether this is one of healthy living or of cosy comfort and homemade food.

Let’s also acknowledge the not-so-hidden secret that cafes are often places where people come to work online. College students, freelancers on internet platforms, gamers even; these customers normally will buy snacks or meals with their coffee or tea if they are given the opportunity to stay, so it is a good idea cultivate their loyalty.

To draw regulars to your space:

Remember, comfort is king

Invest in comfortable seating, such as padded benches or snug armchairs. Arrange the seating in ways that ensure quiet comfort and a peaceful outlook, whether this includes outdoor scenery or luscious indoor plants.

Go niche

Differentiate your café from others by choosing a particular niche or theme, make like the famous cat cafés we now hear so much about.

If you do choose to go down this route, think carefully about what the theme would say about your business. An around-the-world theme based on fair trade products, for example, could show that you’re running a conscientious business.

Think about the culture you wish to create and tailor your products and décor accordingly.

Be tech savvy

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Ensure your café has a few cosy corners with access to electric plugs and an offering of free Wi-Fi to attract business customers and encourage regulars. If you want to go the extra mile, install USB ports for phone recharging and the customers will love you.

Finally, make it your business to stay in tune to what consumers in the ever-changing business landscape want. A business that is tech-savvy, centred around the consumer’s comforts, and serving up the best coffee with the best service in town is sure to keep its coffers full and its customers happy.

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If you want to get more ideas for running a successful coffee shop, be sure to check out our extensive guide to starting a café. In it, you’ll find plenty of advice on everything from the licences you need to an essential café checklist.