So you want to open a cafe (2)
How to stand out from the crowd
How do you stand out from the crowd? How do you ensure that people come to your coffee shop and not the Costa or Starbucks down the road? It can be hard to compete with the big boys; but turn that around...if you are small you can adapt and react quickly to changes happening in your location and to your customer trends
Think carefully about your ideal customers and how you can attract them. Offer something that they can’t get elsewhere.
Are your customers young mothers with preschoolers wanting to meet for coffee? Make your coffee shop child friendly....and child friendly does not mean a children’s menu offering nuggets and chips, sausages and chips etc. It means really looking at how difficult it is to eat out with preschool children. Offer a selection of books and toys, research a varied children’s menu. Mums today want healthy options for their children and you are more likely to see very young children eating hoummus and cucumber than burgers and chips. Look at the large chains like MacDonalds...they now offer fruit packs, veggie wraps etc as part of their children’s menu. When the children are old enough to choose for themselves they will probably revert to choosing burgers, fried chicken and chips but that is another market completely.
Do you draw your customers from nearby offices or factories? Takeaway sandwiches, wraps, soup etc are probably the most common choice. For people eating in during their lunch hour, you need to offer fast food. No-one wants to spend the best part of their lunch break waiting for their food. Invest in good biodegradeable or compostable takeaway boxes with sections to allow a variety of takeaway salads...chickpeas, beetroot yoghurt and walnut salad, Waldorf salad, different coleslaws, mixed beans....as well as the traditional shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes and cucumber. Add a small pot with a lid for a portion of dressing. Also worth thinking about offering deliveries to offices and factories. Drop off a list of what you do and ask for orders by 10 am for lunchtime deliveries. Also check out websites like ‘Bring me Lunch’ that list cafes in all locations offering lunchtime deliveries.
Finally: Never...ever...compromise on quality of ingredients. Customers now demand top quality and there has been a massive rise in street food businesses that offer quality and choice. They have much lower overheads than the average cafe or coffee shop so you have to be constantly looking at what you can offer that sets you apart from the crowd.