With coffee shops two a penny in high streets these days, it can be a struggle to make your independent coffee business stand out from the crowd. There has been a surge in big chain coffee shops in the last decade and the number of independent coffee shops has also sky-rocketed. Last year the Mailonline reported that coffee shops are set to outnumber pubs in Britain by 2030.
Needless to say with increasing competition, building a reputation and driving repeat business is essential for coffee shop success. So, how do beat the competition and grow a loyal customer base?
Here are 7 essentials to make your coffee shop the go-to coffee hangout.
- GREAT COFFEE!
It may seem obvious, but the coffee you sell is THE MOST IMPORTANT THING that will help you nail your reputation and get customers coming back for more. Yes, there are a few other things like ambience, comfort and bathroom facilities that will also grab you brownie points and repeat custom, but at the end of the day it’s your coffee (and your service) that will define business success.
Choosing the best coffee beans you can find is going to put you in pole position.
- INVITING STYLE & A CATCHY BRAND
You want your coffee shop to stand out, inside and out. As well as the obvious awesome coffee, you’ll need to create a space that is inviting, welcoming and above all comfortable to hang out in.
Though be mindful that a shop full of freelancers click-clacking away on their Mac books and seeking out a black coffee every 2 -3 hours isn’t good for profits! You want a mixed crowd of regulars and of course you want to attract passers-by.
Certain things will make your coffee shop stand out, such as an outside seating area. Even a bench seat or a couple of small bistro-style tables with pairs of matching chairs will suffice and will prove popular when the weather is warm, but are also a worthwhile offering all-year-round for smokers and vapers.
A commercial awning or canopy will keep your outdoor space protected from the elements and can help to create a sense of style to your business.
Source: AQ Blinds
- A GREAT BARISTA
You’ll need a great barista (probably two). Excellent baristas aren’t always easy to find and have a reputation for moving on. Coffee Shops Startups say that being a barista is 25 per cent training and 75 per cent personality.
Personality and friendliness in your coffee shop will help you to build a loyal customer base. No one wants coffee served by a miserable barista. Impeccable customer service will impress as much as the magnificent flavour of your coffee. When word gets around that your customer service is exceptional, you’ll be building the reputation you need to entice customers back again.
- EMBRACE TRENDS (BUT STAY STRONG WITH YOUR CORE PRODUCTS)
According to Allegra’s World Coffee Portal, one of the key trends shaping the US coffee market (and here too) are specialty coffee, cold brew and dairy alternatives. Specialty coffee is currently the leading coffee shop trend. Cold brew is outpacing flat whites, lattes and hot black coffee. An increasing emphasis on health is driving more people to choose plant-based milks over regular dairy. Oat milk and almond milk are popular alternatives.
- HOST EVENTS
Every coffee community needs events. Think about hosting small events, such as tasting sessions, coffee appreciation get-togethers and coffee education workshops. If your café is too small, even hosting a coffee event at a bigger venue where you supply the coffee will get your brand out there and noticed. It’s all about making connections and getting people to taste your fantastic coffee.
- MAKE A NOISE ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Social media is playing an ever more important role in our lives and is no longer a nice-to-have tool to inform customers, it’s essential. Social media is the main medium for coffee shops to update, interact, promote and engage with customers and tell anyone who will listen how great their coffee is! Instagram about it, Tweet about it, share on Facebook and other social media platforms.
- LOYALTY CARDS
Come on! Who doesn’t love a loyalty card and a free coffee? This one is a no brainer.