If you run a cafe it is important to stay ahead of the game so you remain competitive. There are a lot of cafes out there and you need to look at ways to make yours stand out from the competition. Whether you make structural improvements, like adding a retractable awning so customers can sit in the shade out the front of your cafe, of if you have verandas built around the outside of the building, you can make a big difference to your business by improving the look of the premises, updating your staff’s knowledge or changing the menu.
If you have the space out the front of your cafe, set up an area where customers can eat outside. You will need to contact your local council regarding permits but having customers dining outside will help draw people in who are just walking past as they see what is being served. If the premises already has a veranda out the front then you already have shelter. Otherwise you might want to look into installing a retractable awning, which can be folded back at closing time.
Update the menu
Business might be dropping off because your regular customers are getting bored with your menu. Don’t change everything. Keep the dishes that are popular or any that you are well known for. Update your menu seasonally and add something new every so often to keep it fresh and interesting.
If your cafe doesn’t have a signature dish, then create one. A signature dish is one that your cafe is known for and one that customers come specifically to you to have. Whether it is a main or a dessert or a decadent cake, talk to your chef about what they can create that will really stand out and draw the customers attention.
Always make sure your staff are adequately trained. New staff should undergo initial training as to how your cafe operates but you should also provide ongoing training so the skill level within your employees is also being updated. Don’t be afraid of spending money on training courses for them. It will benefit your cafe and your business many times over and your staff will appreciate it and are more likely to remain loyal to you.
If your furniture is looking a little shabby, then it is time to invest in new pieces. It will depend on the style of your cafe as to what type of furniture you choose. It will also depend on where your cafe is and what your clientele is like as to what style you go with when it comes to decorating. Keep all these things in mind when re-furnishing.
Perhaps you might want to think about hiring some entertainment to give your cafe a boost. You might decide to hire a musician who plays on Saturday afternoons. Whatever you do, keep it consistent so people know when to come and enjoy food and good music.
Have a look at your advertising and assess whether it is actually effective. Look to new ways of getting the name of your cafe out there.
Something as simple as brightly coloured flowers can change the whole look of your interior. Hire a florist to do a different arrangement for you twice a week which you can place on your counter next to your cash register.
Tom Mallet is an Australian freelance writer and journalist. He writes extensively in Australia, Canada, Europe, and the US. He’s published more than 500 articles about various topics, including retractable awning and verandas.
Photo by Kasia Wyser-Pratte.