What Makes a Coffee-shop Successful?
The motivation of any business is to bring joy to its customers. Therefore, when we talk about the purpose of a coffee-shop, we should consider the expectations of the consumers. Coffee is the second most popular drink to be consumed after water in the world and is preferred by millions of people due to its unique taste and its energizing effects. However, when it comes to choosing between one coffee shop or another, many factors make the difference.
The idea behind a cafe
Even though it is invisible, the idea the entrepreneur has when starting their business is essential because this idea develops the vision, mission, and business plan.
If the focus of the business development is mainly on how to make a quick profit, then the effort will be put in investing on the external factors, such as the location, the surrounding environment, advertising, professional and experienced staff, high-quality coffee-machines, etc. All these factors mentioned are important for a coffee shop to become successful; however, these external factors cannot assure you that the business would strive for a long time.
How can you get the idea for your business? The most important thing is that entrepreneurs study the market thoroughly, research other competitors, and even work with them. For example, you can experience working in a coffee-shop and gain some knowledge of the strategy of that coffee-shop and be able to examine how the owner runs the business, as well as learning the minds of the customers. Upon this foundation, it is possible to have a realistic point of view about the market, the resources needed, and about the clients’ expectations.
New ideas come from education and investment in the field. Later they can transform into a vision and a mission of your company.
What is the difference between a vision and a mission? While a vision is about the future, what the future development of the business would be like, a mission is about now, and what you can do now to successfully accomplish the future goal of the business. For example, in order to reach out to your target customers for your next business development, what you can do now is to implement accessible pricing, or high-quality coffee, or create an environment that helps people feel comfortable to stay. When we look at the well known Starbucks company, their idea was to make a coffee house "a third place between work and home" and feel a sort of connection, while tasting the best coffee. Its vision is “to establish Starbucks as the premier purveyor of the finest coffee in the world and maintain uncompromising principles while growing." Its mission is “to inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time.”
The business plan
The vision is about how you see the business in the future, and it keeps you connected with the values you follow; a mission is about how you can implement the vision, and the business plan is a tool which will help you understand what resources and steps you need to take in order to bring profit.
To start with, you need to have a clear understanding of the budget you are ready to invest in, such as rent, renovation of the premises, the technical parts, bills, suppliers, employment, and advertising. Even though managing resources is instead a tedious task for an enthusiastic entrepreneur, a business cannot survive without a clear and systematic cash flow. That's why once starting the business, you need to continuously check all its financial parameters, such as sales, expenses, margin, profit, etc. Check if the actual parameters are different from the business plan, analyze it, and amend the business plan if it is necessary.
The first six months are the most crucial time for your business, so you have to be ready to sustain it with the necessary resources, as well as your hard work and passion.
How to compose menu for a cafe
A quality product is necessary to make a business successful. In the case of a coffee shop, the menu should include a variety of products, so that your clients would come all day and not only in the morning. Such a list can include:
- Coffee: espresso, latte, americano
- Sweets, baked pastries, cakes
- Grain bowls, yogurt parfaits
- Sandwiches, salads, fruit cups
- Ice cream and ice coffee for hot seasons
Operating a cafe
Successful entrepreneurs are well aware of their performance indicators, which goes beyond tracking sales. To understand the situation of your inventory and to control the efficiency of your employees, as well as the visits and the preferences of your customers, you need to create an operating system. Following that, you should train your staff to use it, then regularly check all the working processes and improve them.
In this way, automatization is very useful; for example, using a proper POS system will help you to organize the sales process and control many business parameters in real time, wherever you are.
What are the motivations of customers who visit the coffee shop? Of course, the most crucial factor is the unique and rich taste of the coffee. It means that it is vital to know who your suppliers are, what kind of coffee machines are used, and how the coffee is prepared. There is a lot of information on this matter (coffee suppliers, coffee makers, and the method used) out there. Therefore, it would be better to rely on those who are already experienced in the field and knowledgeable on this matter. If you do desire to become proficient in preparing coffee, or you want your employees to improve working more efficiently, then there are specialized barista courses out there.
A friendly, polite, and professional service creates a pleasant atmosphere and will help the customers to feel confident in choosing your coffee shop.
Using a loyalty system that rewards customers who often come to your cafe is another great idea. Loyal customers are the core of a successful business. They need special care, and you can do this through different discounts and bonuses.
The ambiance, a vast space, especially if your clients come in groups, together with lightning, music, design, all offer your clients a welcoming environment to chat, to meet, or even to work.
Advertising has the role of making your business known and boosts sales. It can be done by flyers, via the internet, or billboards if the budget allows. Associating your coffee shop with some events like masterclasses or cultural presentations, as well as live music, can be another way to attract customers.
Location is important too. First, define the well-populated area with many other businesses around, or there are metro stations around, even close to the market or inside a shopping mall. Second, it is also good to consider if there are places for parking for the customers. As a matter of fact, even if your coffee is amazing and your coffee shop provides a beautiful and attractive environment, if customers would have to come a long way on foot to visit the shop, they may prefer to visit the shop by car and may find an alternative choice of a coffee shop on their way.
Why do coffee shops fail?
Opening a business and actually expanding it really requires your trust in the products you sell, as well as the trust in the ideas behind the product, moreover, the perseverance in your work, the ability to see the problem and change yourself.
Most often, the problems of young entrepreneurs are:
- The lack of a strong vision and mission that any business should have when they want to operate in the long term. An enormous amount of effort is put on an operational aspect and how to make a profit.
- The real market is not sufficiently understood, which means that people are not interested in the products and services you offer.
- Poor management of resources and cash flow issues. Many young entrepreneurs are tempted to use profit as their personal gain, rather than reinvesting it in strengthening their position on the market.
- The customer relationship is not developed, so the customers do not become loyal and tend not to recommend to others.
- Lack of desire to learn from any mistakes or to invest more, or even to change.
Starting and then actually running a successful coffee shop is not an easy task, but it can bring a lot of joy for you and your customers. It depends on how much desire you have to grow yourself by sharing your ideas and principles with your team and with your customers through the products and services you offer.