Someone every week says to me "I would love to have a cafe".  Between eye twitches and through gritted teeth I say "That's a great idea!"

Cafes are hard. The main word "cafe" suggests you sell coffee, and hopefully make it really well

But what goes into making a cafe work? Its easy and hard at the same time.

Be different

In the 25 years I've been setting up, operating and selling cafes, so many operators open close by to each other offering almost the same product.  Yes they sell coffee, but often the success of a cafe is also tied to the variety and quality of the food also sold.  The mentality that cafe 1 is selling lots of sandwiches, so I'll do the same thing - only dilutes what cafe 1 and cafe 2 can make.  Research your market.  Focus on what is missing in your market and make it happen.  Often you can both survive an thrive as more people come to the area drawn to the variety.

Service matters

Everyone makes mistakes.  Despite our best efforts, sometimes orders get missed or the product isn't up to its usual standard. It may have been horrendously busy you may be short staffed etc.  Customers who you have taken the time to get to know will often forgive little errors.  Acknowledge the mistake and focus your energies on rectifying at as soon as possible. It sounds obvious, but put yourself in their shoes and think of the solution you would need in a time sensitive situation.

Be proud of what you sell

We go by this simple motto.  If we're not proud of it, if we're not happy with the standard, why are we selling it?  Why are we eroding the confidence our customers have in us.

Take coffee for example.  We roast to an exact profile. We dose to a specific weight.  We tamp to an exact pressure.  The milk is poured in a way to specifically soften the initial harshness of espresso crema and sweeten the very first sip of coffee. We keep our equipment clean.  We are proud of what we give to our customers.  It makes a difference.  Applying that ethos to every product in your cafe will set you apart from the rest.

Good luck, it can be a very rewarding journey!

Written by Kite Coffee

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