If you own and run a café, you will undoubtedly have encountered a million different types of customers from many walks of life, cultures, countries and professions. So how do you go about targeting the right customers and making sure that they come back time and time again to ensure your coffee shop is a thriving hub? This blog aims to uncover our four top types of customer as well as giving some hints and tips on how you could go about making sure they become regulars……from your menu and service to your café furniture and décor.
I spent a lot of time in my local café on maternity leave. It was the perfect venue to escape to, be it with friends, or on my own. Sometimes, all you need is to venture out to your much-loved café or coffee shop to treat yourself to your favourite coffee, meet with friends for a catch-up or take the kids for a slice of cake. For me, it was a safe retreat where I knew I would get great service and I could escape the same four walls of home. Kids also love a ‘special treat’ and this is one which won’t break the bank.
So, if your regulars fit into this category, make sure you’re catering for them.....Make sure you include comfortable café furniture for parents and kids to relax on – think about sofas, tub chairs and low coffee tables, especially for those parents who are still feeding their babies milk. And, of course the extremely important high chair! You may be stretched for space, but many high chairs are stackable for storage purposes and there’s nothing more frustrating than not being able to feed a weening baby in a highchair as it’s inevitably a very messy business! A high chair makes for a much more relaxed visit for both parent and baby/toddler.
It’s also a good idea to feature a play corner or at the very least some activities for kids to do. You could include books, colouring paper and pens. Or, if you’re blessed with more extensive space, you could include a reading corner with toys and a comfy place to relax. Take a look at one of our previous blogs which discussed this concept in depth.
A new mum or a Dad entertaining their kids for the day is a captive audience and so it’s important to make them feel extremely welcome. Help where you can and offer a friendly pair of ears, as that’s sometimes all your customers are looking for. It’s also worth thinking about offering child-friendly favourites and portion sizes to match. Even offer to heat bottles or pre-prepared food – These types of gesture are priceless!
Rush hour regulars
Most people have a set route to work and so they will pass what could be several cafes/coffee shops on their journey. It’s likely they will have tried all of them and so how do you stand out from the noise? This group of customers is all about the product, the service and the décor. They are likely to be searching for their perfect cup of coffee and a little quiet and solace before their hectic day at the office begins.
So, learn how they like their coffee – everyone loves feeling a bit special and so if you actually get to know your regulars and how they take their drinks, you’re already ahead. Over time you’ll get to know these customers and this side of customer service is vital. Also, the speed of service – If they’re on their way to work and want a takeaway or to sit in and enjoy some time before they head into the office, they will want to be served quickly and efficiently.
If they’re sitting in, they will want to make the most of this time – it may be the only bit of peace and quiet they get for the next 8 hours and so again, make sure your café furniture is comfortable, inviting and suitable.
One of our latest blogs discussed how a café can be used as a co-working space as well as a café. Once the rush hour has died down, you will have a stream of customers visiting your venue for both work and play. As we noted previously, a huge 63% of the population work flexibly and so gone are the days of 9-5 from the office. And, quite frequently, instead of working from home, professionals choose to work from cafes, coffee shops and other co-working spaces.
Make sure you have on offer reliable and powerful WIFI as well as power outlets for tired computers and phones. You will I’m sure have an abundance of healthy food and drink options available on your menu to feed the working brain! However, it could be worth also offering bottomless coffee or a loyalty card for those patrons who are with you for longer periods of time or on more occasions.
If someone is in with you for the long haul, they won’t want to be sitting on uncomfortable café furniture, so make sure you have lots of contract tables and chairs to aid their posture when working on their laptops, as well as offering enough table space for their papers and any technology items. But, also offer some more comfortable seating to relax in and kick back.
Each and every day, you will undoubtedly encounter those customers whom you have never seen before and may never see again. They may simply be passing through, looking for a decent lunch or a cuppa and slice of cake. However, if you’re in a spot where the competition is near enough your next door neighbour, it’s worth bearing the following in mind…
Ensure your front of house stands out and that includes the exterior of your café – Think of your signage, the cleanliness of your windows, any outdoor seating areas and even feature boards to advertise your offering. This will also include the area inside the window – make sure your café furniture is clean and in good nick so customers will be more attracted to your venue.
It’s also worth thinking about your online presence, as more often than not, potential customers will research your offering before they visit. Set out a clear website and social media pages which promote everything you do. Keep it updated and reflective of your brand.
So, as you can see, there’s lots you can do when it comes to attracting various different types of customer. Just be mindful of who you customers are and you will learn the best ways to attract and retain them.