Over the years, cafes or coffee shops have ceased to be mere relaxing places where you can enjoy a cup of freshly brewed coffee or tea. Now, they are gathering places for friends and even workplaces for self-employed individuals.
Some cafes even have a theme, making them more enjoyable places to be for customers. For example, a cat cafe in Seoul, South Korea, is known for its cold-pressed coffee, as well as their resident sweet, domesticated kitty cats that never fail to delight customers.
Truly, a coffee shop is quite a dynamic place to be. This is one of the leading reasons why, if you own one, you need to be creative to stand out and also come up with smart ways to be more efficient. These are the keys to being competitive.
How to Improve Operations and Productivity
When it comes to strategies for coffee shop success, there certainly are many to consider. These tactics are often responses to the changing lifestyles of today’s cafe customers.
Find out what they are in the list below.
1. Using POS for coffee shops
Point-of-sale systems are nifty programs for all kinds of business operations. However, there are those designed specifically for coffee shop operations. This POS for coffee shops does not just record sales, but it also collects valuable data for the business.
Some pieces of data that POS systems record are customer preferences and frequency of purchases per customer. These valuable data provide coffee shops with opportunities to design the most appropriate services and products to lock in customer loyalty, as well as increase sales.
2. Running a survey
A survey is another tactic to consider if you wish to upgrade the offerings of your coffee shop. Through a questionnaire, you can get a better idea of what the people who come to your establishment really want. This is what a lot of neighborhood coffee shops find useful in competing with larger and popular cafe chains.
According to a cafe owner in Oita, Japan, it was because of a survey that he expanded the menu of his shop. With a fast-growing clientele of senior citizens with mobility and health issues, he learned through a survey that they want a small selection of healthy breakfast options to go with coffee. Not only that, but he also learned that his regular customers are quite open to new concoctions, especially coffee mixes that promise more nutrition.
No doubt, running a survey can yield excellent responses to help businesses ensure longevity in a highly competitive scene.
3. Using an inventory app
These days, there’s an app for everything. A cafe, particularly one that serves light meals, should always be on top of its inventory. Using an inventory app is one of the easiest yet most efficient ways of performing such a vital task. The app can record the different ingredients in the pantry, as well as relevant information about them, such as their cost, expiry date, and even uses.
With the app, it will be easier to keep ingredients moving to prevent costly wastage. Additionally, because you have to move ingredients quickly, you can use the inventory app as a source of inspiration for new recipes. If you really wish to prevent wastage, you should take the time to experiment with your resources and make them useful and profitable.
4. Offering optimum convenience
One of the reasons why people turn to businesses is to make their lives more convenient. This is something that cafes should always remember. So, make sure to set up comfort and convenience features such as plush seats and power outlets per table and wireless Internet.
Plus, offer reading materials, and make sure you have a contacts list to help customers with particular needs. For example, there’s this local coffee shop in Hualien, Taiwan, whose owner knows all the different businesses in the community. Therefore, should a customer need anything — from a car rental service to a place to stay for the night — the cafe can offer a solution.
With optimum convenience for customers in mind, you can make it easier for them to have that much-needed time for themselves, and also make the most out of that time.
5. Managing employee timesheets well
Your employees are the core factor of why you have a running business. Thus, it’s crucial to manage their schedules well and make sure that operations are not stretching them too thin.
There are digital programs that allow you to perform this task effectively. An employee timesheet program, for instance, calculates working hours, as well as matches sales with the number of hours contributed by employees. Through this program, it’s a breeze to monitor the actual productivity of your crew and assess their overall performance relative to the goals of the business.
6. Maintaining a relaxing ambiance
One of the reasons why a cafe is the favorite hang-out of so many people is the wholesome and relaxing ambiance it has. By making sure that the shop never gets too noisy, loyal customers can spend as much time as they want here.
So, keep ambient sounds low and make sure that customers observe proper cafe decorum through gentle reminders and requests.
7. Coming up with a good theme
Studies say that working with a unique, homey theme is highly beneficial for any dining establishment, so customers can easily feel at home in it. When people are at ease and relaxed, they spend more time there and tend to spend more, as well.
That being said, with a good theme, you will not only get to distinguish or set your coffee shop apart from the competition, but you also gain the advantage of netting in a loyal and specific clientele.
Commitment to Continuous Improvement
A cafe or coffee shop can be a longstanding business as long as it continues to focus on the rapidly changing lifestyle of its customers and operates in a highly efficient manner.
Remember, no aspect of operations is too trivial to address. No matter how small or simple, there are always ways to improve.
Which of the strategies shared above are you keen on implementing soon?
Ahmad Alzaini is the co-founder and CEO of Foodics, a fast-growing foodtech startup. A businessman by nature, Alzaini is an app aficionado, developing businesses in Saudi Arabia within several industries. Today, Foodics has extended to new markets across the MENA region, processing over 1 billion transactions, and offering the latest technology in POS and restaurant management.