How to Get More Customers When Competition is Fierce?
How can you stand out from the crowd?
This is the first in a series of articles that will discuss in detail how to set up and build a successful cafe business.
- What sort of customers do you want to attract. The principles of Brand Positioning - Who are you? What would you like people to think? What sort of people are you trying to attract and why?
Choose what you want to do and then do it well. Be mindful of who your competition is, what is the most likely drawing audience either near your location or passing traffic (e.g., near a train / tram stop). Early morning, late afternoon, evening.
- Staff - your front of house staff are one of the most important ways to attract and keep customers. Friendly, attentive, knowledable of the menu. Ideally, they will remember regulars. Reliable.
Easy to say, but where do you find people who will fit into your business?
- Food - in keeping with the brand positioning - what type of food do you serve. Keep it simple, high quality and suited to your target audience. Be consistent, less is more when starting.
Pay close attention to what is coming back unfinished. Who is ordering what. Find a way to capture and track the data.
Finding the right cook/chef is vital: and easier said than done. Where and how to find and recruit the right people is one of the fundamentals of successful businesses. Succession planning is something that most businesses do not consider, but this can save a lot of heartache in times of uncertainty.
- Ambience - The Vibe - The ambience is of crucial importance to attracting and keeping your desired customers. It may not be immediately obvious, but it is extremely important.
For instance, if you after a youthful audience, then the ambience, vibe should suit that audience. The music, staff, look and feel, food, decor. Pay attention to the way people are interacting with the vibe. I am sure many cafe staff believe the music is for them, but in fact customers intuitively interact with music and other ambient sound.
How to Identify and build on The Vibe
Location - location, location, location. Is important, however, reputation is more important.
People are very mobile these days, so word of mouth is vital. Convenience is also very helpful. Parking, public transport, high density local drawing area.
Even though there will be natural patterns to peak traffic, there will also be unexpected peaks and troughs. So, how can you manage the unexpected peaks and troughs cost effectively whilst maintaining a high level of customer service.
How to gear up for busy peaks without additional cost - Tips and Tricks to Manage the Flow.
- Decor - In line with your Brand Positioning and desired customers. The Decor should suit the style. No need to overdo it. Get the key elements right.
Design and Style - Cost Effective Ways to Test the Best
- Marketing and Promotion - once you are very clear about who you are, who you would like to attract and how you present yourself, then hook into Social Media, Paid Advertising and start collecting reviews!
How Much is Enough in Promotional Spend
How much is enough and how much to too much? This is a tricky question and there is no real absolute answer. However, ensuring you have your analytics set up (across all media and shopfloor) and reviewing the data and results will help inform on what is working and what is not.
Having a good analytics partner is vital to getting value for money with your promotion spend.
When and how much should you spend on advertising, coupons, freebies, etc.