Are you the owner of a small cafe, or think you might like to become one? If so, you probably already know that attracting, and perhaps more importantly, keeping customers is the lifeblood of any restaurant business. Unfortunately, customers can be a fickle bunch, fiercely dedicated to your place until the day they wander away to the new fashionable venue down the street. It can be discouraging watching your lunch crowd dwindle, especially considering the consistently high quality your cafe offers! Don’t despair though, there are some things you can do to keep your cafe the talk of the town and the destination of choice for those wandering customers!
It’s always well worth taking some time to study the success of others. Check around the internet to find out what popular places that might be similar to yours are doing to draw in the business. It’s not really spying, just inspiration gathering! My pick for the perfect restaurant to emulate is Macarthur Square Cafe. This family-run business is like a home away from home for any who come through their doors, customers are greeted as one of the family and treated to some of the best food ever made. They are doing it right, and so can you! Let’s examine two of the most important factors that spell success.
The Food – You can put up a folding table and chair in the middle of a parking lot, and as long as you have excellent food someone will come to eat it! Whatever kind of cuisine you offer it’s incumbent on you to make sure it’s made from the highest quality ingredients with skill and loving care. For example, if you are going to serve wine, make sure it’s top quality at a fair price. The same goes for your menu items, they have to taste great and feel well worth every hard-earned dollar spent. When all else fails, good eats will always bring them in, and back again!
The Decor – Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but there are some things most people will agree on when it comes to dining ambience. The decor should always compliment the cuisine, and be designed to draw attention to your cafe’s unique style and tastes. It’s also vital to make sure it’s appropriate to your theme, this is especially important when serving ethnic cuisines. I will never forget a favourite Japanese place from my college days. Everything was perfect, the rice paper screens on the windows, the subtle beauty of the flower arrangements, the calming scenes on hanging scrolls- I felt as if I had walked through a magic door to Japan until it was time to go to the restroom, where a gigantic painting of a very out of place matador was engaged in a bullfight. POP! There went the ambience!
As always, it’s important to make sure your cafe is properly licensed by the local government. Good food plus a pleasant space for the win!