Cafes are renowned for having a wide range of clientele. It can depend on the type of food being sold, the price, the location, the decoration and many other factors. But it’s more than possible that the venue will be frequented by people from a huge variety of different backgrounds. The workmen grabbing a quick bacon sarnie on the way to the site, the writer looking for inspiration over his espresso and the teenage girls who want a gossip over croissants. But how do you turn your cafe into a retreat that ticks the boxes of all your regulars?
Know your clients
If there are particular people that come in regularly, assess if they are spending a lot of money. Someone that runs in for a coffee and a pastry to go isn’t likely to be overly fussed by the design of the place. As long as the things they buy are the same, they’ll be a happy customer. But the people who come in and spend hours poring over a book, their laptop or talking to friends can be slightly trickier to please, and these are the ones you need to think about. Chances are, you have a pretty good relationship with them already so why not ask them if they have any design features they’re particularly fond of. Similarly, find out what they dislike or what they would appreciate being added to the venue.
Make a note of their opinions and then make a decision on what you would personally like to include, as well as what you can realistically afford. Don’t expect to please everyone; you’re running a business at the end of the day, so make sure you keep this at the forefront of every new purchase you make.
Choose a design
If you have a particular theme in mind, it can make life a lot easier to plan out how the new design will look. French-style bistros are a fashionable look at the moment and the style is easy to create. Bentwood chairs and round little tables are popular furniture choices for this type of design. Adding a little tea light to each table may or may not be wise, depending on the clientele. If there are a lot of parents with young children frequenting your establishment, open flames are best avoided.
An American-style diner is another common design that can work really well. Having booths with long benches are great for bigger groups visiting the cafe. To an extent, the design will also be influenced by the type of food and drink being sold. For example, if the cafe tends to stick to a simple menu of sandwiches, cakes and hot drinks, a diner-style design may not be as effective. Similarly, if there are more substantial meals like burgers on offer, a slightly louder, more casual setting could be a better option.
Once you’ve made a decision, talk to your customers and keep them in the loop. They’ll appreciate being made to feel a part of the changes that are happening and their input could make all the difference to the success of the venue. It may be that you choose to go in a completely different direction to the design that you have previously had and that’s ok. As long as it works for your customers, it’ll work for you and hopefully be a successful business
Kevin Mills started his career as a company executive in the Reading area and later relocated to Leicestershire. He is a proud father of a new son and happily living with his wife. At present he is working at an international furniture house in Leicestershire. Kevin occasionally writes articles about restaurant and hotel furniture.
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