Tips To Boost Business for Your Cafe

Last Updated: 

May 14, 2024

As of the end of 2023, the UK boasted over 7,700 thriving cafe businesses. Despite the perception of cafes as a dying breed, the sector is actually experiencing modest growth. This indicates a significant number of people who still relish the ambience of these classic establishments and actively support their local cafes, thereby contributing to the vitality of the high street and the success of small businesses in their respective areas.

While it's true that national and multinational coffee chains are on the rise, threatening to dominate the cafe and coffee shop scene, independent cafes have their own unique strengths. By leveraging these advantages and ensuring they get their fair share of the market, independent cafes can stand tall and not be overshadowed by their larger competitors.

a beautiful cafe interior
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Key Takeaways on Boosting Business for Your Cafe

  1. Embrace Events: Hosting events like book signings, cooking classes, or music nights can attract a diverse audience and increase foot traffic to your cafe, enhancing community engagement.
  2. Forge Partnerships: Collaborating with local businesses, such as bakeries or breweries, can broaden your customer base and amplify brand visibility, fostering mutually beneficial relationships.
  3. Specialise Your Niche: Tailoring your offerings to cater to specific demographics, whether it's vegan cuisine, pet-friendly atmospheres, or gourmet coffee selections, can differentiate your cafe and attract loyal patrons.
  4. Leverage Special Offers: Implementing promotions like discounted items, loyalty programs, or themed days can incentivise purchases and cultivate customer loyalty, driving repeat business.
  5. Revamp Your Space: Refreshing your cafe's ambiance with updated decor, improved layout, and modern branding can enhance the overall customer experience, revitalising interest and boosting sales.
  6. Streamline Ordering: Introducing electronic point-of-sale systems and digital ordering options can streamline the ordering process, reducing wait times and enhancing convenience for customers.
  7. Explore Delivery Options: Adapting to the growing trend of food delivery services can expand your reach and revenue streams, providing customers with the convenience of enjoying your offerings from the comfort of their homes.
Want to Close Bigger Deals?

Host Events

To appeal to your local audience and even those just further away, you can look at hosting events in your cafe to help you bring people through the doors. You can close from your normal trade for the day and host an event, or you can run it after hours if you wish. Great ideas for events for independent cafes include book signings, book readings, cooking classes, charity nights, music nights, quizzes, and so much more. Ask your current customers what they would like to see loo,k at events in your local area that are popular, and see what business you can drum up.

Partner with Other Businesses

This can be a win-win for both businesses, but partnering with other local food retailers can allow you to increase sales for both of you and boost your profile. The reason is that you will be exposed to each other's customer base, meaning you will be able to reach more people easily. You can look at selling cakes from a local cake maker, cookies, brownies, etc. You can sell other sweet treats, and you can promote local drink companies, breweries, distilleries, or anything else that compliments what you do. 

By selling other businesses' products, you can expect to have their customers or those wanting to try their products come to you to make the purchase. Alternatively, they can benefit from having your customers try their goods and then become customers for them too.

Niche Down

It can be a good idea to narrow down what you offer to appeal to a select audience. It can be that you decide to become a vegan eatery or vegetarian only, you can become a child-friendly cafe to appeal to parents, you can host dogs and be a pet parent hangout where families bring their pooches post-walk, you can specialise in sandwiches only both hot and cold, open for just breakfast foods of a morning or become the only place in your local area for good coffee by offering a range of different beans for people to try and enjoy a cup of the good stuff. If you need a coffee machine to facilitate this, you can read this coffee machine review blog to help you set up a coffee-orientated cafe to rival Costa, Starbucks and Nero.

Special Offers

Offering special offers such as reduced prices before a specific time, having specials at a lower price, building loyalty stamps for free items after a certain number of purchases, and so on can be highly beneficial for generating sales. Getting people in the door by enticing them with offers allows them to see what else you have for them to try, and hopefully, they will be motivated to make full-price purchases or come back to try something different.

You can have set days for offers, such as Mega Mondays, where all cakes are 25% off, or Freebie Fridays, where customers get an item free with a spend over a certain amount. It's entirely up to you.

Redesign Your Cafe

If your premises look dated or need a facelift, it can be a good idea to consider what you can change and improve. This could involve giving the whole place a fresh lick of paint, getting a new counter, new tables and chairs, or simply redesigning your logo and branding to make them more appealing and eye-catching.

Look at how customers navigate the space and see how you can improve the layout. Maybe you need to remove some tables and chairs, have a set area for prams and strollers, or have separate spaces for people to move around more easily. Take a step back and look at your cafe through the eyes of the customers and make any improvements necessary to help boost sales and improve the customer experience.

Make Ordering Easier

If you don't already, you can look at using electronic points of sale to make processing orders easier. You can invest in apps to allow people to order from their table or digital ordering screens as currently used in places like Mcdonalds and KFC to enable people to order without having to come to the counter, making it easier to order, pay and customise their choices without waiting in long queues.

Offer Deliveries

The food delivery and takeaway sectors have been booming since COVID-19, and the trend seems to show no signs of slowing down. Offering a delivery service for your customers means that even if they can't physically able to get into your cafe to eat or drink, they can still order and have their favourites from you regardless of where they are. This might require some investment to be ready to take and fulfil orders, such as investing in delivery containers and packaging to help ensure the orders arrive as they need to be in good condition and taking on more staff or drivers if you're not using an established provider such as Just Eat or Uber but it can be a lucrative option to consider if you want to boost sales and reach a wider demographic of customer.

Running a cafe business in 2024 isn't something you should shy away from or accept defeat if you are struggling. Looking for creative ways to appeal to both existing and new customers can help you boost sales and make things successful.

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