Many Aussie consumers treat coffee as an affordable luxury. A study by Mccrindle and Jura Australia reveals that three in four Australians (75%) enjoy at least one cup of coffee per day while 28% have three or more cups per day.
There’s no doubt that the coffee industry in the country is thriving. Coffee revenue is continuously growing and projected to reach $1.3 billion over the next few years. However, with the pandemic, the sector has been experiencing some drastic changes in the past few months.
Many cafés were forced to close their doors temporarily and others, permanently. Some owners have decided to keep their shops open, but had to rethink their operations and make cuts to stay afloat.
As a café owner, you need to think of novel ways to stay on top of the game. So what can you do to survive this economic turmoil? If you’re looking for some tips or ways on how to improve your service, below are five things you need to consider to make your coffee shop stand out.
- Sell unique and high-quality products
As a cafe owner, you’re not only competing with other coffee shops in the market. You’re also competing with other places that allow consumers to have their coffee fix such as supermarkets, gas stations and convenience stores.
Yes, these places offer more affordable coffee but what they can’t offer customers is the experience of having high-quality and freshly brewed coffee every single time. This is where the quality and uniqueness of your coffee products become very important.
Search for trends that people are raving about. For example, the viral Korean dalgona coffee took the world by storm during the start of the lockdown. If you’re an owner and you want to ride this trend, why not experiment and give it a unique twist. Be creative and give your customers a whole new experience.
Some consumers can’t visit their favourite coffee shops as often as they used to because of lockdown restrictions, making homebrewing more popular right now. Take advantage of this and consider selling your own blends in easy-to-purchase packaging. This will allow you to provide your customers a one-of-a-kind coffee shop experience at the convenience of their own homes.
- Promote sustainability
The issue of sustainability has become increasingly important in Australia. According to Squareup research, “consumers are no longer just conscious of cutting down on plastic waste and researching where their food is coming from, they’re also actively trying to reduce the footprint of their daily coffee habit.”
If you’re not using sustainable coffee and packaging yet, this is the right time to do it. You can source your beans from environmentally and locally conscious growers or start by looking for suppliers offering sustainable packaging and cutlery.
Replacing your plastic with paper straws, wooden utensils or compostable and recyclable cups and lids is one way to help bring down your coffee shop’s carbon footprint. Apart from this, you can also promote reusable cups by giving discounts to those customers who bring their own cups when buying takeaway coffee.
Did you know that coffee grounds also make a great garden fertiliser? Instead of dumping them, why not offer it to your plant-loving customers for free? By doing this, you’re reducing the amount of waste being sent to landfills while creating meaningful connections with your customers at the same time.
- Offer cashless payments
In 2019, only 33% of Aussies use cash when paying for their coffees. The use of cashless or contactless payments has become more prevalent this year as business owners prioritise health and safety concerns.
By offering cashless payment options, you can accommodate more customers who are conscious about handling cash to other people. This is also effective in reducing waiting times which leads to better customer satisfaction and increased revenue.
With cashless payment systems, you'll be able to automatically keep records of all transactions in your café, efficiently saving you more time to do other tasks.
- Reward your regular customers
Customers want to feel valued by the businesses they’re supporting. Offering a loyalty or rewards program is an efficient way to give back to your customers and make them feel that you appreciate them.
You don’t need to develop a rewards app like what big coffee shop chains are doing. In your own little way, you can offer loyalty rewards to your regulars. Give them punch cards where they can get free coffee or snacks after a certain number of purchases. You can also give them complimentary coffee or free pastry on their birthdays, and allow them to try your new products as well.
When creating your loyalty programs or offering discounts, keep the preferences of your repeat customers in mind. Show that you appreciate their loyalty and they will be motivated to continue supporting your business.
- Welcome feedback or suggestions
Customers often notice some things that you or your staff don’t or sometimes, they have ideas that can help your business improve. Be open to their suggestions and let them feel that you appreciate their feedback.
You can create a short survey for your social media followers or put up a suggestion box in your cafe. You can also easily print out physical surveys for your customers to fill out while they're drinking their coffee. Always remember to make your questions concise and relevant.
Here are some questions you can ask your customers:
- What do you like the most about our coffee shop?
- How would you rate our food?
- How would you rate our customer service?
- What suggestions do you have that could improve our products and customer service?
Remaining competitive during a pandemic can be challenging, but if you have the right mindset and strategy you’ll be able to stand out from the crowd. Hopefully, these tips give you an idea on how your business can thrive and adapt to the new normal.
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