Let's be honest. It seems like when one walks into the typical coffee shop, they appear to be yet another clone of Starbucks. For some shops, it has worked out just fine. However, for most that I have seen, it has been to the impending doom of their business. In many ways, it is ok to model some great things from a successful corporation. However, like any business, there has to be something special that makes a customer decide to change from one store to another. The ultimate goal really is to have that customer come back a second time AND BRING A FRIEND. Truthfully, there should be several special things that will influence a customer to come again, but the best way to start is putting your best foot forward through a good first impression.
They say the first impression is everything and that you only get seconds to impact the way they will look at you forever. If that is the truth, I would say there are three things that are going to make an immediate impact on the success of your cafe. To begin with, I would say the first of your first impressions unequivocally the smell of your business. I once heard a story in my college marketing class about a retail outlet that was struggling. They decided to make chocolate chip cookies that the customers could smell when they walked through the door. It went on to do wonders for the business. I have yet to find the story on the internet, however, I did find that may retail stores do influence buying decisions through spraying fresh bread or coffee smells.
The first unequivocally is the smell I once heard a story in my college marketing class about a retail outlet that was struggling. They decided to make chocolate chip cookies that the customers could smell when they walked through the door, and it made a huge difference to their business. Not sure that the story is true, I have yet to find the story on the internet, however, I did find that may retail stores do in fact influence buying decisions through spraying a fresh bread scent or some other kind of smell. It would seem this should be natural for a coffee shop to have the smell of fresh coffee brewing and some sort of something baking.
The second thing that makes that initial difference is your customer service. Have you ever walked through a retail store and been utterly ignored? Nothing says we want you here a smile and warm greeting. The nice thing about good customer service is that if you train your staff right, it won't cost you a penny, but will keep people coming back.
The third thing that makes that good first impression is the furniture and decor If the place is hip and unique, it going to get people talking; this is especially true since we live in the days of SnapChat and Instagram. Think about it, when something is cute or different people pull out their phone and take a picture, posting it to their favorite social media app. There are lots of things you can do to give your restaurant a special flare. One thing I would recommend is to coordinate your artwork with some specially themed tables. CafeTableTops.com is one such company that provides themed and custom tables. With their slogan of "Why be boring", the believe having something like a uniquely decorative table top or a piece of artwork that catches a customer's eye is going to make the lasting impression. One set of designs I think makes this company unique is their reproduction of classical artwork on their tables. You can literally make your coffee shop an art gallery with famous pieces of Money and Da Vinci.
In today's marketplace, it is important to reinvent yourself. Starbucks has a greater potential to be more successful than you at THEIR business model, so it is important to be something different. Maybe starting with making that great first impression it will help!