Keeping It Cool: What makes cafe customers stay longer
Imagine a person walking by your coffee shop. The first sense they’ll use is their sense of sight.
As a business, the very thing we want them to do is to open the cafe door, enter, make a purchase, and experience the quality coffee and atmosphere that your cafe offers. When they leave, we want them to go back, of course. And when they do, we want them to stay–be a regular cafe goer so that we’d be able to memorize what they like and what they don’t like.
But how do coffee entrepreneurs do this?
What can you do to attract more customers?
How do you create consistency that customers would want to keep coming back?
Maintaining that ‘cool’ cafe atmosphere helps customers appreciate the kind of relaxation they experience during their stay. Let’s define the word “cool” in two ways:
Cool as in chill, proper ventilation, good air-conditioning
Cool as in trendy, amazing, and exciting
Here’s a recipe of tangible ideas you can add and upgrade in your cafe atmosphere.
- First impressions work, so make it last
Be a cool coffee spot that instantly attracts new customers! Make them stop as they pass by and entice them to look inside through glass windows. Introduce yourself through your storefront, your signage and your shop name.
The cafe experience begins the moment they look at you. These days, it’s a challenge to even make customers glance at your direction. So when they do, make them feel welcome as soon as they enter. Remember: A cool, relaxing atmosphere includes the way we treat our customers.
- Customer service is part of the branding
Staff training includes not only beverage crafting, but also customer service. A cafe experience is also different from restaurant service, so be sure to set yourself apart. Keep that cheerful smile! Eventually, the more accommodating aura in your cafe becomes a free invitation for future and regular customers.
A cool cafe has a cool staff (no hot-headed ones please!).
- Be creative in setting a theme for the cafe’s interior.
How would you like people to perceive your cafe? This will help you establish your cafe’s personality.
Your cafe’s interior sets the atmosphere your customers will experience. The decors, staff uniform and color palette are all part of building your cafe’s identity. Additionally, think of it like a way to introduce what the whole ambience will be like as your guests stay.
If you’re still thinking of how you’ll brand your cafe’s personality, you can take a look at your menu and see what sets you out–what are the important elements you want included in the overall ambience. This is a vital element to level the interior with the great quality of your food and beverage offerings! When you have a great interior design, it can impact the way your customers anticipate what comes next–their food and drink.
- Provide cool ventilation.
Consider the everyday room temperature of your cafe, especially if you’re using electric fans.
If you have air conditioning units, maintain the cool temperature so that customers can stay comfortable. A hot cup of coffee does sound relaxing, but a very hot room space does not.
This will also make a well-ventilated work environment for your baristas and staff. With an active role in the cafe, moving a lot breaks out a sweat. Keep them cool and energized with just the right temperature.
- Curate playlists that soothe the ears
Sound and music helps in associating things to other things. For example, you might have a song that will always remind you of your childhood or a song you associate with an unforgettable road trip. Surely, sound and music can be associated with our memories, or feelings and emotions, or even just the day’s mood.
In a cafe setting, you should curate playlists by keeping in mind what your customers will like. Imagine as if you’re choosing a theme song for a film or TV series you created. You want great music that will capture what your cafe is about–what you serve and the ambience you want them to experience as they dine in.
Get creative! Whether you base it on the day’s occasion, or the weather or when a popular artist drops a new album. Another factor to consider is your target market’s age bracket. If your guests are usually Gen Zs, they might like songs by pop artists today–check out the month’s top 50 hits for inspiration! Or when the average age of your guests is more likely older, you might want to consider playlists featuring popular artists and bands like The Police, Carpenters and Bee Gees.
Make sure that it always seems fresh and definitely not on loop. Not only will your customers notice it, but your baristas and other staff listen to the music too! So be sure to keep them motivated and happy with the music you choose to play.
- Improve your counter or pastry display
Don’t be afraid to showcase your pastry menu! Not only is it for another profit, but you can offer sandwiches or baked goodies that are best paired with your coffee. Be sure it’s aesthetically pleasing by arranging it according to its category. For instance, you can place baked sweet goodies on one side and savory sandwiches on the other. It will entice appetites and are more likely to be sold when they look very delectable. (It’s easier to choose from!)
Try to be environmentally friendly too! You can opt to use food-grade papers for wrapping the pastries. You’re not only being a responsible business owner, but it can also enhance your customer’s overall food experience when it’s presented and wrapped appetizingly in sustainable packaging.
Keeping a cool atmosphere means more than just keeping your air conditioning units well maintained! When you are able to provide great service and a relaxing atmosphere, then you have found a good recipe to keep your customers stay.
Ultimately, a cafe involves a whole experience–sight, smell, aural, feel, and taste.
Make your cafe worth the trip and worth the tip.