Why do people like to stay in a cafe? Or as Pinoys put it, “tambayan”.
Why do groups of friends gather around a coffee table and talk for hours? Why do students and workers bring along with them their laptops, chargers, bundles of papers and highlighters to work or study at their go-to cafe?
Cafe culture roots
Did you know that the first coffee house opened almost 500 years ago? According to Britannica, the establishments which mainly served coffee first opened in 1550 in Constantinople– what we know as Istanbul, Turkey today. In fact, the term “cafe” is a French word which is ultimately derived from kahve, Turkish for coffee.
And did you know that coffee houses have long been more than just a drinking establishment? Britannica says that cafes in Italy, France, Germany, and England emerged in the 1600s. A place for cliques to discuss news among others. Coffeehouses in Europe after the 17th Century became the hub for reading newspapers, and even buying and selling commodities. Additionally, coffeehouses became venues for artists to perform their works too.
Fast forward to the digital age, Internet Cafes– coffee houses that offer Internet access– started to pop up specifically in the 1990s-2000s.
Similarly, cafes today have become more than an everyday morning routine where people get their morning coffee fix. It’s an any-time-of-day thing now; with some even spending hours inside the cafe to drink coffee while getting work done.
Coffeehouses have long been a venue of conversations, business meetings, and even a working space. Since coffee is a go-to drink for work and socialization, a cafe isn’t just a food and beverage establishment. It is now considered a co-working space where a freelancer finishes his work, a meeting place where businessmen strike a deal, a date spot where relationships flourish, a reunion place where old friends meet, and more. As a cafe owner, you may ask how this is beneficial for you. But since these habits are now deeply ingrained in the Filipino culture, you may need to take this into consideration when planning for your business concept, your cafe interiors, your menu, and your price point.
Your cafe as a shared space
You might be surprised by the multifunctionality of your cafe. Customers can get quality coffee, can support sustainability efforts, as well as:
- A space for getting to know each other AKA First Dates!
With the slow pace and relaxed atmosphere, a coffeehouse’s ambiance tends to be a preferred first date go-to place than bars or restaurants. As a matter of fact, Googling “where to go on a first date?” gives coffee dates as a popular suggested result. People can get to know each other with a laid-back atmosphere, and it’s great for conversations with new acquaintances.
Plus, there’s only minimal investment in terms of money and time. As opposed to a fancy dinner or a cheesy picnic date (where people have to cook or order more food, and even decorate the setup), they just have to buy a drink (which may start at around 100 pesos only). No need for a masakit sa wallet date especially when you’re just getting to know each other!
- A space for relaxation.
More than the IG-worthy interior design, the laid back feeling that your cafe gives off enables customers to relax and enjoy their coffee. A calm space for casual book reading, with warm lights and cool room temperature, as if they’re in a familiar living room is always a thumbs up!
- A space for casual talks or business meetings.
Your cafe offers a flexible and versatile space. It’s a good place for business meetings! A less uptight atmosphere is a good environment for business talks and business deals. Plus, cafes tend to be in easily accessible locations– it’s common both in business districts or non-CBDs. It’s time to shake hands and make the deal over coffee!
- A space for more baked goods and savory sandwiches!
For foodies, what’s a more perfect place to eat delicious pastries than cafes that serve the best coffee?
Coffee shops offer different coffee intensities, and it’s great to offer different kinds of baked goods and sandwiches to pair with it too! As a cafe owner, make sure to have variations in your menu so you can accommodate even the food adventurous ones as well. Read this article for pairing suggestions your cafe can offer.
- A space for working and studying
It’s not too different from the old endeavors done in the first few cafes ever (i.e. above mentioned newspaper readings and clique discussions). With the boom of portable devices like laptops and tablets, as well as wireless connections, the market for spaces that allow the use of these gadgets has become more common.
People look for more places to work or study other than their homes.
With flexible working conditions (like work-anywhere setups) emerging more common now than before, allowing customers to bring in their laptops for working may possibly facilitate an increase in sales. When customers know that they can use their laptops or read their books while eating pastries and drinking coffee, they’ll probably choose to patronize that place– making their experience an enjoyable and positive one!
Related to this bullet, a cafe is also a space for maintaining creativity and focus! Some people find background noise or white noise as beneficial for work or study productivity because it improves focus on their own task. Plus, the coffee smell provides a positive impact as it keeps attention and alertness– some of the ingredients for a productive work or study time.
- A space to sit when you need to rest.
Because why not?
At the end of their busy day, people who have done their errands may want to relax their feet and casually sit while drinking their favorite. It’s cozy and there’s the favorite cup of coffee!
It’s always an advantage when you allow your cafe to have an inviting aura.
Don’t be afraid to make your cafe a space for these mentioned activities. Not only that it might increase sales, but you can reach more people to share the love for coffee! It’s always a great day to share that love.