How to Turn First Time Customers into Regulars

Everyone loves to discover a new restaurant or cafe. That cool place you choose to meet your friends after work and show everyone that you are in-the-know, "connected" as some call it. As a cafe owner, you want the hipsters to come again, and again, and again. Human nature craves "new" but we also need a comforting anchor to ground us. Some people find this in their own home, while others like to have a "local". A place they are known and always return to. They become one of the family.  In hospitality design, when you combine these two elements to create a great destination, while also evolving into the "hip" local, you have achieved perfection. Great food people crave with attentive and caring service is basic to success. The design, layout and finishing materials are next on that list of secrets to a success restaurant. Your cafe will stand out from the busy crowd of competitors. 

I am the design consultant on a new wellness cafe opening in Dresden. A New Yorker transplanted to Germany and saw an opportunity to provide a destination for everything health related. They wrote a business plan, researched what the locals like and seek, found a perfect location and now are designing the space. They gave two design proposals.

When designing a cafe you need to understand the audience and the needs unique to the cafe. The below list is an abbreviated programme of needs for the cafe to provide an idea of the early design programming process:

  • People will be popping in and out of the cafe
  • Juice preparation and location of slow extraction juicers
  • Food preparation and refrigeration kitchen and resale
  • Delivery of fresh produce and removal of trash
  • Fun, fresh and healthy feel to space
  • Seating for 20
  • Three staff in kitchen and one attending to clients in cafe
  • Public toilet
  • Coffee preparation with nut milks and soy
  • Branding and graphic design incorporation into the cafe space aka 3d branding
  • Future expansion - how doe they see themselves evolving in 2 years
 Option 1

Option 1

 Option 2

Option 2

Option 1

Its a formal sit down cafe with two lounge seats everyone will want. The locals don't like to share tables so  the four person tables will often have only have one or two guests. This is a huge loss of income.  Overall the space feels confined due to the banquette seating and not in keeping with the concept or style of food being served; light and fun. 

Option 2

An open plan layout and lots of options to play with. It is playful and if the finished materials and lighting are chosen well, it will be a success.

Both spaces will have a bottleneck at the cash when locals are simply coming to pick up a juice from the fridges on the right of the main entrance, so that needs to be relocated. Once you have the space planning and flow of who moves where through the cafe then you proceed to the surface materials and lighting. Make sure the materials are long lasting, will look good with regular use and are easy to clean. There is no point investing in materials that are not going to last at least a few years of heavy use only to increase costs and lost of income when you need to replace them. 

Opening a cafe today means you need to design and style the cafe as well as provide outstanding food and service. A unique design experience will sell your cafe through word of mouth and add a level of free advertising through design blogs and design magazines.  

 

Do you have a existing cafe but need to update or want professional insight on how to improve the space? Call us. We provide site visit and Skype consulting. With over 15 years experience in design and luxury services background, we will get your cafe back on track. Contact us info@siobhandonoghue.com