The ongoing health crisis has pushed many people to postpone their entrepreneurship goals for a later date. As prudent as that might be, it’s best to use this time to prepare and strategize for when that moment finally comes for you to launch your business idea! As the pandemic slowly dwindles and the situation hopefully calms down, the market will once again be primed for new endeavors, cafés included.
The hospitality industry has been facing a particularly difficult time, which means that while many businesses will have to shut down, many new ones will come to life in the wake of the new normal. Knowing that opening your own coffee shop will be both challenging and welcome in the upcoming period, you should brace yourself for these unique circumstances with a strong strategy at hand.
With that in mind, we have compiled a list of the most crucial steps you need to take in the post-pandemic world to kick-start your own café and build up your success in the months to come!
Secure your funding
The first and core issue all new business leaders face is funding. You need to make sure that your business idea is viable locally and that you have the necessary financial capital to establish your presence from day one.
In addition to accumulating your own savings as much as possible, you can also turn to various investors that might be interested in helping get your business off the ground. For that to happen, you should prepare a detailed business plan with data-driven forecasts that will show the true potential of your business, and of their potential investment. Once you have the budget, you can move on to the most creative part of the process – branding your café!
Prepare a strong brand
With the sheer number of options people have at their disposal, why should they choose to notice your café, let alone take a seat and order a cup of their favorite java? The simple answer: your brand. The visual appeal of the café needs to match your values. Everything from your choice of music to your selection of beverages and serving staff is a part of your unique brand.
All of that needs to be considered when you’re starting your own coffee shop, because you need to think of it as a brand with a unique identity, and not just another bland corner shop with access to fresh pastry. Develop your brand identity and strategy to make sure you have a truly memorable business to build, and then start bringing that brand to life with the interior design choices you make.
Give your space an authentic look
The very first things people notice about a café include the layout, the ambiance, and the comfort levels of the furniture. If you want customers to keep coming back to do their business there, and also to imbue your café with that unique look and feel, you need to furnish it properly. Look for high-quality furniture for sale in your region to give your café that authentic, local charm your local customers will relate to.
In one fell swoop, this gives you the chance to stay within your budget and to set up an interior that will mesmerize your customers to stay one cappuccino longer. Offer variety in your seating options, from comfy armchairs and cozy sofas, all the way to lovely Parisian chairs for the outdoor section of your venue. Using throw pillows as part of your interior décor can give your place an even warmer vibe, but you need to choose a color palette that won’t overwhelm the space while still being on-brand.
Establish a network of partners
In the hospitality industry, partnerships are the backbone of long-lasting success for any brand, your café included. It’s necessary to look into your options when it comes to suppliers, manufacturers, and local eateries and delivery companies. A network of strong, reliable partners will set your business up for success from the get-go.
Make sure your coffee shop offers a wide array of beverages that will attract your local audience. Perhaps locally sourced goods are a good choice for supporting the local economy, but also for giving your business an added way to relate to the customers. Work with brands that have strong sustainability policies, as this will reflect well on your business, and it will meet the expectations of your modern-day coffee enthusiasts.
Hire the right personnel
The people who work under your wing and who interact with the customers directly need to be able to effectively convey the core brand message each and every time. They are your finest brand ambassadors, and they should always portray your business in the best possible light.
That said, you need to have a stringent onboarding policy that will help you select and train the personnel for your café. From a skilled barista to the chef behind the scenes and the waiting staff, everyone should be able to make a positive lasting impression on your customers and build your brand’s reputation from day one.
Leverage diverse marketing channels
Last, but not least, marketing your café will make or break your presence in the post-pandemic era. Why? Because you need to find a way to inspire people to trust your business in an exceptionally sensitive time when not everyone boasts the same financial stability as before the pandemic, and because your well-established competitors are part of their routine already.
That is why slowly presenting yourself via social media, with the help of regular posts, engaging your customers at every turn, offering loyalty programs, and supporting other local endeavors will help set you apart. Your marketing strategy needs to portray your values, but it also needs to provide value to your customers with every campaign you publish.
From offering free tips, sharing industry insights, all the way to creating interactive social media polls and contests, make sure that your brand is out there, engaging with people in your community.
Even though we are all going through difficult times right now, new opportunities will arise, and we can expect people flocking to socialize in coffee shops in the near future. This will be the perfect moment for you to set up your own business, bring your idea to life, and give people a unique space to make new memories together and once again enjoy all the beauty of companionship we have all been craving for. Hopefully, your lovely café will become a sanctuary for precisely that, and a place to bring you stability and success for years to come!