Having read our article on opening a food service business, we may have peaked your interest. Opening a cafe is something that may be within your reach, but it’s not as simple as opening your doors and inviting customers in. You won’t be the only cafe on the high street, so customer care needs to be your priority.
If you don’t look after them, they won’t look after you, and they will probably tittle-tattle to their friends about any negative experiences they had on your premises. You need to do all you can to make their experience a pleasurable one, and in this article, we will give you some guaranteed ways to make their lives (and yours) happier.
A friendly and respectful staff.
Great customer service begins when visitors enter your cafe. With a cheery smile and a polite hello, your staff need to greet the customers in a friendly manner. When the customer is seated, they need to be allowed time to choose from the menu without being hurried by an impatient waiter. Good manners are everything, even if the customer is dissatisfied with their food. With courtesy and respect, your staff need to convey a sense of value to the customer. Staff training in customer service is important, but when hiring, try and choose candidates who are naturally skilled with people to begin with.
When a customer enters your cafe, the last thing they want is a nosey waiter listening into their conversations. In the same way, they don’t want to be seated too near other people whose ears are alert to any titbits of gossip they can pick up. In a small venue this can be difficult, but if space allows, consider having booths for those people who don’t want to be the centre of attention to others. When possible, you might also place cafe chairs outside and tables outside, giving your customers the option to sit away from the diners inside.
A guaranteed way to encourage repeat business, a loyalty programme is a fantastic way to treat regular customers. This can take many forms, but as examples, you may give them a discounted meal on their tenth visit, or give them a gift voucher to use on their birthday, perhaps for a free cake or meal. While you want to make money from your customers, a loyalty programme won’t dent your finances if your generosity keeps them coming back. Not only that, but word of mouth referrals will also benefit you when others learn about the rewards you offer loyal customers.
Offer something new.
A cafe can become as stale as the bread you keep in the kitchen if you don’t give your customers something new once in a while. A little surprise to keep your customers on their toes is going to enhance their experience. So, what does this mean in reality? For starters (mains and desserts), consider adding new items to the menu from time to time. Then consider different themes in the week, perhaps with Indian food a speciality one day of the week, and something pasta based the next. You could also add entertainment occasionally, with a magician dealing card tricks from table to table, or a local band playing in the corner. This will elevate the overall experience for your customer, and it will keep them coming back to find out what else you may have in store. No pressure, then!
Take away advice.
Going the extra mile, with excellent service and new experiences, you will please your customers. Having gained their loyalty, your cafe business will surely go from strength to strength. We wish you the best of luck.