It seems wherever you go, a new café is popping up. Whether it’s a sit-in facility or coffee-to-go, the introduction of cafes of different sizes and scopes have created a very competitive marketplace. This situation has created a reality check for new cafes, being how to stand out amongst the competition? In most cases, creating an eye-catching layout or design can make all the difference.
Choosing the Right Location & Décor
Selecting the right location for any business is a major contributing factor to visibility and in turn sales traffic. However, what’s inside the building, such as the layout, seating arrangements, atmosphere and the décor all impact the customers comfort level. All areas of the location impact your customers ability to arrive, purchase, and park with ease.
Setting Up Your Layout
Determining the layout of a cafe is done based on its shape and size. For example, if you have a restricted front entrance that is narrow, opening into a wide space, you will have to design the layout to focus on improving the flow of customers in and out. This layout is crucial for providing a warm and welcoming ambience, which cafes are known to present.
Many first-time cafe owners find it quite helpful to write down possible layouts on paper or using computer design programs. This provides you with a visual cue and provides flexibility of configurations and layouts, without spending money on actual construction.
When you are designing your layout, you should consider the following:
- The location of your counter in proximity to the front door. You want to create an easy to access atmosphere, but not create a crowded front of room area. Make sure there’s plenty of space between the two.
- Food service standards. Depending on your location, it is quite possible that you will have food service construction standards that must be followed. In many countries, blocking access to the food counter with furniture is not allowed for safety reasons. Make sure to check with your local council before designing your layout.
- Wheelchair access. It is also important to design the layout of your cafe to permit handicap or restricted individual’s free access to your facility.
The Atmosphere and Décor
Every cafe should have a warm and welcoming atmosphere, especially on those cold mornings or evening hours when the hot beverage is just as warm as the area they sit. by taking time to design the atmosphere and decor of your cafe to fit the needs and desires of your customer base, you’ll be one step ahead of many cookie cutter locations.
When you open a new cafe, it’s important to stand out amongst the crowded field of competition. But your decor should both enhance your customers experience and be designed within your overall theme.
Here are some helpful tips to consider when beginning the design and decor process.
- Colours: Every design theme begins with a color palette that expresses a certain feeling or visual cue. with a cafe, you want to consider the color used, as it will provide the first impression to many new customers. a great resource for researching possible color combinations this Pinterest or search online for popular cafes to see what is working for them.
- The Ambience: Lighting including the type of lamps, light bulbs, natural light, and location of light producing elements will create an ambience within your cafe. Having the right balance or light levels in a cafe also makes a considerable difference in the overall decor. Some areas you may want to be dimly lit, while others should embrace natural sunlight. that perfect balance is difficult to obtain but can pay dividends.
- Audio Enhancement: Sound plays a major role in adding to a positive or relaxed atmosphere. Always make sure that your cafe has a quality sound system, even if the music played is very soft.
- The Temperature: Some people believe that a cafe should be cold, in order to stimulate people to purchase warm beverages. That is not always the right course of action. Temperatures for a cafe should be comfortable. If your customers are wearing jackets or removing clothing, that is a good indicator that the temperature is not right.
- The Cleanliness of the Facility: In the restaurant or café industry, cleanliness is next to Godliness. This is especially true for restrooms and customer public areas.
- Furniture and Other: The chairs, tables, even the cups and cutlery used at your café helps to promote your brand. Make sure to invest in quality equipment that matches the décor you’re looking to achieve.
Sometimes reaching out to a professional designer who specialises in coffee shops or cafes is worth the investment. Always contact them and receive multiple bids from different providers before agreeing to terms.
Regulations and Licensing
Every country, region, or even city has unique regulations and licenses required to open a café. This is an important aspect of the design process as well. Quite often as part of a lease it’s a requirement to have café insurance. It’s important to verify with your local leaders and city council about ordinances required for your type of business in the area you build and operate. Some of the important licenses to retain include:
- Food Business License: This license is typically required to be obtained if you plan to sell or prepare food at your café. Some food licenses are separated into prepared or pre-prepped food, so make sure to clarify before investing the time and money.
Health and Safety: Each country has unique food health and safety requirements. This will usually require an onsite inspection by a professional health inspector. Once completed, they will assign a certification that is valid for a specific length of time. Insurance: This is an important item for any business to consider.
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