What makes a restaurant or coffee shop a personal favourite? Consumers are always on the search for something unique, even nostalgic. Here’s how to give it to them without breaking the bank…
People are obsessed with quality, consistency and care. These three values create great experiences - something worth paying for. Successful franchises know that their product must place the customer at the centre and speak to their desires — even if it is as simple as the aroma of arabica wafting through a Starbucks outlet. For the independent retailer, however, creating bespoke product encounters comes at a high cost. How do you minimise on the outlay and still cultivate those three values?
DO LESS, BUT BETTER
Stop obsessing over whether to build that add-on bookstore, or that full cafe’ lunch menu. Just focus on making great coffee. Expansion will come - for now, focus on the fundamentals.
Make quality coffee, the kind that is consistently good and made with care. Doing that will bring that someone, looking for that personal experience, in to your shop every Saturday - to sit at the same corner table. Make the kind of coffee makes Jon bring his new girlfriend in for a coffee date. You cannot buy loyalty, you can simply cultivate it. But once you have a loyal customer, that brings word-of-mouth marketing. If you focus on what sets you apart, you will find that keeping customers coming back will help you spend less on forcing them to to buy in to your brand.
DON’T HIRE STAFF
When people have a bad retail experience it’s not because of the food, or product not in stock - it is the ambivalent waiter who brought you the plate two years too late, or the store staff who look don’t know what you’re talking about. Don’t skimp on good service. Workers that really care about your business will want to keep customers clambering to come back again. Rather build a smaller, more dedicated team - a group of individuals you can really rely on.
Hire people who are personable, dedicated and reliable. Building a great team takes time, but you will spend less in the long run. Yes, dedicated, autonomous employees cost money - but trust that you’ll make your money back.
TAKE A PAY CUT, BUT PAY YOURSELF
When your business starts making a good profit, take a pay cut. This might seem ludicrous, but start thinking about ways you can use that to expand, or save for the next time the economy takes a dip and people can’t afford to dine out anymore.
When you start a business your focus is survival and steady growth. It may mean selling your house and moving into a rental. We know that your business is deeply personal. You will always work that much harder to succeed, and you may think that holding back on a salary to keep it afloat is good business sense, but you need to get paid, just keep it small.