What’s the secret formula? Why are coffee shops so popular?
As you enter a coffee shop, you cannot deny its cool factor. Its intimate atmosphere is made up of cozy colors, chill background music, and a variety of unique individuals staying for hours on their laptops, talking with friends, and reading books.
But why are coffee shops so popular? And would it be beneficial to your restaurant to take some notes on the characteristics of the coffee house environment? Would trying to appeal to the coffee house community bring in more customers to your business?
The rise in popularity of coffee shops today is partly due to the rise in popularity of coffee itself! In the United States, coffee was historically used during rebellion as a sign of patriotism, and today to fuel our hard-working economy. In 2016, about 64% of American adults were drinking coffee.
Therefore, the birth of coffee houses is no surprise. But their function over time has shifted from merely providing early morning fuel on an individual’s way to work to bringing in customers all throughout the day and even into the night. But what charged this shift? It’s the type of customers the coffee house industry learned how to attract. College students needed a place to study, people with home-based work needed a productive and social environment to work in, shoppers needed a place to stop by and chat with friends, and people wanted a casual and relaxing way to get out at night.
Instead of simply offering customers coffee, the coffee shops learned to add extra services and events to their establishment that would draw in this expansive crowd. They started offering lunch-size items, hosting open mic and trivia nights, and offering Wi-Fi.
Coffee shops transformed from a location where you could simply purchase a cup of joe in the to a place you could grab a bite to eat, spend time with friends, and get work done. So, why are coffee shops so popular? They’re more than just a place to eat.
Coffee shops are not the only ones providing these services – other restaurants are starting to jump onto the bandwagon of offering a cozy atmosphere, fun Friday night events, and Wi-Fi for busy bees. This is because as coffee shops begin to offer more food and rise in popularity, they become competition for your restaurant.
To maintain and gain customers, it is important to stay on top of the trend and know what atmosphere your customers are intrigued by. A simple way to combat the competition is to use the same methods and strategies the coffee shops are using.
Take a look at the strategies restaurants are currently using to maintain their class, while appealing to the coffee house crowd. Restaurants that are setting the example right now on incorporating coffee shop vibes are living room style restaurants. They use unique furniture and decor – pieces that actually look like something that could be used in a home living or dining room. The lights and colors are dim and while they still offer lavish meals, comforting foods such as a bowl of macaroni and cheese or tomato soup make their way onto the menu.
We know – using your laptop or cell phone while you eat is not ideal, but realistically this is the way of our present world. Many people work from home or have jobs where they need to constantly be on or near their phones. By giving your customers access to your Wi-Fi, it makes your restaurant a safe and encouraging space for them to do what they need to do while still having an enjoyable experience. By forcing customers to have to use their data plans, they are likely to leave sooner and not come back during their busier season.
This one might seem pretty straightforward – to invoke the coffee house environment simply serve similar food! Having a variety of appetizers, desserts and coffee to snack on allows customers to have a more casual experience where they can simply catch up with a friend or family member.
Events, in a way, create that intimate environment you find in a coffee house. Instead of simply serving food, you become a full-on host/hostess when throwing a trivia game night or karaoke night. Giving customers something they can get up and participate in or simply observe creates a fun atmosphere where they can come be themselves. Events also give your customers a reason to go to your restaurant instead of a competitor’s.
One of the unique characteristics of coffee shops is their choice of color. Typically, instead of choosing bright colors, or simple neutral colors, they tend to use darker colors like burgundy and dark brown. While it may be out of the budget to totally repaint your entire restaurant, simply changing your table linens can make a huge impact on customer experience. Change out your plain napkins and tablecloths for a deep, colored linen option.
Mastering the coffee house environment in your restaurant is a big project and you shouldn’t have to do it alone. Let us at Superior Linen help you transform your restaurant from a simple place to sit down for a meal to a cozy place for customers to relax with friends and family members or get their work done. We can help you figure out why coffee shops are so popular and help you harness that vitality for your business.
At Superior we can supply all your table linen needs. Contact us today at 253-383-2636 to learn more about how our table linens can help you customize your restaurant and integrate that chill, coffeehouse vibe.