Understanding your customers

One of the first steps when considering how to improve your café is to start putting more thought towards understanding who your customers are and what they want.

Try and put aside the obvious location benefits many of your regulars might enjoy and start to look for the reasons why customers walk into your café every day. Ask your customers questions, even if they are new. You may be surprised how much they enjoy having a chat.

What is it they come in for?

Is there something on your menu that does particularly well and gets ordered a lot? If so, you could consider how to expand on that product.

What keeps them coming back?

If you recognise regular customers make sure to engage with them more, thank them for their continued support and ask them why they keep coming back. They’ll appreciate that you remember them, and their feedback will be very valuable. And, whatever it is that keeps them coming back make sure you keep doing it!

What would they like you to improve?

It’s always worth asking “Is there anything else I can do for you?” and find if there are any problems that you can fix straight away (maybe they want their coffee to be hotter) or that will require future planning (maybe they would like more gluten free options on the menu). By addressing the things they would like improved it is more likely that your customers will keep coming back.

What do your customers look for in a great cafe?

Maybe they’re after the best coffee, or a great breakfast menu or want to visit a café with the friendliest staff. By knowing what your customers want out of a café experience, you can ensure you provide them with this service and build loyalty.

As well as talking to your customers and asking them questions, you should pay attention to the types of customers your café is attracting. Is it a niche crowd or broader? By knowing what type of customer you regularly draw in, you can better understand what market you are appealing to. Maybe it’s not what you thought, and you need to re-evaluate what type of café you are running or look for ways you can further appeal to your current customer type.

Once you understand who your customers are and why they come to your cafe, you can start using this as part of your marketing strategy to attract new customers. Customers love your waffles? You should write it up on a board somewhere in the café or out front for everyone to see! Is your coffee what keeps people coming back again and again? Share it on your social media accounts!

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