Cafe 101: Cafe Design and Menu Tips to Bring Back Your Customers

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In the age of customer check-ins and Instagram, having a great cafe design is a must. These days, people don’t just go out to eat – they go out to get the full experience. Anyone can cook good food in their home kitchens, which is why cafes and restaurants pull no stops in designing attractive and beautiful interiors to keep guests coming back. A good cafe design can be the difference that ends up setting you apart from your competitors. In this article, we share cafe design and menu tips to bring back your customers. 

Why Cafe Design Is Important

The wall colors, lighting, table and chair designs, interior concepts, and music – all of these give your cafe a personality which will dictate how people perceive your cafe. In the end, just like any other business, the goal of a cafe is to minimize cost and maximize profits, which means that the end goal revolves around the customer. Satisfaction surveys reveal that when it comes to cafes, customers place more importance on having a good experience rather than just having good coffee. A good cafe design dictates the great experience that customers are looking for. 

Factors Affecting Your Cafe Design

Do you want your customers to spend some time at your cafe and order as they please during that time? Or would you rather your customers have a quick meal or takeaway and move out fast? Your interior design choices will affect your table turnover time, so make this decision before you finalize your furniture. By doing so, you can choose the right colors, lights, and music – all of which can also create the mood to stay or leave. 

For instance, if you provide minimal seating and somewhat uncomfortable chairs, it will trigger customers to grab a quick bite and go. On the other hand, comfortable chairs, relaxing music, and pastel colors will prompt customers to stay – this is the type of environment that is usually employed by most coffee houses. Now that we’ve established how important it is for you to have a great cafe design, let’s take a look at the different factors that impact how you design your cafe. 

  1. Cafe Concept
    First things first, consider what type of cafe you want your establishment to be. Will you open a friendly neighborhood cafe? A commercial cafe? Or do you plan to open a high-end cafe? Identifying your cafe concept will help you determine what kind of coffee you will serve, what the prices will be, and what type of customer base you want to attract. To deliver the best environment and experience, think about what type of vibe and ambiance you want to create.

  2. Location
    The location of your cafe is important to the kind of customer base that you want to attract. You can’t just find an empty lot in any neighborhood and build your cafe there. Your location will determine the flux of customers, the demographic of your clients, and the menu. There are three great locations that you should consider. 

    A corner cafe. Preferably, choose one that’s at a junction. This will attract a lot of the morning traffic your way and is a great way to boost your business. 

    A cozy neighborhood. If you’re looking for a prime location within a partially residential district, go for a place with minimum competition. If too many cafes pop up in the same place, the customer base will decrease. Open your cafe in a neighborhood that’s high on coziness and low on competition. 

    A mall. If your cafe is of the commercial category, then its best to find a location in a mall. This will definitely attract the type of customer base that you’re looking for.

  3. Exterior
    The exterior of your cafe must look welcoming. Also, the exterior must at least partially represent your cafe’s interior. Invest in a great cafe logo and a welcoming header to attract guests. Also, consider tall windows that gives a great view of your interiors or even the food display.

  4. Function and Layout
    The layout of a cafe is one of the most vital aspect of the interior. You could either go for a simple table-chair style or design in booths – it depends on theme of your interior. However, there should always be a balance between the layout, function, and aesthetics, because this is how you create your cafe’s ambiance. For instance, in terms of function, consider aisle space – the space between each seating formation. It has to be wide enough for servers and customers to pass through easily, but now wide enough to hinder aesthetics. If this space is too wide, or too narrow, both the functionality and aesthetics would be compromised.

  5. Colors
    The colors in your cafe will be one of the first things that your customers will notice. The colors that you use can get your concept across, but at the same time, you should choose combinations that can create the mood that you want. Colors like yellows and reds are considered to be diet stimulants since they create an impulse in our minds – this is why almost every food joint incorporates them to their interior design in varying degrees. However, these colors can also make your customers spontaneous and make them leave quickly. Thus, if you want to increase your table turnover time, don’t use too much of these and avoid brighter shades. Instead, mix them with more relaxing and subtle tones like pastels. This will create a nice balance and keep the colors from overpowering your customers.

  6. Lighting
    Even if you have the best interior design, incorrect lighting can ruin all your efforts. Avoid very bright lights that seem unnatural – this is because your aim is to create a comfortable environment. Very bright lights can over-power your customers, make them uncomfortable, and distract them from the food. If you want to give a rustic, exclusive impression dim lights work great in a coffee shop. This type of lighting will create a mood that will make your customers feel like they just stepped into a separate zone, away from the everyday world. However, make sure that there’s still enough light for them to see comfortably – dim does not mean dark. If this isn’t the sort of cafe environment that you’re going for, we recommend recreating day-time natural light as well as possible.

  7. Sounds
    While visuals are an essential aspect of cafe interiors, sounds are important too. Music is a key factor in creating that perfectly balanced feel within your cafe. With the right music to complement that perfect color scheme and lighting, you could end up stimulating the appetite of your customers even more. If they’re enjoying the ambiance and aesthetics of your cafe, and are even more impressed by the accompanying music, then they’ll definitely want to come back and will have only great things to say about your cafe. 

Cafe Menu

While the aesthetics and design of your cafe is important, don’t forget the most important thing – your cafe menu. Here are some tips to help you come up with a great cafe menu. 

  • Think about what you’re going to sell.
    Think about what you’re actually going to sell. Once you have your ideas and categories of what you want to sell, organize and write them down in detail – you can even break down how you would make it and serve it. Visit different coffee shops and read as many menus as you can. You can even search online for cafes outside your region, or even across the world. Do your research – doing so will give you unique and fresh ideas. Note your favorite drinks, food items, and flavor combinations and write down all of your ideas. Then, narrow them down and make edits. 

  • Know what’s in demand.
    Know what’s selling in your area and how much people are willing to pay for it. Know the trends and how to fulfill the demands of your target market. Everything that you serve should be in line with your vision and must consistently attract your target audience. Remember, a downtown college shop menu will be different than one of a family-friendly suburb coffee shop. 

  • Consider how you’ll display your menu.
    Determine how you’ll display your menu. Will you condense everything on one board? Or will you spread it out to multiple boards? How will you categorize your menu? What will be the actual ‘look’ of the menu? The location, medium, size, color, and style that you use will add to the dynamic of your customer’s experience. You want to catch people’s attention and leave an impression. 

  • Determine prices.
    How you price your menu is important. Know what competitors are pricing and determine where you want to position yourself. Also, ensure that each item’s costs are covered, having calculated every dollar per ounce for each item.

The Bottom Line

No matter what the format or type, interior design is crucial when it comes to cafes. Cafes run on customer satisfaction and how your customers feel in your establishment is an important factor for satisfying your customer. The interior design of a cafe – plus your cafe menu – plays a significant role in delivering excellent guest experience. Follow this guide to get your cafe design and menu just right!

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