Historically, coffee houses have been places of innovation, offering forward thinkers a safe space to explore new concepts and cultural changes. The modern coffee shop industry embraces this legacy of innovation by adopting new ideas and constantly adapting to changing customer behaviours.
As a leading coffee shop franchise, here at Esquires Coffee, we understand how important it is to react to the demands of the market to ensure long term success. How have recent years changed the coffee shop landscape, and what have coffee businesses been doing to adapt?
Coffee Shops During COVID-19
Being able to remain open during the coronavirus crisis relies on the ability to swiftly adapt to changing safety measures and customer expectations.
In the age of COVID-19, coffee shops must continue to prioritise health and safety by providing sanitiser stations, displaying signs that encourage mask-wearing and placing barriers at tills for the safety of staff and customers.
Some coffee shops may also consider making changes to the physical store – this might include things like:
- Rearranging indoor seating areas to aid social distancing.
- Removing seats and tables to reduce the number of customers in one place.
- Renovating outdoor spaces to encourage visitors to eat and drink in the fresh air.
Working from Coffee Shops
As working away from traditional offices becomes the norm for many, coffee shops must think about how they can accommodate and entice workers to set up camp in their stores.
Offering comfortable but somewhat secluded seating areas with power outlets and plenty of room to get cosy with a laptop is essential if you want to retain a loyal customer base of hard workers. Giving your patrons access to free wifi is another must for the modern-day coffee shop.
Coffee shop owners that want to create more of a social hub for workers can provide dedicated spaces primarily for remote workers or offer time slots that can be booked.
Events in Coffee Shops
Working in coffee shops might be an attractive option for some, but getting the chance to feel like part of a community is another reason why people keep coming back to coffee shops, even when the ability to drink quality coffee at home becomes more prevalent.
COVID-permitting, hosting events and clubs in coffee shops is a great way to draw in new customers and establish the business as a welcoming hub for local communities.
Innovative coffee shops are starting to consider how their premises can become multi-functional spaces through offering things like:
- Live music events
- In-store competitions
- Quiz nights
- Spaces for clubs and communities to meet
- Collaborations with other local businesses.
Upgrading Coffee Shop Loyalty Schemes
Loyalty schemes are a tried and tested method of getting customers to return to your business. However, with competition being stiffer than ever, it’s important that you change up your loyalty schemes to continue enticing coffee drinkers and show them just how great you are!
Offering free products and exclusive deals is a brilliant way to reward loyal customers, especially those who continued supporting you throughout the pandemic.
Cultivating Brand Loyalty
Aside from just considering what a brand can do for them, more and more consumers are starting to think about what a brand can do for its wider community.
Modern consumers consider brand values, what the coffee shop stands for and how that’s reflected inside.
There is a growing movement towards sustainability in the coffee industry, which is being pushed by consumers. Coffee shops that seek to be at the forefront of this movement must reflect this, not just in their products but also in the shop itself.
Using sustainable cutlery, recycled furniture, and other eco-friendly design features not only helps to attract eco-conscious consumers but also inspires them to become loyal brand advocates.
Technology in the Coffee Shop Industry
There’s no getting away from the importance of going digital, even for bricks-and-mortar stores.
Implementing digital strategies in coffee shops is all about speed and convenience. Nowadays, even the most ethical and traditional stores need to offer contactless payments for busy customers.
Digital services also provide pre-ordering potential, offering an even more streamlined experience for on-the-go workers and commuters. Click and collect services have been especially valuable during the pandemic – they allow customers to pick up deliveries without the fear of coming into contact with many people.
Social Media Marketing for Coffee Shops
Under the umbrella of going digital, innovative coffee shops must also think about how they utilise online platforms and social media to engage with their customers, promote new menu items and boost their brand image.
Regularly posting on social media gives customers unique insight into a store; a behind-the-scenes look at how certain drinks are made or a day in a barista’s life give coffee shops a more personal element, providing customers with a chance to connect more with the brand.
With so many aspects of our lives now intertwined with the online world, there are endless opportunities for coffee shop owners and consumers.
Embracing the Rise of the Speciality Coffee Market
Where better to start innovating than with the coffee itself?
While other factors are important, the number one thing customers are looking for from a coffee shop is fantastic coffee. Branching into the growing speciality coffee market is one way to cater to coffee-drinkers who are only looking for the best.
Updating Coffee Shop Menus
While more people are seeking speciality coffee, there is also a growing interest in a wider variety of menu options.
With different types of coffee drinks trending online over the years, it's important that coffee shops keep up with the shifting desires of the customer base. In particular, younger consumers are interested in high-quality, sustainable coffee drinks and are more willing to try different types and flavours.
Coffee shops have more opportunities to attract new customers when diversifying their coffee range. As a result, many large and independent coffee shops have introduced a range of unique drinks, such as:
- Boba Tea
- Dalgona Coffee
- Vietnamese Egg Coffee
- Turkish Coffee
There is also an increasing demand for healthy and caffeine-free alternatives – something that coffee shops should wholeheartedly embrace when offering more diverse options.
Here at Esquires Coffee, we are always striving to create the best experience for the customers visiting our shores and the franchise owners running them. That’s why we always keep two eyes on the latest coffee shop trends and innovations.
If you would like to become part of a progressive, ethical coffee franchise, read our FAQs to find out more.
About the author - Jack Anderson
Jack has been working in the franchise sector for over 12 years and is our in-house guru on all things business! Jack is also a keen hiker and can be found in some of the UK's best walking spots on the weekends.
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