Whilst travelling to the Cotswolds on business recently, I drove past a café on the side of the road – it was set off the road, perpendicular to it but it had a large ‘headerboard’ sign in nice grey and lilac colours with an attractive typeface. There were chairs and tables outside, and potted plants around a nicely tended patio. It looked like somewhere worth going back to. So I did! When I got inside, I found reserved signs on most of the tables – unusual for a café, but a good sign that it was a popular spot. The WiFi code was clearly displayed on the blackboard along with the specials. A waitress found me a table with a plug so I could charge my phone and laptop, and I spent a happy couple of hours watching the comings and goings, fuelled by their delicious cake and coffee.
Upstairs there was a craft shop spread out over a couple of large rooms, selling homewares, clothing and accessories. It was evidently a destination for groups of friends, mums and daughters, couples – the clientele was varied and there was a great buzz about the place. On speaking to the staff, I found out they leased the space from the café owners. A mutually beneficial relationship, generating customers for each other.
As I left, the lunchtime crowd were starting to arrive to enjoy a range of salads, quiches, and local delicacies. At the front desk there was a beautiful loyalty card with a photo of a sumptuous afternoon tea on it.
All in all, it seemed to be a very successful operation and it got me thinking about the key ingredients, relevant to any business.
- Attractive frontage with ‘kerb appeal’ – well advertised to passers by
- Easy car parking/access
- Friendly and welcoming atmosphere inside
- Helpful approach, accepting the needs of different types of customers – WiFi code and plug points readily available