Unless you have been firmly ensconced under a very large stone for the past twenty years, you would be aware of the incredible rise in popularity across Melbourne’s cafe and coffee scene. Indeed, Melbourne is often listed alongside other coffee heavyweights such as Portland and London. With that said, if you take a stroll down Fitzroy’s Brunswick Street, or duck down practically any laneway in the city for a cold drip, long black, iced latte or any other kind of caffeinated incarnation; it’s not hard to see why.
We have an incredible culture of passionate and dedicated baristas and cafe owners who are keen to turn the humble coffee into something more incredible – an experience. Indeed, with more and more cafe owners recognising the importance of an experience it’s vital that you understand how to market your cafe so that you can stand out above the noise.
Alongside the ever-increasing competition in the cafe scene, there are a host of other challenges like wage costs, food costs, rent and overall commodity prices that are always on the rise. As such, marketing your business is ever-more important. These six tips for marketing your cafe have been brought to you by the good people at Kickstart My Coffee who provide expert advice and guidance about how to market your business.
Have a plan
While it’s staggering to think that you might consider opening a cafe without a marketing plan and a budget for your business, it does happen. Don’t be one of the people who tries to go it alone without a plan… There are a range of free templates available online for your business to use, and you will need a plan to ensure that you are marketing your business correctly. When you have a plan you will be able to focus the money you have onto the right things, and thus you will enjoy greater return on your investment.
Make your menu shine
Everything that you have in your cafe needs to be a reflection of your business and how you intend to appear to your customers. A key part of this is the menu that you have, how it’s laid out and how it is priced. The pricing will determine what market you’re appealing to – and it’s important to have a price range that appeals to a broad-ish range of people so that you don’t cut out a whole section of the market.
In Melbourne, we’re very used to the dual realities of paying $20 for a plate of smashed avocado and never owning our own homes, but this doesn’t mean you need to price accordingly. Perhaps you’re going to be located near a uni and know the value of offering a special priced item to appeal to your penny-pinching uni student cohort. No matter what, ensure that your branding and pricing accurately reflects your target market in your menu.
Get creative with the products
You want to stand out even as you’re fitting in.
Where once you had to travel to find a decent burger in Melbourne, it’s now the case that you can’t walk five metres down Smith Street without someone thrusting a buttermilk-crumbed-tofu-on-a-brioche-bun-with-rocket at you and proclaiming it the next big thing. It doesn’t mean that burgers have reached maximum capacity – far from it! We are enjoying them more and more, if anything.
But the people who are enjoying maximum success – whether it’s with burgers or anything else – are doing something different to stand out. Whether it’s the slew of New York restaurants serving Just One Thing or the rise and rise of Gelato Messina (who seem to specialise exclusively in suspiciously long queues), you need to stand out with your products to have success. Take a leaf out of the books of others, but then sail your own ship.
Yes, you’ll need a social media marketing plan.
It’s where things are at nowadays. Whether you want to encourage reshares or posts of your menu – because your food is just so dang ‘grammable – or if you want to advertise special items online, you need to make sure there’s a reason for people to want to visit you online. It’s not enough to just start a social media page and expect the likes to flock in; you gotta work for it.
Point of sale and promos
There’s nothing nicer than sitting down at a table in a cafe with no idea what to eat, only to be told exactly what you should eat via the way of a strategically placed table talker or other advertising medium. All cafe franchise owners use these techniques and you should too. Spend a little bit more of your marketing budget on table talkers, and start with something easy like a meal deal, or a special cocktail or drink.
Get friendly with the media
You gotta love ‘em – and you gotta treat them right.
You need to make sure that you are hitting up the relevant media sources – be that influencers on instagram or your local street press like Concrete Playground – whenever you have a new release or something worth talking about.
We hope these steps help. Remember to focus on the important parts of your business too, like sales, service and the customer journey. Now get out there and push your cafe brand!