The basic idea behind a cafe is simple. You serve great food and drinks and people keep coming back. However, in reality, there are a lot more factors involved that can affect your success. One of the big ones is the design of your cafe. Get the design wrong, and people may be too busy complaining about the lighting to notice how good your food is.
Before you start making your cafe fit-out plans, make sure you have considered the following café design aspects to help make your business a success.
Before you settle on your design, have a tour of other cafes near your location. Make a note of which ones are doing well, and which ones not so. It is likely that there will be some aspects in common between the thriving cafes. You need to figure out what that is and then find a way to incorporate it into your design.
It can be tempting to design a cafe in the style that you love. You need to remember though, that your cafe needs to appeal to your customers, not necessarily to you. You might like a modern, minimalist design. But, if the locals are looking for the cosy, traditional cafes, then you’re on to a non-starter.
As well as design ideas, you can also get some great ideas on how to run your cafe by watching others. If this is a brand new venture for you, then it is definitely worth putting in the time and observing and learning from your competition.
No matter what design you settle on, the lighting in your cafe can make or break it. Not only can the lighting change how your design looks, but it can also change the ambience. All it takes is a nudge of a dimmer switch to show you that.
With lighting, you need to consider how your cafe will look at different times of the day and in different seasons. Natural lighting is great, but in the UK, it’s best not to rely on it. There are three types of lighting that you should consider as part of your design; ambient, accent and decorative.
Ambient lighting is the lighting that sets the base level of light in the room. It should be even throughout and is like the base layer.
Accent lighting is used to draw the eye to features you wish to highlight. This might be the food, a design feature or work of art.
Decorative lighting is about using the lighting to enhance the feel of the space and add beauty.
When you are working on your design, you need to make sure that you are constantly thinking about the big picture. It can be easy to fall in love with individual elements. What you need to do is keep considering how those elements will work together.
Once you have made a decision about a colour or a material you are going to use, all the following decision should be based on complementing your first choice. Working with an experienced cafe design company can help with this. This is because it means that you will always have someone thinking about that big picture for you.
Really this comes down to knowing who your customers will be. You need to decide who you are targeting and then design with those people in mind. People like to dine in places they feel comfortable, so your cafe should speak to your clients. Giving your design a clear identity will help you to pull in and retain customers.
This choice may come down, in part, of the location you choose. If you are located in a business area then you will probably want to target professionals. Aim to make a clean space, with power outlets, and somewhere you might be able to hold an informal meeting. If you are in the centre of a bustling town centre you might want a relaxed hangout cafe, where people come and sit for a long time with friends, in which case comfy chairs and sofas might be more appropriate.
It can be easy to become so focused on your interior design that you neglect the exterior. Don’t forget that the exterior of your cafe is your opportunity to signal to potential customers what sort of cafe you are. Try to find ways to bring you style and personality to the exterior of your cafe. Make the best use of your windows and signage, to really attract and engage your audience.