Are you thinking about opening an all-day café, one of the most time-consuming but also most rewarding, of all restaurants? A successful all-day café must consider what customers expect at different hours of the day. You probably won’t get very far if you’re still serving breakfast at 1 pm – unless of course, you’re aiming to open a breakfast restaurant.
Try the following tips to design the best version of your all-day café.
Choose your furniture wisely
When customers come to a café, they enjoy being able to hear each other and talk comfortably. Even patrons who dine individually prefer a pleasant atmosphere without excessive noise, especially if they plan to work or study in the café.
Booths are exceptionally popular, as they give customers enough privacy to conduct meetings or interviews during the day and are just as perfect for a romantic date night. If you don’t feel that booths would look right in your café, you could divide your space into sections using partitions instead, which can still create a feeling of privacy for customers.
Additionally, ensure you have the right-sized tables for the groups you are expecting. Arrange at least one or two large tables or smaller tables that can be pushed together – you never know when you’ll need to attend to a last-minute extended family gathering!
Change your menu
A successful all-day café will generally implement a regular time for menu changes. You might like to serve breakfast from 8-11, lunch from 11-4, and dinner from 4 onwards, but you can certainly be more versatile if you wish. Some cafés serve a snack menu between lunch and dinner, while others have a breakfast menu and a combined lunch and dinner menu.
Other cafés have a break in the day, during which only very simple meals are served, to give the kitchen staff time to prepare for the next menu change. If you have a signature dish, however, you might like to make an exception and serve it all day – if customers are consistently stopping in for it, you don’t want them to leave disappointed!
Change the look of your café from day to night
The meals you offer shouldn’t be the only thing changing over the course of the day. Try designing your day and evening menus a little differently, so it’s clear what they represent. Some successful all-day cafés have their staff dress in bright, warm colors during the day and in black shirts or more formal attire in the evenings, while others choose to change the lighting by using lamps (if necessary) during the day and switching to candles in the evening.
After your all-day café is ready to open, you might like to do some marketing. For this, consider your ideal target audience. Do you want to attract freelancers who’ll use the café as a makeshift coffee-and-work space, do you wish to create a family-friendly environment during both the day and night, or would you like to attract the university crowd, who might pop in at any point during the day to partake in lengthy study sessions?
If you are interested in attracting students, you could offer an incentive for them to become regular customers. You could offer a student discount or advertise high-speed Wi-Fi and delicious, strong coffee. Post flyers around your local university or have a staff member pass them out at your café entrance if you get a lot of walking traffic outside your door.
If you’re looking for professionals rather than students, you might consider posting in local Facebook groups for freelancers, inviting them to try out your new café as a coworking space.
Opening an all-day café is a challenging but exciting venture. Plan wisely and be aware of your customers’ needs and your café will be sure to succeed!
Freelance writer Allison is thrilled about the rise of all-day cafes in her neighborhood. With scrumptious food, delicious coffee, and cozy corner tables, what more could she ask for in a working space? See more of Allison’s published work here.