Perhaps one of the biggest challenges to starting a business is trying to find a way to make yourself stand out – and then keeping it that way. This is especially the case with coffee shops.
Given their increasing popularity in recent years, they’ve been popping up everywhere. You could use the expression “dime a dozen” to describe many of them.
That just means that, when you open yours, you’ll need to make it different from the crowd. If you’re wondering how to make your coffee shop unique, we’ve brainstormed some ideas to get you started.
10 Ways to Make Your Coffee Shop Unique
Design your Own Look
Chances are, one of the first things you notice about any establishment is how it looks on the inside. You’ve been told most of your life not to judge a book by its cover, but customers care about appearance, so you should, too.
The way your shop looks is the very first impression. Make it a memorable one.
Not sure what kind of look you want to go for? Try thinking of some themes that represent your company or iconic places.
A great example of a business with a unique aesthetic is the Lovecraft Bar in Oregon. The horror theme really makes it intriguing.
Pick a Creative Name
Think about any time you’ve searched for a specific business online, like a salon or bar. What makes you choose one over the other?
Truthfully, it may not be the name that makes a huge difference, but a good name will definitely catch customers’ eyes.
It’s more important than we may realize, too. That’s because 77% of consumers have said they make their purchases based on brand name.
So pick a name that’s interesting as a start. Your name should be noticeable, but still easy to identify as a coffee shop.
As you establish yourself in the community, your name could potentially become a brand that’s synonymous with good drinks.
Host Diverse Events
And there are so many different kinds of events that you could have in your shop. Game nights, live music, and charitable events are really just the beginning.
Combine your event with a sale and you could become known as a place that’s not only bustling, but brimming with good deals.
Create your Own Recipes
If your products are things that people can just get anywhere else, they’ll have less reason to go to your establishment. That’s why you should help your baristas to make your own drink recipes.
You can get really creative here. Think of popular desserts and try to make drinks that taste like those desserts.
Or make different drinks for each season or holiday from traditional flavors. The options are bottomless here.
Once you have a new recipe, give it a creative name and put it on your menu. You could offer it at a lower price temporarily to encourage your customers to try it.
If it’s popular, make it a permanent addition to your menu.
Offer Fun Merchandise
You’re really restricting your income options if all your shop sells is food and drinks. Well-established coffee shops become social hubs in their cities, and some people would love to buy merchandise from them.
There are many different kinds of things you could sell, like clothing, stickers, key chains, and more. We’ve got several potential options for you right here.
To make your own merchandise really unique, try working with a local artist. They could help you design a pattern or piece to put on some of your merchandise so it’s truly one-of-a-kind and customers could only get it from you.
Scope Out the Competition
At its core, unique means being different from the others. The way to determine what “the others” are like in your city is to look at them yourself.
Check out other local coffee shops, if there are any. See what kinds of menus they have, what their atmosphere is like, and how they look on the inside.
This will give you an idea of what your community already has, but also what it’s lacking. Once you’ve figured out what’s missing, you can be the company to offer that to people in your area.
Craft a One-of-a-Kind Atmosphere
This kind of goes hand-in-hand with examining your competition. Once you’ve taken in the atmospheres of other nearby coffee shops, note what they’re like.
Pay attention to the music in the background, the décor, the layout of the business. Then think about these aspects while you put together your own establishment.
Take music, for example. Many independent coffee shops have that same kind of acoustic-sounding music that they play softly in the background.
While it is certainly relaxing, it’s not very original. You could think about having themed music days, where you play different kinds of music, such as 80’s or jazz one day.
If there’s a thriving music scene locally, you could also work with bands in your city to make playlists of their songs to play in the background.
Make the Experience as Convenient as Possible
People like to buy things when the experience is easy. You might think they always want what’s cheapest (or even free), but that isn’t necessarily the case.
Most people are after an effortless experience, one that doesn’t make it challenging for them to get what they want.
For instance, look at the piracy of music. You’d think that anyone who knew how would do what they could to get music free, but piracy actually decreased when iTunes was most popular.
That’s because iTunes made it a snap for people to get their favorite songs. It was much easier to buy than it was to steal.
The bottom line here is, make it as easy as possible for people to order at your café. Accept a wide range of payment methods, to start with – like cards, cash, and contactless payments that can be made with phones.
Next, make the experience of actually ordering food or drinks simple. It can be intimidating to walk into a coffee shop as a new customer and look at a menu full of terms you don’t understand.
For starters, make sure your baristas are knowledgeable enough to walk people through your menu. Then you could think about dividing your drink menu into user-friendly categories, like “Sweet,” “Fruity,” and “Strong.”
Have High-Quality Ingredients
Ingredients that are low in quality can really hold you back. They can make your food and drinks taste sub-par.
At best, it will make your offerings feel just like any other business using the cheapest ingredients. At worst, customers won’t like the taste and will go elsewhere when they can.
The food and drinks are the heart of your coffee shop. Make sure they’re the absolute best they can be by investing in good components which add up to a better whole.
Have Exciting Sales
A good sale gets people excited. We naturally love an amazing deal.
As evidence, look at Black Friday for this past year. People spent more than ever before.
And as you likely know, Black Friday is already a huge event. Saying “more than ever before” is a pretty big deal.
Take advantage of more frugal ideologies by having sales of your own. If you’re not sure what kinds of sales to have, take a look at some of the ideas we’ve had.
One thing you don’t want to be is forgettable. If you don’t set yourself apart from your competition, customers won’t have any compelling reasons to visit you – especially if another coffee shop is closer to them.But by examining some of the factors in this guide, you can help ensure you’re different. Customers will remember you for providing an experience they can’t get anywhere else.