January 07, 2019
It's 2019, the start of a new year and time to reinvigorate your business! The only question is.... how?
There are many ways a cafe business can start the new year with a fresh outlook, energised owners and staff and a plan to move forward. Let's begin with a 5 point plan to get you started.
1. Clean your cafe!
It's always a great idea to begin with a thorough clean and declutter to put you and your staff in the right frame of mind to get started in the new year. Pull all items out of fridges and freezers and wash out thoroughly; remove items from storage cupboards. Are there items that have been sitting there and taking up space? Donate or sell anything you haven't used in the last year as the likelyhood is you never will! Wash down walls with sugar soap, it's horrifying how much grease and dust build up occurs through trade. Is it time to repaint? Refreshing the entire outlook is always a good idea.
Obviously these are just a few ideas and the time it takes to complete this step can be a number of hours, but it is well and truly worth it as a first step.
2. Remerchandise your cafe
Remove all stock from retail shelves and begin again. Wipe all shelves down thoroughly and consider your offerings.
Are all items worth their time on the shelves? ie. are they profitable?
Are there items on your shelves that should be stocked? ie. Are you selling retail bags of coffee? So many people love to brew at home, is this a market you are missing out on?
Consider the salt/pepper/sugar containers - is it time to upgrade?
Look at your walls. Is the artwork tired? Do you need to purchase art or reframe what you currently have. If you aren't able to purchase art, perhaps you could approach a local artist who could use your walls as a gallery?
3. Check your branding!
A vital part of your business is your branding. In the early days of Black Velvet we were fortunate to have a customer who was a graphic designer. He approached us with his view on our branding - it was inconsistent with our ethos, product and approach to the hospitality industry. Hard to hear but a fantastic lesson! We worked hard on creating a brand that we felt communicated Black Velvet Coffee in the best way - the one we are proud to display now.
If you are happy with your branding, wonderful! Now check that your branding is consistent throughout your business. Ensure that the same artwork is on your cups, signage, business cards, social media, website etc etc etc. Also ensure that your current running practice is consistent with this brand. If you are working towards a high end image, be sure that staff, decor and business practices are consistent with this image.
4. Review your suppliers
Too often as cafe owners we get stuck in the day-to-day running of our business and reviewing larger decisions gets pushed to the bottom of the pile.
Who are your suppliers - make a list. Are they working to help your business succeed? Do these items fit with your brand? Is the product up to scratch with your standard? Never sacrifice quality for price! This will inevitably come back to bite you in customer returns.
Make some time to make some calls if you are not truly happy. Suppliers are always happy to visit and bring samples.
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5. Step away from your cafe to grow
When was the last time you walked away from your cafe to work on the bigger picture? I know it's difficult. Do you have staff you can trust to handle your business in your absence? If not, perhaps it's time to give a deserving team member some responsibility.
Is it time to decide your mission statement, core values? This is a process that we've found to be invaluable throughout the years. We've used a third party to help us focus our business goals - The Practice however, there are books that you can use to help you in this process. Darren and I have worked individually, together, with other parties and attended many conferences to help us focus and grow our company. Click this link to view a video of our thoughts on a recent conference.
When you have focused on your Core Values and how you'd like your business to proceed, spend time with your team and ensure they are on board with your goals and mission. If they don't feel aligned with your business as you see it, that's OK! It might be time to find a company best suited to their needs.
In conclusion, the start of a new year is the perfect time to refresh your cafe to see it blossom into the business it deserves to be and the one you always dreamed of. Welcome to your best year yet - 2019!
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