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2018 promises to be another interesting but challenging year for coffee shops all over the UK. It’s difficult and arguably impossible to offer a single piece of advice that trumps all other ideas – what works for some coffee shops might not work elsewhere. But one thing for sure is this – the level of competition on the high street is as intense as it ever has been. Consumers have so much choice today that should your standards fail to satisfy, or even delight them, there’s a good chance you’ll never see them again. With that in mind, it really is important to look at your offering from your customers point of view. Quite literally, take the journey they do.

From entering the shop to ordering and taking a seat. Toilet trips, seating arrangements, and even their journey to the door on the way out. How easy is it to do all of these things? What is it they see? What do they have to do to achieve whatever it is they want from their visit? The more questions you can ask around this journey, the greater the number of opportunities will be presented for you to a) improve upon what you already do, or b) think of new ways of doing things which will help enhance your customer’s experience. And that really is the magic word. Experience. And the ‘better’ the experience you can offer, the more likely you are to succeed.

And fortunately (or unfortunately. Depending on your appetite for hard work!) it never stops. Changes in technology and constantly changing customer preferences means these opportunities to improve your experience never end. Can you imagine ordering your skinny flat white on a mobile app 2 minutes before entering the cafe to collect it? Or alternatively being happy to wait 5 minutes to watch the barista weigh, grind and pour a perfectly brewed V60, just for you? Five years ago, probably not. But these things now happen everywhere and on a daily basis.

And that really is the magic word. Experience. And the ‘better’ the experience you can offer, the more likely you are to succeed.

2018 will certainly bring with it its fair share of difficult challenges. But along with them will be its fair share of opportunities too!

Good luck, and Happy New Year!

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