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What makes a café exceptional?

The search for the perfect café is a real struggle for coffee enthusiasts. Great coffee is a good start but attracting customers that will keep coming back time and time again requires more. How can you determine if your café has what it takes to become the next favorite place to go? Keep reading to find out what coffee enthusiasts look for in addition to that perfect cup of brew.
What makes a café exceptional?

Eden Cheng

Eden Cheng, Marketing Director and Founder of WeInvoice.

4 Factors that Make a Café Stand Out

1. Great Coffee

For me, one of the most important things that the café must have is excellent coffee. After all, as each day passes, more and more people are becoming more and more knowledgeable when it comes to identifying good coffee from bad coffee. As such, there must also be a variety of options to choose from, and ideally, the coffee shouldn’t take more than a few moments to prepare.

2. Places to Get Comfortable

There’s nothing more satisfying than coming across a newly established café that provides ample space for customers to get comfortable, work, and make their orders. Most people prefer a variety of seating, like “couches for conversing” instead of just being provided with comfy chairs to sit on. The tables must also be spaciously separated and be on the large and functional side of the spectrum instead of small and skimpy.

3. Curated Snacks & Meals

As much as quality coffee is important, it is also beneficial to have an assortment of snacks, pastries, and meals that can be served to those coming in for breakfast, lunch, or even late evening dinner. The more curated and personalized the menu is, the more likely customers are to return because you will be serving dishes that can only be made in that café.

4. Good Ambiance

This is probably the second most important thing after quality coffee. Customers will always choose to dine at a café that suits their mindset and provides them with relaxed décor, open spaces, good music, impeccable art, and even plant life. In other words, the more “Instagrammable” the cafe is, the better people will take to it.

Good Branding

It is not enough for customers to come in, you would want to make them return as much as possible, and good branding makes it possible.

The basics of good branding are aesthetics. You want your café to be attractive as possible, considering that they’ll be posting your place on Instagram. When a café looks good, I am tempted to go inside and experience their place.

What makes a café exceptional?

Tal Shelef

Tal Shelef, Realtor and Co-Founder of CondoWizard.

What makes a café exceptional?

Robert Johnson

Robert Johnson, founder of Sawinery.

The Ambiance is Comforting and Relaxing

Aside from cafés serving quality beverages and pastries, it is also a place where you can be alone to unwind or relieve stress. This place somehow gives us peace, space, and time to think about things deeply just by ourselves with a cup of coffee and a slice of cake. It’s also accessible since there’s already a lot of cafés available wherever you go. It’s a good place to run to when you need to relax.

3 Things I Look for in a Café

1. Great Tasting Coffee

This might be a “duh” statement, but it’s definitely what separates the good cafés from the mediocre ones. If your café’s signature blends taste great, it’ll make a long-lasting impression on new customers. Never underestimate what some people, like me, will go through for a fresh cup of coffee that has a unique balance of strength and flavor.

2. Wi-fi and Connectivity.

Nothing beats being able to go to a café and peacefully drink my coffee while browsing on my phone or laptop. A café that offers wi-fi and electrical outlets to recharge my gadgets is a huge plus.

3. Ambiance

A good café must have a welcoming atmosphere. The design, the lighting, the furniture, and even how the staff serves you should say, “Hey you. Come stick around for a little bit.”

What makes a café exceptional?

Matthew Paxton

Matthew Paxton, Founder of Hypernia.

What makes a café exceptional?

Alex Perkins

Alex Perkins, Co-founder of All the Stuff.

Good Service Wins Customers

Warm and friendly service from the crew and staff is one asset of a good café. For me, it is more than just the coffee and the inviting ambiance from the café that will make your mood a bit lighter if you are there to take some time to relax. You can take out the coffee or have it delivered, but the ability of the café to invite the customers to the table is a winning thing.

A Cup of Coffee You Feel Good About

Getting great quality coffee that not only tastes good but has been meticulously sourced to ensure it is looking after the environment and the people who work on the farms growing the coffee [is a huge perk.] You want to feel good about returning again and again because you’re buying a product that supports the [farmers].

Set yourself apart from big chains. Focus on ethical labor practices and environmentally sustainable farms. [Offer] fresh-roasted, freshly-ground, great-tasting coffee you can feel good about buying.

What makes a café exceptional?

Mathew Woodburn-Simmonds

Mathew Woodburn-Simmonds, Co-Founder of Home Coffee Expert.

What makes a café exceptional?

Tommy Gallagher

Tommy Gallagher, a finance and digital banking enthusiast, and founder of Top Mobile Banks.

3 Ways to Make a Café Appealing

Being a frequent traveler, I have spent my fair share of time in a variety of cafés in different cities and formed a pretty good idea of what makes for a good café.

  • For me, service is number one. Friendly, helpful staff, a waiter or waitress with a smile on their face, who is ready to assist and willing to go the extra mile plus a visible manager who helps the rest of the staff when needed and checks up on tables regularly to make sure customers are happy [are vital].
  • Great food and drinks, especially coffee, served consistently, and a good selection of food products with something special and unique each day is another way to keep customers happy and coming back.
  • Going into a cafe should be an experience. The journey from the door to the table should be smooth with no obstacles in your way. [It should include] nicely displayed products and friendly “hellos” from the staff. There should be a good layout, and the equipment should meet all requirements, [including] volume, menu, and the skills of the staff.

3 Characteristics of Great Cafés

Quiet Ambiance
Your coffee shop can get noisy, but is it designed to trap noise? Some coffee shops are built to be filled but maintain that familiar chatter that people love so much. Others seem to get a bit busy, and suddenly you can’t hear yourself think. It’s about the acoustics and the design.

A Tight, Yet Extensive Menu
You don’t need 50 different syrups to add to one coffee. You need 15 different coffees, 10 different teas, 15 non-caffeine beverages, and your best syrups rather than everything available. Too much choice is overwhelming, but give customers just enough, and they’ll keep coming back.

Friendly staff
No one likes a coffee snob, especially when they’re behind the counter. Staff who can be as welcoming to a newcomer as they are to the regulars are worth their weight in premium beans.

What makes a café exceptional?

Reuben Yonatan

Reuben Yonatan, Founder, and CEO of GetVoIP.

What makes a café exceptional?

Daniel Caughill

Daniel Caughill, Co-Founder of The Dog Tale.

A pet-friendly café is the new trend!

There’s a lot that goes into making a great café, from the ambiance to the seating space to the prices. One thing I always look for—and love when I discover—is a pet-friendly café that has good products. Dog and cat cafés are becoming more and more popular as small business owners realize there’s a huge market of people who want to go out without leaving their furry friends at home.

All too often, these cafés rely on the pet aspect as their sole business offering and forget that pet owners love good coffee, too. I’ve been pleased to find a couple of dog cafés in my neighborhood here in New York City that allow me to bring my puppy and get a top-notch latté, and I’ll be forever loyal because of it.

A Menu Featuring Great Coffee and Delicious Food

A good café should be capable of serving more than just coffee. The menu is the most important [part of] every good cafe. There should be a selection of pastries, bagels, and sandwiches that should be served promptly. No pre-made sandwiches should be on display. Bread becomes stale fast.

There should be a wide selection of coffee and teas available and a family-friendly menu for kids. Seating is an important factor as well as the atmosphere. I don’t mind the music they play. I don’t mind the layout at times. As long as the menu and the coffee are good, then your café should be okay.

What makes a café exceptional?

Piyushi Dhir

Piyushi Dhir of Help and Wellness. She is a businesswoman by profession and a writer. She’s also the author of 2 bestselling books.

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