Cafes are everywhere. While certain popular chains might still be the place of choice for a quick cup of fancy coffee, smart entrepreneurs are quickly learning that many of those who go in search of a good cup of java are actually searching for a bit more, including a healthy meal and a chance to sit and dine with friends…or meet new friends.
Café owners are getting more serious about expanding from being just a takeaway coffee spot, and are heading in the direction of full-service café. In many locales, these cafes – which often serve healthy food as well as sweets – are taking the place of the fast-food restaurant with their friendly décor and better food options.
That means café owners need to think a little bit more about their design. After all, an eating space needs to be welcoming and comfortable if the desire is to have customers return again and again. So, when it’s time to consider some option, think about these current café-related fit out trends:
1. Organic cafes – As mentioned, more and more cafes are turning towards serving healthy as well as locally-sourced foods, so they want their décor to match that emphasis. That means the fit out for an organic café might include recycled materials, bamboo, raw timbers, lots of plants, and other items that shout “organic”. An entrepreneur looking to give off an organic vibe usually opts for plenty of open space and lots of comfortable chairs and low tables as opposed to rows of tables and chairs. Natural light is paramount and other lighting should be fairly subdued.
2. Communal tables – Many cafes have jumped on the “communal table” bandwagon; that is, they offer long tables where customers can sit together…even if they don’t know each other. Shocking! While this prospect might frighten some coffee drinkers, to others it’s a wonderful way to get to know someone new and it truly does promote a community feeling. Furthermore, when customers get involved in chatting with others, they tend to stay longer so they eat more food and drink more coffee! For your communal tables, look for interesting woods and fun stools (preferably with backs) that are comfortable for your customers. Also include some smaller tables for those who prefer to keep their coffee-drinking private.
3. Themed cafes – The internet café has been around for a while, but – these days – café owners are looking for other ways to entice customers to come through the door and stay awhile. The Japanese, for example, have embraced the themed café and are now well-known for their quirky offerings, like an amazing “Owl Café” with real birds of prey, and an “Alice (in Wonderful) in the Labyrinth Café,” a true fantasy experience, both in Tokyo. So choose a theme and let your ideas run wild. With the help of your shop fitter, you can no doubt come up with plenty of design ideas that customers will find quite intriguing.
Just remember, your goal is to create a space where your customers feel comfortable and relaxed. It’s okay to think outside the box but, first and foremost, always keep the client’s needs in mind. Also consider how you can best accommodate your desire to serve an interesting, quality product in a less-than-boring setting.