10 tips to boost your cafe sales

Published: 13/ 01/ 2020

If you ask us, cafe owners are the unsung heroes of the high street, keeping us all fueled and ready for whatever our day-to-day lives throw at us. So, to pay back the favour, we’ve put together a nifty guide on 10 ways you can boost your cafe’s sales.

So, let’s start eating away at them (pun 100% intended).

1. Offer cheeky tasters

Is there anything better than heading to your local (well-known) wholesaler and devouring the tasters at the end of each aisle? We’ve all been there. Not only does it leave you feeling well-fed and satisfied though, but it opens the door to new brands and flavours you haven’t tried before and if you like what you taste, there’s a good chance you’ll buy it.

Well, it’s no different with a cafe. Pop a few enticing tasters on your counter and let the mouth-watering goodness do the talking - customers will be much more likely to indulge once they know how good it is. 

2. Get outside

Take advantage of seasonal events and create a little pop-up stall outside your cafe. Over winter, you could sell steaming spiced mulled wine, warm chocolate fudge cake and coffee and in the summer months, you might offer iced tea, fruit smoothies and ice cream. 

By heading out and being more visible to passers-by, people will be more likely to take notice and be enticed by your seasonally perfect offerings. If they like what they buy, chances are they’ll head inside next time they’re in the area too. 

3. Offer a one-stop-shop

Here’s a fun fact for you, 70% of 18-24-year-old workers eat their lunch at their desk and it’s not just millennials who opt for lunch ‘al desko’ either, 52% of London-based employees regularly eat lunch on the job. 

How can you encourage them to take your products back to their desk, we hear you cry? By putting together meal deals incorporating everything they’ll need - the main dish (sandwich, salad, etc), something sweet and a drink. Then, just make sure they’re pre-packaged and ready to go so your cafe becomes a quick and convenient place to grab lunch. 

4. Promote daily specials

Putting on a different special every day is a great way to encourage customers to try something new from your menu - and if it’s at a slightly discounted price, they’ll be that much more tempted to give it a go. 

Not only this but if you know which items you’ll be putting on offer each day, you can order stock in bulk ahead of time. High quantity generally means a lower price, so your margins will look healthier as well as your sales. 

Remember: Make some noise about your daily specials and market them in your shop window and online (we’ll talk more about your online presence soon). 

5. Take payments

See what we did there? But in all seriousness, convenience is everything for consumers and especially for commuters or workers dashing about on their lunch break. If you don’t accept the payment method they want to use, there’s a good chance you’ll lose them. 

To avoid this worst-case scenario, make sure your payment systems are up-to-date and ready to accept the latest payments types like contactless, Apple and Android pay (as well as good old fashioned cash and chip & pin). 

6. Quality not quantity

It’s not about offering everything but the kitchen sink, in fact, studies have shown that when there’s too much available to choose from it can actually put customers off and result in them spending less. 

So, pay attention to what’s selling well, which items aren’t so popular, and adjust your menu accordingly. By cutting the wheat from the chaff you’ll be making things easier for your customers and reducing how much you spend at the wholesalers, it’s a win-win.

7. Build loyalty

You’ve got them through the door, but what’s to stop a first-time customer trying the cafe down the road next time? A loyalty card. We all know how great it feels to get something for free so use this idea to your benefit.

A simple card which gets stamped every time a customer makes a purchase is all you need and for every 10 trips you could give away free cuppa. After all, a coffee on the house is a small price to pay for a loyal customer. 

8. Use a bit of clever psychology

Ever heard of the primacy-recency effect? Well, unless you’re a psych student it’s pretty unlikely the answer’s yes, but it’s a nifty nugget of information to have in your back pocket. 

Psychologists have found that when presented with a list of information, people are much more likely to remember the first and last items on the list. It might sound a bit sneaky, but by reading out your offerings in a way that puts the least expensive items in the middle, you’ll up the chances of customers opting for a pricier dish. 

A couple of other psych techniques you could use include offering a free gift with purchases (such as a biscuit or lollipop) or using the psychology of commitment (asking customers to sign up to your newsletter or follow your social feeds), both of which have been shown to encourage repeat purchases.

9. Put on events

Putting on an event doesn’t mean you need to throw an all-expenses-paid party, but it could be something as easy as letting a local mum’s group use your cafe for their weekly meet-ups or hosting a poetry night every Thursday. 

Consumers who might not ordinarily have stepped foot in your cafe will be introduced via their hobbies and interests and if they like what they find they’ll probably be back. Either way, they’ll spend money during the event. 

Hosting events like these don’t need to cost you anything but just make sure you drum up interest and let joe public know about it. If you want your event to be a success, you need as many people as possible through the door spending money and the more people who know about it, the better the odds of this happening are.

10. Network

Unfortunately, not everyone uses their local high street anymore and even those who do might be in such a rush when they pass your cafe they don’t even notice it (no offence). But, the vast majority of people these days are on social media, so you need to be too. 

Post pictures of your menu options to get taste buds tingling, tell everyone about the events you’re hosting, share videos of how successful they are, let people know about your weekly specials and customer loyalty programme, as well as your handy meal-deals. 

Ultimately, you want to use social media to drum up interest in your cafe, engage with new and existing customers, and share the word on how amazing you are. For more info on social media platforms and how they’re best used to benefit your business, head here

Top tip: If you’ve got a Facebook account for your business, ask happy customers to leave you a peachy review in exchange for a loyalty stamp - it’ll look great to prospective visitors. 

When it comes to accepting payments in your cafe, we’ve got you covered. With everything from EPOS till systems to countertop, portable and contactless card machines, our expert team’s on hand to make sure you never have to turn a paying customer away again. Get in touch today on 0808 274 2017.

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