Christmas can seem like an endurance marathon with all its challenges and unrelenting pace. But it’s also a time to thrive. Make a game plan that suits you and your customers. We take a look at a few different Café end-of-year scenarios with expert tips on making the most of the opportunities the season presents.
But as soon as your regulars go on holiday, customer numbers plummet. Unless you have plenty of other passing trade or are in a location that picks up a holiday crowd, you have to ask whether it’s worth remaining open over the holiday period.
Read on for the details
Workers, from the office casual to the CEO, are the mainstay of city Café breakfast, lunch and after-work trade. In the lead up to Christmas, lunch on the run is replaced by group lunches and catering requests that take you right up to Christmas Eve.
Some Cafés serve as their community’s heartbeat. You know the kind of place. It bubbles over with a happy hum and has a steady stream of regulars, known by their name and coffee order. Christmas is a time to shine.
Anthony Iacono, owner of Bertoni Café in Balmain, does it well. “We do well priced grazing, antipasto and pasta plates, to make home entertaining easier,” he says. “We also do a Bertoni branded hamper with our coffee blend, coffee cup and panettone as a gift idea. And, we throw a street party for our customers. It’s great fun and brings everyone together.”
Summer is the time for Cafés in holiday hot spots to make hay while the sun shines. These precious few weeks can generate – and represent – a good portion of the annual turnover so be prepared to take full advantage of the flow of holiday makers strolling past your door.
“The pressure is on but you still need your people to perform at their best,” says Frank Fawkner of Fawk Foods Kitchen & Bakery in Pokolbin in NSW Hunter Valley wine country. “It’s important to inspire and motivate them. The most effective way to do that is to lead by example. When the team sees them put in the extra effort they’ll do the same.”
Once you’ve won over the coffee nerd they’ll become regular, loyal, long-term customers and caffeinated buddies. Christmas is the perfect time to nudge their coffee education along and make third-wave coffee consumers of them all, says Nadi Elias, a growth accountant who works with Café and coffee owners and the author of Count More Beans.
“People who are into coffee want to take a little bit of the Café experience home with them,” he says.
The key to thriving at this time of the year is knowing your customer and providing exactly what they’re looking for. Whether it’s speedy service or a place to chill and relax; reasonably priced office catering or an all-out extravaganza; or gifts to go. However you play it, make sure to take your cue from the season and spread joy to the world.