Brunch is the new black, and competition is fierce … how can your cafe stand out from the crowd?
Once an excuse to wake up late and eat massive amounts of hollandaise sauce and avocado, brunch is the cornerstone of Australian weekends.
It’s not without drama, though – in 2014 Strokes lead singer Julian Casablancas gave brunch-bashing comments that launched a thousand think pieces. More recently, the price of smashed avo struck horror into the hearts of mortgage payers all over Australia.
It really is a jungle out there, and not just for the patrons. So, with such a packed market what does it take for cafes to get an edge on the competition?
Here are our top five tips to win the brunch wars:
Nail the coffee
Australia is obsessed with coffee. It’s a source of furious pride and intense competition, but for our efforts, we’ve gained an international reputation for excellence. Why would your customers bother sticking with a subpar brew when there’s probably a place just around the corner roasting a beautiful blend of beans and perfecting the pour over?
Battle Strategy: Use great quality coffee beans and make sure your baristas know their stuff.
Have a specialty
There’s plenty of merit to menus that change with the seasons. However, it’s also a good idea to pick one or two mainstay dishes, and do them really well. Bonus points if you make it extra beautiful and endlessly ‘grammable (more on that below).
Battle Strategy: Use your menu to set yourself apart. Consider what other cafés in your area are doing. You either need to do it better, or do something different. Even granola, often the boring option, can be spiced up with special nut mixtures, purees and stewed fruits.
Pay attention to atmosphere
No matter how great your food and coffee are, they probably can’t compensate for bright fluorescent lighting or music that’s either too loud or non-existent. Consider all the senses when creating your customer’s experience.
Battle Strategy: Focus on getting the vibe right, then look at how you can create a strong visual identity for your café. Are you going for a throwback, retro feel? Or are you more focused on a modern, minimalist vibe? A strong aesthetic can create atmosphere and make sure yours is the place where people want to stick around.
Social media is one of the most powerful and cost-effective weapons in your marketing arsenal. Be consistent and disciplined with your business social media practices, and give your customers meals they’ll want to share with the world (hashtag blessed). With a little creativity, your brunch specialty could be the next viral sensation. At the least, you’ll have a treasure trove of user-generated content at your disposal.
Battle Strategy: Make sure you’re keeping an eye on what’s trending – after the great smashed avo crisis of 2016, a handful of savvy cafés were able to ride the media wave to greater exposure.
Reward your regulars
It’s not all about getting new customers through the door; you also need to retain the customers you already have. Get to know your loyal customer base, work out what they want and how you can provide it. Are you popular with dog walkers or cyclists? Maybe you should be opening earlier to fit in with their schedules. Learn the names of your regulars, remember their orders and make them feel like part of the family.
Battle Strategy: You could consider membership schemes, loyalty cards and discounts for locals, as well as special offers or freebies for your regular clientele.
While brunch can be a battlefield, a focus on quality and attention to detail will help you make a name for yourself in your community. For more tips on achieving local success, check out our Local Area Marketing (LAM) tips.
Interested in finding out more about how flyer marketing can help your cafe? Call our agents for advice.