IS your cafe suffering the same fate?

by chee Leng (on coffee makers)

Esplande Xchange is prime area

Esplande Xchange is prime area

Esplande Xchange is prime area
Newspaper cutting citing Xchange poor business

What if everything is right, but still your cafe is not having the crowd it should be having -what is wrong?

1. You have a great product

2. You have a great theme, great service, there is nothing wrong with your coffee shop!

3. The location is great, in the heart of town, the traffic flow is high

4. There are numerous promotions going around, all targeted at the traffic, but there is just not walk-in to your cafe.

This is not a fictious scenario, this is very real for folks operating cafes and F&B outlets in one of Singapore prime location in town -Esplanda Xchange.

For readers that knows a little about Singapore, esplande Xchange is situated in between City Hall and Suntec City, not far from the newly open Marina Bay Sands.

The location could not have been better, by right, the coffee shops there should be doing fantastic business, but some shops reportedly only collect sales of less than $10 per day!

There are numerous reasons for this. But, primarily I have spoken on the danger that F&b are depending on "location, location, location".

Read about the SAQ that you should know before opening a coffee shop

It just doesn't work anymore. On the surface, it seems like the perfect location, but in actuality, it could not have been worse.

Here is my $0.02:

1. The xchange seems like a good location with lots of traffic, but all the traffic are going to a destination. Either Suntec City or City Hall. They happen to pass by xchange.

2. The high density of traffic becomes the curse. People avoid eating or drinking in the area because it is too crowded!

3. Why go to a place where they are no anchor store. One could drink, eat and shop nearby at Suntec city or City Hall.

4. Regardless, the theme of your cafe or coffee shop, and no matter how good the concept of your F&B outlet, there is bound to be one that is quite similar to yours about 10 minutes walk away.

This is the reality of coffee shop businesses in Singapore, and I believe in many places as well. The competition is cut-throat and the failing rate is high.

Cafe owners are missing the point in why they are building the shop in the first place. They must have believed in their concept, their passion so much that they took the leap of faith to start this cafe.

But, by depending on walk in customers, they are not effectively communicating this to their potential customers.

For the well heeled, they would advertised and "build" their brand. Only when the brand grows big would one be able to make some money.

What about the smaller companies -what should they do?

The answer lies in building a community, and it is only with fans and loyal customers that would buzz about your shop, your products, that your survival and growth can be ensured.

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