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Listen in! Pick up some expert advice to a reader's question that we selected from CyberSchmooz.

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Cafe Conversion: Embracing Modern Convenience Without Giving Up Your Rustic Charm


There comes a time in every business’ life where they must bow down to the higher powers. Perhaps this is government, investors, or the customers in your market telling you what they ‘think’ they need. It doesn’t really matter the direction it’s coming from, it can be hard to embrace modern procedures without giving up your rustic charm. Now if these procedures bring greater convenience, then you should absolutely adopt them, and you can do so without compromising your values. Now let’s enter the twenty-first century, and see what we can integrate into our cafes to enhance the customer experience.


A modern POS system

The jig is up, it’s time to bring a modern POS system in-house, and your cafe is going to be so much better off for it. A POS system will enable you to keep up with the pace of your business, allow remote access and your staff can even take payments at the table. While it might initially seem like another step in the hospitality cog, it actually affords your management greater freedom with remote access allowing for menu changes, sales data and even staffing changes. 


Improve your digital presence

You may choose to avoid digital channels, but that’s where your customers are. They are looking for cafe options on Google, posting to Instagram and checking-in on Facebook. By being present on these platforms, you are attracting a new audience and communicating with your existing one, and you might just like the engagement. It might also be an idea to entrust this responsibility to just one individual so that you are rolling out a clear identity and strategy on social media. Given how mainstream these channels are now, there are so many ways you can learn to use social media effectively and level up without investing in formal training if your budget doesn’t allow for it.


Ditch the paper roster

The paper roster was once gospel, but times have changed and it’s a good thing it has. Paper rosters (and anything paper) will slow down operations, not to mention the threat they pose to your workplace if they go missing or break down. Consider a rostering software solution and time attendance system, and start sharpening the processes that feel familiar but slow you down. Before you make this change in the workplace, educate your employees on the new processes and allow enough time to field questions and satisfy their concerns. The last thing you want is to invest in software and software training, only to have a resentful team unwilling to use it.


Ask your customers what they see and what they would like to see

Any resistance you might be feeling about change is probably due to the customers you love and the reception you believe they will give this change. This is why you are in the hospitality industry. Rather than predicting their sentiment, why not ask them? Your fact-finding mission can be as simple as asking them when they pay for their meal, through an email survey or even on social media. If you can gauge what they want to see and what would be a deal-breaker for them, this can guide what sort of modern conveniences you add to your operation. You will absolutely be surprised by some of the results, we promise!


There is nothing more appealing than a rustic cafe, but there is nothing to say you can’t own that identity without making a few tweaks. Before you make any changes, do your research and eat around at a few cafes like yours to see how they have embraced modern measures and discern what has and hasn’t worked.


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