Catering to Your Niche: Bring Your Dog Day!

It’s a beautiful day at your café. You’ve just finished putting out your patio furniture for the afternoon and you can’t help but notice potential clients walking by, leash in hand, with their favorite pup. If you are looking to draw these customers and their cuddly canines into your store, it might be time to cater to your market. There are only a handful of things that people love more than their dogs, significant others, paid vacation, and of course cafes that celebrate pups by having a meet and greet bring your dog day. For this business option, advertisement and making sure your café is ready are essential, in this article we will cover what it takes to transform your outdoor space into a puppy haven.

For this venture to work, you do not need to necessarily lock yourself into becoming a dog-friendly café, however to get the weekend warriors to your space having this option could not only bring in new clientele but sustain them into long term customers. Advertising a special event for pups is crucial for your café’s one-off or monthly gathering of owners and their dogs. Offer specials, advertise an open space, and the chance to mingle for both humans and their dogs. On your advertisement mention if it is an enclosed off-leash area, or rather a sit and stay with pups leashed to their owners’ tables. Both can offer safe and appealing attractions. Your store should be clearly marked as pet friendly, and if you do not want pups inside the café make sure there is clear labeling for that as well. If you phrase it as a meet and greet to your bring your dog day, it gives owners the chance to feel more comfortable mingling, and encourages them to stay for longer than just their one coffee.

Before we talk specials and catering to your dog clients, your space and how it is set up is key to your level of success. If you have an enclosed outdoor patio make sure that it has an outdoor exit for dogs, and determine if you are comfortable with an off leash policy. One of the more successful platforms for owners and their dogs is having an outdoor window that allows them to purchase coffee without necessarily entering the café. Enclosed spaces like cafés can crowd bigger dogs, or make some pups feel anxious in the store. This way owners do not have to tie up their dogs prior to a purchase, and can get take away coffee incase their dog gets a bit too energetic for your space. The takeaway window should offer both to go cups but also the same sit and stay coffee mugs for clients who wish to partake in a little mingling fun in your space. Having plenty of room to roam for pups is important, especially if you notice that your clients have, on average, larger dogs. Try to have plenty of fresh cool water dishes for your customer’s best friend and plenty of outdoor plants for sniffs and emergencies. To really make the event special consider photo booths and generating a hashtag for your customers to use with their favorite friend. To really bring your space over the top with dog friendly fun, offer toys for dogs to play or cuddly beds for a quick snooze. Ideally your customers should be able to enjoy a chat and cup of coffee while their dog either plays with a new group of friends or takes a quick nap. Playing into your customers love of their animals, and talking about their pet will not only make them happy, but will encourage them to use social media to make your café go viral in their friend group. Having these dog day meet ups monthly can grow your clientele base and offer you some free advertisement.

To really take a special Bring Your Dog Day to the next level, offer puppy-friendly snacks and beverages. While it may seem that dogs only need water, there is actually a whole market of dog friendly beverages, one adorably named the puppuccino is even offered at large drive through chains. Both your customer and their dog can sip on a beverage mingle with potential new friends, and snap pictures for a little free advertising for your café. On top of beverages for dogs, organic or fresh made snacks can bring in quite a bit of revenue, they can range from fresh baked treats to dog bowl food options. You can offer these specials with similarly named food for your human customers for the ultimate co-companion coffee date. The food and beverages should be certified and organic and include listed ingredients. Owner are often rightfully concerned about what goes into their dog’s sensitive stomachs. Researching common puppy allergies, chocolate, milks, and macadamia nuts is a good start to developing your snacks. Many owners will stray away from overly proceed items, so if your café is capable fresh made options will draw in more purchases.

If you feel like your café is all ready to go with these new Bring Your Dog Day meetups, consider having dog etiquette reminders in your café, this could save you and your staff a few awkward moments with new owners. This can also save experienced owners some stress of having other dogs interacting poorly in your café, and reduce any major conflicts. Having a special dog day for the approximately 70-80 million dog owners in the united states, that’s about 37% to 47% of households with puppies, could really draw in more clients to your café. If you are concerned about your long term customers opting for a different café on your dog day, have an area that is a pup free zone, so some clientele can enjoy the regular cappuccino without worrying about being approached by a dog or their allergies. Make sure to take plenty of pictures for a little décor and future marketing, there is nothing better than a cute dog photo as the face of your café.

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10 Comments

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  1. As a furmom of four pooches, I totally agree with this idea. Like, why not? Starbucks is already doing it, which I think is a success. I’m constantly looking for places which also welcome my furbabies. This is definitely a great way to increase a coffee shop’s popularity and customers.

    • You’re right. There is a friend of mine, who gets a lot of attention outside a cafe because of his dog. The bad thing is, he cannot take the pup inside, so people usually wait outside the cafe to meet him because he is such an adorable pug. I think, it would be so great if the interaction got closer, especially with those who own pets. It is a healthy activity for our little furry citizens and their humans. :’)

      • Well, there are times when boundaries must be set. After all, you also have to create a safe place for people who aren’t animal lovers, or more importantly, people who are actually allergic to them. Personally, an outdoor spot looks just right for a pet zone. People who may have pollen problems and allergies will appreciate the indoor facilities away from the pooches.

  2. Wow. This is such a great idea and it would be so lovely to bring your dog along, after all, for almost all of us, they are the best companions we have got.
    Being a pet owner, this idea gave me such a good feeling. <3

  3. There is one coffee shop near my place who allows pets. They have this open air veranda wherein fur parents can sit along with their babies while having a cup of coffee. This store also allows pets inside the store but they are a bit strict that pets should be inside a cage or pet bag in consideration to other customers who my have allergies or needed a quiet time. Yes this is brilliant idea for other coffee shop to consider.

  4. The concept of this idea is great and it’s applied in most of coffee shops in my town. I agree with the fact that if people are allowed to bring their pets inside a coffee shops they would have a reason to go back to that coffee shop and spend more time there with friends, family and their addorable pets. Furthermore, coffee shops could have two divided spaces for those people who are allergic to some kind of animals, and for those who bring their animals to the coffee shops, similarly as dividing the space for smokers and non-smokers.

  5. The only downside I see to allowing pets is the need for a much larger space. Since you can’t make the entire cafe pet friendly, you’ll end up making a separate space just for those with pets and those without. Still, if you’ve got the space and you notice that many patrons are pet lovers, then this is indeed a great marketing strategy. You will, however, alienate another group of people who may not feel comfortable around pets, particularly the larger ones.

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