A quick survey of the neighborhood around you can let you know if you are in a hub of foodies. Words such as artisanal, organic, fresh, exotic, and clever pun names for restaurants are all indicators that the clientele in your neighborhood may be identifying themselves as foodies, passionate lovers of food looking for new experiences and fresh tastes. If your café is ready to cater to these particular people who love a snappy new taste, having a boutique cup of coffee is a good start, but having a particular snack or hot plate could help make you into a local favorite. Food is a central component, but how the food is prepared, displayed, and marketed are crucial elements for your café. This article will cover what a foodie is, what on average they are looking for, and how your café can cater to your niche.
So who are these ultra hip people popping into your café for some new foods, and treats, what exactly is a foodie, and how can you get their attention? A foodie has quite a large definition, and a lot of controversy over using the term, but to cater to these individuals there are a few important things to notice. First off, they have a refined taste in food and beverages, they are looking for unique gourmet foods and pairings. They are also incredibly knowledgeable to fads, keep themselves educated on culinary practices and want to know all about the origin and quality of the food they are about to eat. The food itself is only one element to a foodie, the chef, the plating, the cooking techniques, and of course the background of the food they eat. Foodies are not just people who eat at artisanal restaurants, they avoid chain restaurants and cafes, they are deeply committed to shopping local, and they insist on fresh sustainable eats. While catering to foodies might seem difficult, if this is your niche you are opening up yourself up to a large community and loyal customers who will provide lots of business for both food and drinks, and will recommend your shop to their friends.
What are these foodies looking for? Plates made to perfection. To cater to this niche your café needs to either outsource its food from a foodie-approved location or make food in-house that is both sustainable and unique. Knowing where the food is sourced from, how it’s prepared, and how to best plate it, will draw attention. Creating a narrative around your food, why you offer a particular cuisine, the chef who prepares it, and how it is both local and unique will capture a foodies’ attention and taste buds. Your food should not only reflect the story; it should also simply taste great. While you may be tempted to make the most elaborate dishes to appease these customers, simple traditional dishes that are made well, fit into your narrative, and have ethical origins can satisfy this hungry crowd. Look at what your surrounding cafés and restaurants have to offer and determine how you can edge into the food market to create your own cuisine.
Your food should compliment your café, pairing coffees with tasty treats and dishes will not only encourage your foodie to order a drink, it will show that your café has put thought into its cuisine. This niche market requires revolving and expanding menus, serving in-season dishes and offering local produce can draw in even your most reclusive clientele. The dedication a foodie has to their cuisine can be reflected in your food and promote their turn out.
Now that you know what foodies are, you might be wondering how to best bring in these customers, and of course, their friends. Your café can prepare for these foodies in a few ways. Marketing is an essential aspect to distinguish yourself from other cafés in the area. As mentioned before, a strong narrative from start to finish will draw in clients who are looking for more than just a quick cup of coffee. They want to savor their food and drink while also taking a journey on how it was created and why they should recommend it. Advertise locally sourced or develop a story around the inspiration for your food selection. Is your chef local to the area serving up traditional cuisines? Are you showing a new flavor to a community from a different part of the world? Marketing and advertising these elements will help your café stand out, and will encourage foodies to invest in your shop. A foodie will traditionally order more than one thing, be a repeat customer, and taste multiple item menus, in order to recommend the café and its cuisine. Having a larger rotational menu can keep this crowd coming back, so advertise your seasonal menu up front to keep their interests peaked. Finally, if your café is not ready to take on in-house baking and cooking, have no fear, you can still be a local hub for foodies. When looking to bring in food, remember to focus on local. Find bakeries that already cater to foodie markets, these will be shops that offer alternatives (i.e. gluten free) and have clearly marked labels on what’s in their food. If you find the right bakery to bring in your food, your foodies will love the dishes, and your café can offer exclusive coffee pairings.
While foodies sometimes carry a bad rap, they do open up a larger community of people dedicated to trying out new cuisines. Your shop can be transformed into a hub of culture, culinary expertise, and of course, delicious meals. Foodies as a niche encourage your chefs and baristas to be on top of their game, providing excellent quality food and drink while also maintaining aesthetics. Succeeding in this challenge will build long term clients, who are often the go-to recommenders amongst their friends, and have a large online community that they often inform of new niche cafes. Catering to this niche can be incredibly challenging, but also very rewarding.