Catering to Your Niche Customers: Business Meetings

I can’t count the number of times I’ve said some version of the following: it’s the age of freelancers! In addition to that, it’s the age of small businesses, entrepreneurs, startups, and online businesses–all of which may require doing business without an actual, physical office. The coffee shop in the United States has become the work-base for many office-less workers because of the general accommodations of WiFi, affordable fare, and stimulating beverages. As a coffee shop owner, you should consider this niche market in your shop’s design so that you can attract these inevitably profitable business meetings.

Whether it’s a group of three or a group of ten, business people are most likely to patronize your business while utilizing your space because they completely understand the needs of your small business. Unlike idle teenagers or travel-weary tourists, business people want to patronize your business because they want people to patronize theirs!

How do you make your space, your menu and your brand attractive to just this type of clientele?

One of the main ways you can do this is through your interior design choices. Communal tables are much more attractive to a group of people than several small tables they’d have to push together. Additionally, having well-spaced tables will give these clients the sense that they can conduct a meeting with a semblance of privacy because the customers nearby aren’t too nearby. This will also benefit those other customers who will be less distracted by these gatherings the further away from them they can be. Booths are also a great feature to welcome business meetings because they offer the semblance of privacy, accommodate larger crowds, and can actually help with noise reduction if designed correctly.

If you have the means, you could also create a separate “meeting” room or a sectioned off space for these types of meetings. You could schedule the room or space in blocks, or merely leave it open for large groups or as a spillover space from the main room. Many cafes are catering to freelancers and other office-less workers by providing membership workspaces during certain hours/on certain days (or even just during the day each day before converting to a dining room at night). You can charge membership fees or one-time visit fees, determining your rates for a group or individual. The freelance spaces I’ve encountered offer limitless coffee and snacks to their paying members, with wall outlets at every table and the privacy guaranteed by exclusivity.

For the office-less customer, you’ll want to make sure you have reliable WiFi and readily available power outlets; they are less likely to stay or come back if they cannot utilize the necessary tools to conduct their meeting thoroughly and efficiently.

If you offer a separate room, you may consider equipping it with a large television, rentable laptops, chargers, an HDMI chord; depending on how far you want to go, you could even look into a projector with a computer hookup that can be rented or included in the rented space. This could also be a space where coffees and/or snacks are included in the rental of the room, perhaps. You do not have to charge for use of the room, specifically, you could merely put it up for reservations. Some businesses require a $25 gift card purchase for a space rental, which would be encouraging to the person running the meeting who may want to impress their employees by purchasing them beverages–you save them from having to rent the space and caffeinate their employees, which is paying it forward especially to small and startup companies!

Your menu, besides having the obvious caffeinated favorites, could also include heartier foodstuffs than mere pastries, thus inviting lunch meetings as well. Some business people who have the luxury of working in an actual office still have to (or like to) conduct business on their lunch break; you could provide them with the space to do both, saving them time and boosting your image in their mind. You could also attract business meetings and business people/groups with a corporate discount or group deal, like a free pastry with each beverage for groups of 6 or more.

One other way to attract business types is to take on the revenue-boosting strategy of selling alcohol; this way, you can offer a happy hour around 5 pm, perhaps beginning with a coffee happy hour earlier, to encourage work meetings that lead into blowing off work-stress-steam.

If you want to truly focus your brand on attracting business meetings, offer a clean space that is comfortable but not overly comfortable: business meeting attendees are least likely to enjoy the comfy armchair setup you may be envisioning. Solid, even surfaces for laptops and notebooks, supportive chairs, a not silent, but noise minimal space and sleek designs on everything from your ceramics to your to-go’s to your signage and logo. This will encourage the people who take themselves seriously to take your coffee shop seriously for their business meetings!

If you decide to go for sleek and businesslike for your brand, check out PBFY.com for customized packaging; there are innumerable designs to fit just those sorts of needs and they offer affordable, customizable label printing for all of their packaging! This way, those future business tycoons can take a bag of your best blend home after a successful business meeting in your space and remember your brand so as to encourage all of their fellow executives to bring their business to you!

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17 Comments

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  1. Catering business meetings of your customers is an excellent idea. These are business-minded people who can discover the high-quality products that you have and could advertise them to their friends and family. So don’t forget to offer them something that they could bring at home. The one with unique packaging with your company’s logo is a must. I highly suggest PBFY’s packaging!

  2. I totally agree with the point “Its the age of freelancers and entrepreneurs”… Small business owners don’t have any physical office in start so they look for suitable environment outside… and if coffee shops provide such environment then nothing can be better than that! Coffee shops having facilities for business meetings can really attract many customers… Great blog!

  3. I totally agree with you, it’s the age of freelancers. a lot of freelancers now love to spend their time in a coffee shop drinking a cup of coffee and enjoying doing their work and where they can have their business meeting in a calm place. so, catering to this kind of customers would be a great source to boost your revenues.

  4. Great article and very insightful! I think that catering business meetings is great. Not just for the coffee shop but also for the people who want to organize meeting. Coffee shops are a perfect combination of casual yet professional setup.

  5. In the coffee shop I used to work with, we offered a conference room that can accommodate 10-15pax. Although the whole store can be rented as well and can accommodate 100 pax max. The fee to use the small conference room is $25 per hour and for the whole store is $100/hr. That rate is food consumable, the more food and drinks you order the better! The room has its own ACU unit and a screen projector. Many companies preferred our space for business meeting due to the professional atmosphere and near the central business district.

    • That looks like a really big place. I think that the location really dictates what you can do with the shop. Since it is smack dab in the middle of a business district, I can see why a conference room can work out in the long run.

  6. As a freelancer myself, I don’t have a meeting area to invite clients so meetings in a coffee shop is a very good idea, and of course, things like wi-fi, large tables, and caffeinated beverages are essential.

  7. This article definitely shows many ways to focus on the business-minded customers! I think the separate room for rent is a great approach as it’s still inclusive to other types of coffee shop goers who would like to socialize, study, etc. The rewards system would be a wonderful thing to offer to business people who take meetings at the coffee shop, but have a permanent office elsewhere. The coffee shop could add to its customers by making their coffee the official office coffee of that business! So many possibilities for new ideas in this insightful article.

  8. Excellent suggestions. I agree- lots of outlets and good fast wifi are a must. As a freelancer, I’ve got to coffee shops before where I had to give up because the wifi was so slow or unreliable. I would have stayed a lot longer with a good connection.

  9. Catering for a business meeting is a bit hard for coffee shops. You have to arrange the interior, so there is enough place for more people to have a meeting in.

    The music shouldn’t be turned up too loud, and not every type of music is preferred, since meetings require a calm environment.
    In my opinion, the furniture doesn’t have to be THAT elite…just enough so it would be appealing to people who would have the meetings.
    Anyways, props to any shop catering for business meetings. It sure requires lots of attention and dedication.

  10. One of the coffee shops in my town offers a spare room to rent for these kinds of events. A bunch of the teachers in the area rent it weekly for their meetings. The shop offers a discount to those groups as well, and it really increased their popularity. Catering to business meetings is definitely a must in my opinion.

  11. There’s this cafe in my area that caters specifically to this niche! What they do to make it work is charge people by the hour for how long they stay in the area, with an option to pay for the whole day, week, or even month! The furniture isn’t that luxe, but it’s sturdy and clean, which I think is more important for this type of niche. Playing safe by providing two wifi routers is also a good idea in case there are too many people using the internet or whatnot. Additionally, I think the best music to be played in this kind of coffee shop is white noise music.

  12. This is pretty much the same as creating a special space for startups mentioned in the other article. I think that instead of creating a special meeting place, you can creat a “function room” where people can book ahead of time. Instead of leaving that space always free for a “potential” business meeting, you can use the space as a regular spot for customers, and only close it off when there is a scheduled meeting or other use of the function room such as parties.

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