In such a saturated market how do you create a cafe that will capture your audience’s attention, entice them in and keep them coming back for more? What people are looking for has changed over the years and while the food and drinks are important, experience is probably now one of the most important things when it comes to choosing where to go for lunch or to grab a coffee. The reason why some brands thrive even in a crowded high street is because they will offer something slightly different that no one else is. Yes, the most successful cafes are often aesthetically pleasing and ‘instagramable’ but the brands who understand their market and their customers will be offering much more than just a pretty interior.
Trends are often talked about when it comes to cafe interior design but it is an important consideration when thinking about your own cafe design. While it is key that your cafe design concept isn’t outdated, it’s important to be careful not to fall into the trend driven mindset as this can be detrimental to long term success. Trends come and go and crafting a concept that hits the current or upcoming trend will probably drum up lots of attention and pull focus initially, however you will run the risk of this being a short term success and your brand losing its value as trends move on.
It’s important that the design company you bring on board for your project is aware and actively engaged with current trends and movements within interior design and the relevant sector e.g. hospitality or food and beverage. However, this doesn’t mean these trends should directly impact your concept or lead your design decisions, it’s more important that you work to keep the concept aligned to your brand, your values and intentions. Building a cafe that is recognisable and unique to your own brand will mean your brand has much more value and substance than one that’s been created to meet current trend expectations.
Customers are striving for better experiences and this is what actually drives trend changes, yet there is a lot to be said for being different and for not following the crowd especially within hospitality design. Where trends are useful for cafe design is for inspiration, to see what other people are doing and to use this as a benchmark to do better and provide more. A commercial designer will help you to shape an innovative cafe design concept that has the strength to set its own trend. It’s not about designing a cafe in the way you think it should be designed, it’s about looking at what’s best for your brand, the space you have, and for your customer experience.
Ultimately, it’s important to keep up with trends and to be informed however this doesn’t mean you have to be following them in your own cafe design. Keeping your brand’s purpose and identity at the heart of your own concept will ensure that you won’t be a novelty that wears off as the trend loses traction. You want to be able able to provide your customers with something original and valuable experiences that will outlive any trending concepts.
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While the aesthetics of your cafe is very important to the ‘vibe’ you are trying to create, the interior, entire design scheme and layout should be planned and crafted with great consideration. Like mentioned before, a nice looking interior will only appeal for so long, the design concept should go beyond the surface level and exist to help your customers connect with the brand. There should be a balance between function and beauty, this is why the space plan and interior design details should be designed simultaneously. One directly impacts the other and when the right balance is found it gives the customer a much better chance of enjoying themselves and returning to your cafe. A cafe is a social space where people come together as well as a safe and comfortable space where locals can relax, socialise and feel they belong to.
A cafe design where the customer experience, layout and design hasn’t been carefully considered won’t provide the customers with what they are looking for. An impressive shop front or impactful interior will catch peoples eyes and may draw them in but if you don’t provide them with the same value during their experience the chances are they won’t return or recommend you. Creating an ‘instagrammable’ cafe is challenging but one thing to keep in mind is that your cafe isn’t just a static photo that exists online, it should be a thriving and desirable place to go in person too. A considered cafe design can ensure that not only does it look great and draw attention online, but also provide an experience people want to talk about.
Brand can’t be underestimated when crafting a cafe design, branding your space and telling your story throughout your interior plays a key role in attracting your ideal customer. Your brand design will determine wether the customers return and whether your cafe stays open. Brand is really powerful tool, especially when it comes to social media and if you nail this aspect the rest will hopefully fall into place. The trick with brand design is that it doesn’t need to be in your face or over the top, the brand design can be strategically woven into the interior and visual communication to subtly reinforce the brand. A photo opportunity is not something to be missed but shoehorning this into your space isn’t always the most effective way. A functional, well designed and innovative space should encourage people to want to photograph it, a commercial designer will be able to help you define the perfect moment for your customers to share online.
Your brand should speak for itself without having the logo above the door, if your brand and interior design are spot on your customers should be able to recognise your cafe even without your brand identity present. To enhance the brand and interior design consider using the tactile elements to represent your brand, for example, you may have a recognisable tile pattern used throughout your cafes or a large scale mural wall that makes you distinctive compared to your competitors. Whatever you decide, make sure it is considered from a brand point of view and ensure you are consistent, this way your customer will be able to build up familiarity and trust with the cafe and the brand too. Another way to keep your brand present in your space is to ensure your paper goods and props are ‘on brand,’ your menus and coffee cups should ideally be aligned with your visual identity and complement the interior design too. This type of subtle brand design will enhance the brand experience for your customer and make it much more desirable to photograph. Think strategically about where your brand identity and communication appears in your space. If a snap goes online, will those viewers be able to relate that image or interior to your distinctive brand?
The way a customer feels about your cafe is built up by a number of interactions with your brand, whether that be in person or online. These interactions are called ‘touchpoints,’ these can range from instagram posts, menus, and drinks to signage, the service or email marketing. A touchpoint or interaction with your brand will leave a lasting impression on the customer, so it’s important to ensure all your touchpoints as a brand are consistent, considered, and designed. For someone visiting your cafe for the first time, each of these touchpoints from the initial impression of the cafe front to the payment at the end will make them feel a way towards the brand and your offering. Often we have preconceptions of the cafe experience because we will have seen it on insta first, but these two are interlinked and this is why if you want to create a genuinely instagrammable cafe interior you need to focus on the online touch points just as much as the physical ones.
Find out why brand communication is a challenge for so many and discover how to effectively communicate your brand across all touchpoints.
Two cafes could offer the exact same food and drinks menu and be in identical sites, but what is it that makes them different, and why do you favour one over the other? Everything discussed in this blog impacts the way your customers will interact and how they feel about your brand. How considered the interior design concept is, effective brand storytelling, and aligning the customer touchpoints are the difference between a standard cafe and a cafe brand that people fall in love with and want to be a part of. If you really get to the bottom of what your brands purpose is and what it is that your customer needs when implementing these customer touchpoints you will see greater benefits. When you create a cafe that is brand driven and considered you will differentiate yourself from the competition and can utilise the strength of the brand to take your cafe to success. A commercial designer who understands the impact that brand has in these interactions can help to ensure the entire customer experience is not only seamless but enjoyable and memorable for all the right reasons.
Take a look at Neat Burger an instagramable hospitality interior who’s purpose is just as important as the restaurant look and feel.
If you are working on a Cafe interior design project and want to know more about how we can support you with your project – lets talk!
We hope you have found this blog helpful. You may want to consider having a look through some of our other brand insights (below).
- Designing a Cafe Interior | The Most Important Aspects of Cafe Design
- A guide to Commercial Interiors
If you’re interested in understanding how we can help you to transform your interior and impact business growth then you may want to explore our other services pages, Commercial interior design, Coffee Shop, Cafe, Bar, Restaurant or talk to us today!