Keeping Up Appearances

It’s all too easy to compare your success to that of other people, especially in this day and age of over-styled social media content. I’ve given up on that and deactivated my social media accounts. There’s too many scheduling apps and ‘link in bio’ add-ons to keep track of, and far too many competitors with access to better cameras than me. Besides, this is the cafe business. Surely I don’t need pretty pictures to drum up business. The coffee should do that on its own strength… shouldn’t it?

I mean, there is a bit more to it than premium coffee alone. There’s no doubt that aesthetics are a key part of the cafe experience, especially for an ambitious, conceptual operation such as ours. Once thing I learned from my social media adventures, for better or for worse, is that customers are getting savvier about commercial office design. Melbourne isn’t coming up short on brilliance in this arena, it seems, and as a result businesses are having to adapt to the bar set by the market leaders.

One one hand, it’s an annoyance, because it means I need to spend time I don’t have researching companies doing commercial fitouts within Melbourne, but on the other, I do appreciate it. Cafes have always been more than the sum of their parts – coffee and food, tables and chairs – and I think it’s reasonable for customers to expect a level of attention to spatial detailing. It’s all about creating a space that promotes a convivial atmosphere.

What does that mean for a cafe, exactly? Well, it’s complex, but one of the key things is the seating arrangements. You need a variety of arrangement types – some designed for one-on-one conversation, some for big groups, some for private trysts and others for sociable folks looking to publicly showboat. Of course, all of this relies on the bones of the space – its interior design – and what possibilities that offers for getting creative with layout.