These days, new cafes and speciality coffee joints sprout out every other week. Our little island is increasingly dotted with little gems and hideouts, and while we love that there are more options for our cafe-hopping adventures, it is with much regret that most of these places are mediocre and substantially empty in many terms.
We are probably not near saturation point yet, but with the opening of so many new cafes, those who want to survive in the market need to offer something special to distinguish themselves from their competitors.
What makes a cafe a good cafe? Is it a warm and inviting atmosphere? Or is it quality food and coffee? How about free wifi? And perhaps a library of good magazines?
Having been to countless impressionable cafes around the globe, we have seen, experienced and concluded 6 things that cafes can do to stand out from the crowd, and here are some pointers that we hope they can work on to improve the overall cafe experience.
For people who work on-the-go like us, having a strong wifi signal and fast connection is definitely top of our list when we are looking for new cafes to visit, and cafes to pledge our loyalty to. Providing reliable wifi may mean a smaller turnover, but when people stay longer, it means a bigger check per table.
Read our guide to cafes with free wifi in Singapore.
With the crowd in recent context becoming more particular about the beans that make their drinks, coffee appreciation is at a new high and gone are the days when cafes can just make do with instant mixes or a lousy machine that produces an even lousier brew. Serve good coffee and you are on your way to seal loyalty. Oh, latte art is optional but very much encouraged.
Read our guide to the best coffee shops in Singapore.
Affordable comfort food
Cafes are meant to be casual, the kind of place that you can go to with a bunch of friends, or to simply enjoy some me-time. No one is expecting Michelin-star standards, but what people really want is a place that they can go back regularly for a good meal and comforting tastes that they are familiar with – without breaking the bank, of course.
Selection of good magazines
Any cafe that has an array of good magazines instantly get an additional 10 points from us. As with many others who hideaway at cafes to relax and recharge, or to gain inspiration.
This may sound like a no-brainer, but there are some cafes that deliberately choose furniture that are uncomfortable so that customers will not hog the seats. Granted, we do understand that ultimately cafes are but restaurants running a business on a smaller scale, and they need to turnover tables. But in the long run, people will only return to cafes that they feel comfortable at.
A great environment
Research has shown that having the right mix of calm and commotion in an environment can boost creativity. Sometimes, we go to cafes to get work done or to study. Other times, we head to cafes to meet people or to brainstorm for ideas.
The reason why Starbucks is so popular is because it is not just a place for coffee, but also plays the role of “Third Place” – a comfortable, sociable gathering spot away from home and work.
It is the combination of the various factors – good coffee, nice music, comfortable setting, and comfort food – that contribute to a great environment.