Promoting a coffee house

A question from Yahoo! Answers:

How do I promote My Coffee house?
I am looking to increase customers at my cafe. I am a small business owner in the northwest.

There’s plenty to learn from the big boys in this business (Starbucks, Seattle’s Best, etc.)

First, make sure you are easy to find (location, signage, etc.) Then, make yourself noticed. In Seattle, Starbucks stores simply send one person at a time out to the street with a tray full of pastry samples to hand out to the passerby. If your local newspaper has an annual “Best Coffee House” contest, try your best to win it. If it doesn’t, suggest it to the publisher.

Having been noticed, don’t scare customers away by hiring untidy youth to work in the store. Believe it or not, there’s plenty of tidy youth out there… Encourage your workers to have conversations with customers.

Make sure the customers enjoy their visit. Consider providing free or reasonably priced wireless Internet access to your customers (Coffee Bean in my area has a deal with a telco that charges customers $2.50 for a two-hour time block). Get some comfortable furniture. Have a daily trivia contest (with the winner receiving a drink or a pastry of their choice free). Host literary and/or music events in the evening time. In other words, be a coffee house. Remember, great coffee houses of the past are famous for books written in them, debates and discussions that took place in them, and business transactions that were concluded in them…

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