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6 clever ways to boost cafe profits

Australian cafe culture has been built on the back of savvy, coffee-craving customers seeking out their favourite blends and baristas at independent coffee shops everywhere. As we navigate a rough start to the 2020s, the question on the lips of cafe owners everywhere is simple; how can I make my cafe profitable?

From business budgets to reducing waste, here are six ways to boost profits as you caffeinate and feed your local community.

1. Understand your business numbers

It’s OK if you’d rather craft a cappuccino than deal with your books, but you do need to get comfortable with the data. Get the help of a trusted accountant to get across the budget basics, forecast some numbers, and be smart about tax planning. 

Start by keeping tabs on your operational costs, labour expenses and inventory — and then spread your wings to comparing industry benchmarks. The more you know, the more opportunities you have to save. 

2. Drive sales up 

Simple, right? 

Sourcing high-quality beans and offering a range of milk alternatives keeps sales steady, but it’s a competitive market between coffee vans, cafes on every corner and home espresso machines all after a slice of the $9.6 billion Australians spend on coffee each year. Boosting sales beyond coffee starts with knowing your customers — what else can you do for them?

Take a look at the whole cafe customer experience (CX).  Do your customers want more breakfast on the run choices or take-home dinner packs? Consider how to make the most of what’s different about your cafe to start hearing the ka-ching of the register.

3. Get on brand with Instagram

If you’re not already on board with socials, it’s time. One in three Australians use Instagram — that’s a lot of eyeballs on your latte art and profit-heavy pastries. 

Encourage customers to snap pics with Gram-worthy backdrops, promote daily specials using stories, and keep offering exclusive discounts and deals to your social followers.

4. Seek and destroy inefficiencies

When you’re working in tight cafe kitchens your workflows need to be optimised to avoid waste, and order mishaps — both of which eat into your profits quickly. 

Try setting up a time-lapse video of your behind the counter operations and review it to find the bottlenecks — waiting for EFTPOS, a poorly placed pastry fridge, or out of reach supplies. Create simple and functional workflows that ease pressure on frustrated staff, keep customers moving, and have an eye on your bottom line.

5. Reduce waste 

Give your customers an incentive to bring in reusable cups; they reduce costs and your carbon footprint. Try a discount or contribution to a local charity to get your earth-conscious customers back in the reusable spirit. 

Packaging is the other waste culprit in the cafe setting. Does a muffin need a tray and paper bag? Most customers will happily agree to less disposable packaging.

6. Build the right partnerships

Businesses rely on each other to keep supply chains running smoothly. Strong relationships with vendors and suppliers translate to sales and profitability. While you focus on the macchiatos, the right suppliers help you grow and the right partners elevate your brand

It’s smart to review your partners — ideally together — at least once a year. Could you work more efficiently? Can they offer better pricing or a new solution? From coffee wholesalers to your organic baker, nurture your business relationships for win-win outcomes.

Premium coffee solutions

Australian coffee culture is competitive; you can’t cost-cut your way to profits by compromising quality. The cafes that will continue to thrive and grow are the ones that understand the power of partnerships to deliver coffee experiences customers love. Unlock Lavazza’s premium coffee solutions to enhance your reputably fabulous cafe experience.

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