It always helps to have more strings to one’s bow, and the café business is definitely no exception. If you have even the smallest amount of counter or floor space, it’s simple to set up food to sell retail for customers to take with them.

Why Retail?

The advantage of multiple income streams is that they help you to take advantage of seasonal changes and create flexibility that can enable you to better navigate the ups and downs of business. A simple example is selling ice cream during the summer months when customers are more likely to want to take a cooling treat away with them to enjoy outdoors or on the beach, rather than having a long lunch indoors.

Even huge brands like Starbucks have tapped into this. Earlier this year, the company revised its profit forecast upwards due to increases in food sales. Food accounts for a fifth of Starbucks’ profits, and the percentage is rising. However, branching into another area poses a branding challenge, so it’s worth investing time and effort to ensure your retail products share an aesthetic with the rest of your café. That might be as simple as packaging in the same colour range and fonts, or using display equipment that reflects the rest of your restaurant design.

Expansion Without The Risks

With smart schemes like Silver Chef’s rent-try-buy, it’s possible to trial different retail options for a year before committing to expensive equipment like chiller cabinets or heated cabinets. That way, you can experiment with different food options to take away without a large initial outlay. After all, the aim is to boost your bottom line, not eat into your profits.

Food Display Cabinet
Food Display Cabinet

Having the option to sell retail can also help a small café handle rush times, such as lunchtime, without losing customers because all the tables are full. Of course, not everyone who goes into a café for lunch is going to want to grab and go, but if they do just want food in a hurry, having something they can take with them captures that income.

As well as handling peak times, having staff preparing food for retail at quiet times helps to maximise efficiency. Whether it’s preparing sandwiches, salads or cakes, having grab-and-go options makes practical business sense.

Smart Design

Don’t forget the details. Keep retail items close to the till so customers can pick up extras when they leave, and make sure they are well packaged and easy to take out. Branding is particularly important here, as you want anyone admiring your customer’s delicious snack to know where they can get one, too.

Café Ideas has been supplying restaurants, bars and shops in Australia with high quality, innovative furniture and equipment for a decade. If you can’t see exactly what you need on our website, we custom design furniture and display items on request and with a lead time of just four weeks. Contact our friendly sales team today to discuss your needs.