So we had got off to a good start and things seemed to be going well at Artisan, however summer time was just around the corner. Everyone had always told us that this was a tough time for coffee shops as people headed to the parks and the pubs, leaving empty and sad looking coffee shops behind. We were determined that this was not going to happen to Artisan and made big efforts in April and May to limit the negative impact summer might have on our business.
Luckily at Artisan we have large concertina windows that completely open up one side of the shop and overlook a converted church – so we opened these up at the first opportunity and advertised the space on facebook and twitter, showing customers sitting next to the big open space with the sun on their backs. We promoted the idea that Artisan was the ‘place to be’ during the summer, with these types of messages written up on the big A frame board outside the shop.
We also looked at our offering and adjusted our menu accordingly. We bought a whole new blackboard and called it ‘cold stuff’, which has loads of great cold drinks such as iced coffee, two types of iced tea, as well as an Australian speciality LLB (Lemon, Lime and Bitters). We were however still worried that all the above was not going to be enough to draw people in, so after a lot of thought and consideration we invested in a small frozen yoghurt machine. Now under no circumstances were we going to become a frozen yoghurt place – it was still all about the coffee at Artisan – however we thought that it would help draw people in during those long hot summer days.
Overall looking back – it worked and summer was not at all bad for us and with the Olympic cycling passing by our door, we had some great days. One thing worth mentioning was that a lot of people didn’t know what Fro Yo was and it took time for it to take off, but it did help us limit our biggest fear of an empty coffee shop and people continued to come and sit in the open windows sipping an iced coffee and enjoying a lovely frozen yoghurt! This goes to shows if you plan for the downturns you can continue to be successful throughout the year!