Establish—and Own—Your Coffee Niche

Blog > Coffee Shop & Restaurant Operations > Marketing

Your café is different from all the rest. You just have to determine your coffee niche, and promote it.

Your niche in the retail coffee market makes people choose your business over other options—of which there is no shortage. It’s what draws them in, makes them come back, and gets them to tell their friends that they must experience your cappuccino or signature drink, or take in the local art on your walls, or warehouse-meets-cozy-hangout aesthetic.

Get in touch with our coffee shop strategy experts

Crucial to your success is that you serve a niche that needs to be filled, something other nearby cafes or restaurants don’t provide. Depending on how many other businesses you're competing with, this can be as simple as being the only upscale French café option or the only smoothie-bar option. In a crowded market with lots of competition (say, like the thousands of coffeehouses in Seattle) you may have to occupy a much more specific niche such as specializing in super-high-end single-origin coffees, a unique pastry selection, or being incredibly kid friendly.

What makes you special? Is it your food? (Hopefully that one’s a “yes.”) Are you small and cozy or big and accommodating of large groups? Do you play the best new music? Do you have an open kitchen? Are your prices accessible to most folks, or do you cater to the gourmet crowd?

Even if you think your coffee shop has minuses, play them up. If you’re off the beaten path, play up the specialness of it in your marketing materials. Or play up free parking if you’ve got it, or city-living walkability if you’re centrally located without the parking.

Just as important as having a niche is doing it better than anyone else.

Maybe your smoothies involve the most creative flavor combos imaginable, or your patio or sidewalk seating is a to-die-for, east-facing garden-like space that welcomes your morning crowd. Understand the overall perception that customers have of your restaurant, help them see what you want them to see, and they’ll come back for more.

Find great coffee for your operation—and more.