Cafe or Coffice?

In the past we’ve explored whether it makes sense to provide free WiFi at your cafe. Does offering free WiFi to your customers benefit the bottom line, or does it only serve to take up valuable table space? Our conclusion was that as WiFi-enabled devices become ever more ubiquitous, consumers grow to expect WiFi at their coffee shop of choice. Offering WiFi - with, perhaps, the purchase of a drink, and a requirement that laptop users sit at communal tables - is a boon to cafes, and provides an effective and marketable tool for increasing revenue and foot traffic.

Savvy business owner that you are, you’ve read our previous blog post and opted to offer free WiFi at your cafe. Now, the next question - do you market your cafe as a coffice? A portmanteau of “coffee shop” and “office,” a coffice is a place where people - freelancers, students, or budding startups - go to work and drink coffee. From their perspective, the coffice provides a great alternative to a traditional office or even a coworking space - the rent is cheaper, and for many the coffee shop environment provides a dynamic and caffeine-fueled environment for which to brainstorm ideas and get work done.

There are benefits to the business owner to marketing your cafe as a coffice, including:

  • Loyal customers. Once a freelancer has chosen his coffice of choice, he’ll return again and again for that ideal environment and well-brewed coffee.
  • New customers. Freelancers - especially those new to a city - are always seeking the best coffice. If you bill yourself as such - and broadcast it on social media - you’ll be sure to attract those seeking to get their work done, and keep them with your ideal environment and delicious coffee.
  • Niche marketing. As a self-declared coffice, you’ll be able to market your wares to your specific target. Does your cafe have an especially strong WiFi signal? Do you have a loyalty or rewards program? Let your customers - and potential customers - know. By continuing to address the needs of your niche market, you’ll be able to increase your customer base while keeping your loyal customers happy.

This is not to say that your cafe will be a coffice and nothing else - as stated above, we recommend setting aside communal tables for laptop users, while encouraging your other patrons to continue frequenting and enjoying your cafe. This approach has worked well for Revel client Coffee Bar, which provides an amazing environment to get work done with great eats and coffee. And, as if to underline the point, Instagram got its start at Coffee Bar, which Fast Company describes as “a hacker mecca where the ratio of laptops to humans is approximately two to one.”

In Coffee Bar’s case, the benefits to being a coffice are twofold - not only do they offer an ideal environment for cofficers and “regular” patrons a like, but they provided the breeding grounds for what would become one of the world’s most popular social media tools. Will your coffice spawn the next Instagram? Market your cafe appropriately and it just might.