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Queues Driving You Around The Bend? Here Are Some Clever Ways To Cut Them From Your Cafe

When you first started out in the cafe business, the chances are that you dreamt of a full-house with a queue out the door. Isn’t that any cafe owner’s dream? It’s the main reason you worked so hard to put your business on the map and get people talking. Only, now that the queues are here, they seem like a ‘careful what you wish for’ situation to you.

Sure, the constant clanging of your tills is good news indeed. But, you and your staff are stressed beyond belief. What’s more, that out-the-door queue is leading to a whole load of lost custom each day. And, while lost custom does ease your burden a little, it also leaves you out of pocket and developing a bad reputation. And, that’s not what you want in the slightest.

So, just like that those dreams vanish in a poof of sleepless nights and anxiety. Now, you wish you could do anything to go back to the days when you could move around in your cafe. Well, fear not; we may well have some ways for you to achieve that exact goal. And, given how much clearing that queue would boost your business, you’d be mad not to read on and find out what they are.


Rethink your layout

Rethinking your layout should be your first stop. You may well have slaved for hours to get those tables just right, but the severity of your queues suggests there’s still room for improvement. The main thing to focus on is directing that line so it’s not out of your shop. If outside customers can see how busy you are, it’s unlikely they’ll even set foot in your business. So, consider setting up your counter so that your queue is within the shop, rather than leading out of it. It’s also worth considering ways in which you can ensure an orderly queue. Often, a problem here arises from a free for all layout. If customers have to congregate around the till, is it any wonder that things seem so out of control? Instead, place a barrier of some kind to direct customers around the side of your till. This will work wonders for stress levels all around as it’ll allow your team to deal with one customer at a time. Customers won’t have to shout to get an order in, and your staff won’t have to remember who’s next. It may seem an obvious point, but many new cafe owners just don’t think of this. So, if you haven’t already, focus on a little queue control through some readjustments.

Simplify your processes

One of the main reasons queues pose problems in cafes is because the processes behind the counter are pretty complicated. This is especially the case in a new cafe where things aren’t quite perfected yet. For instance, a new cafe owner might hire trained baristas and encourage them to produce fancy coffees. No one could argue that these will look amazing, but they’re also sure to be pretty complicated to make. As such, each order could take at least ten minutes or more to produce. As a result, your queues would soon build up. Though no one could fault your coffee when it comes, not all customers will be willing to wait that long. You’d have people demanding refunds left, right, and centre. Instead, then, consider something like the bean to cup coffee machines you can lease from Bibium. These provide quality coffee in half the time and would free your staff to take more orders while still keeping queues down. Think, too, about developing efficient processes for your team. If they both take orders and make them, it could take a while. Instead, it may be worth training some staff on your tills, and leaving others to deal with production.

Use self-serve tills

Of course, that wouldn’t be necessary if you used self-service tills instead of face-to-face ordering. McDonald’s have been doing this for a while now, and chains like Costa and Starbucks are also making ripples. If you’ve made use of this option as a customer in the past, you don’t need us to tell you why it’s a good idea. By providing three or four self-serve pay points, you can near enough eliminate queues. What’s more, this frees your staff to actually make the orders, thus slashing your waiting times. You could even tuck these machines into a corner so any customers walking past will see a nice cafe with no standing customers. To further increase the benefits, inform customers to sit down after placing orders. Using a table seating plan, you can make it easy enough for staff to locate the customer when their order is ready. And, all these stages work towards clearing your cafe of any semblance of a queue.

Consider table service

Of course, self-service isn’t appropriate for every cafe out there. It certainly wouldn’t go down well if you’re aiming to appeal to an older audience. In that case, you could always offer table service instead. Customers are sure to appreciate this as it’s an added touch few cafes offer. Plus, it brings about the same benefits as self-service. This will clear up your cafe counter, and ensure all customers sit right down. It’ll also reduce stress for staff as it’ll allow them to focus on one task at a time. You could make life even easier by using iPads for ordering. These will enable table staff to send orders straight to the kitchen in a click of a button. Again, a strong table order will ensure those drinks find their way to customers as easy as anything. All without a queue in sight.

So, if you see queues when you close your eyes at night, it is possible to make changes. Over time, each of these adjustments will make a massive difference to both the people coming through your door and the happiness of your employees. And, any business owner knows they’re the most important things.

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