What makes for a great coffee shop? A customer’s perspective.

27 November 2013

Sponsored blog post. Thanks to John Rooney for writing this blog post. John blogs about the coffee industry on behalf of our friends at Coffee Solutions.

As a coffee enthusiast I have visited hundreds of large chains stores, supermarket outlets and independent shops in search of a cup of char that has that little something special. I’ve tasted some truly wonderful and, frankly, completely woeful cups of coffee in that time, but a great coffee shop is made of more than simply the drinks it serves.

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what it is that makes a coffee shop one that we want to return to again and again. In truth it is an amalgamation of different elements that, when brought together, create an all-round customer experience that combines the best elements of customer service with traditional home comforts.

In this post I’ve tried to deconstruct those elements and work out exactly what it is that we love about our favourite coffee shops.

A Great Selection of Coffee

Okay, I know I said it isn’t all about the coffee, but it is still the reason we are all here on this blog, right?

I don’t know about you, but I love walking into a coffee shop and being met with a veritable cornucopia of different choices from all over the globe, giving me the chance to sample something new – this is of course only if they have the skills to be able to serve it correctly!

Friendly Staff

This is important for any business in the service sector, but when I go into a coffee shop I want to feel right at home; like I could stay in there for literally hours and feel completely welcome the entire time. If the staff are rude or generally moody then I just want to drink my coffee and leave.

This is what is great about artisan coffee shops, as the people running it and working there are typically as passionate about it as we are.

Comfortable Seating

This goes back to what I was saying about wanting to feel at home and as though you can stay there for hours. Uncomfortable seating certainly doesn’t create an environment that people want to spend time in. However a diverse range of seating is important, as although I’m personally a fan of deep sofas and arm chairs, some people do prefer something a little more sturdy and upright.

An ergonomically designed interior is essential in general, and you certainly don’t want to feel cramped during any stage of the customer experience, while if you have to queue outside for your coffee on a cold and wet day it is inevitably going to put you off that particular shop.

The Best Coffee Makers

They say that a bad workman blames his tools, but if a coffee shop doesn’t invest in high quality equipment then you aren’t going to get the best out of the bean or be able to handle a large volume of customers – and this will ultimately lead to frustrated patrons who won’t want to come back.

Coffee Solutions, who’s mantra of providing ‘Simply, great coffee’ is replicated in their coffee makers, is just one example of a company who provide first-class equipment.

Great Decor

This is an exceptionally generalised statement isn’t it, after all, what even constitutes ‘great decor’? To be honest a lot of it will come down to personal taste, and if you take a moment to browse some of the best examples that have been covered here on Cosy Coffee Shops then you will find a diverse range of interior design styles.

The key though is to create something unique and one of a kind. The coffee shops that stick in my mind aren’t just the ones that serve the best coffee but the ones that took me by surprise in terms of aesthetics and had me admiring the decor.

Identify a Niche

I have a number of favourite coffee shops that I have visited over the years and all of them specialise in something. They serve the best espresso (it’s so hard to find a consistently good espresso by the way), their blueberry muffins are to die for or they have an awesome book collection for you to choose from while you enjoy your drink.

Coffee shops need to diversify and stand out from the crowd, and it is incredibly hard to be awesome at everything, so by targeting one particular product or area of the customer experience they can corner a specific portion of the market.

What is it that you love about your favourite coffee shop? Let us know in the comments below.

Sponsored blog post. Thanks to John Rooney for writing this blog post. John blogs about the coffee industry on behalf of our friends at Coffee Solutions.

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  • Pippa Rowney 27 November 2013 at 9:36 pm

    So great! Definitely all the things I look for when visiting a new coffee shop. Will definitely be sharing this post. (

  • John Rooney 28 November 2013 at 4:57 pm

    Thanks for the comment Pippa. Glad to hear it resonated 🙂

  • John 8 December 2013 at 7:22 pm

    Where o where can I find a decent cup around Stoke-on-Trent or even within Staffordshire…Manchester and Chester hold their own but I’m keen to find somewhere more local.

  • Fay 13 December 2013 at 9:19 am

    Great post and all so true now all i need is a cosy coffee shop near me!