Imagine the scene, two friends are walking along the high street, after a morning of very successful shopping. They are loaded down with bags when they decide it must be coffee time.

But where do they stop for coffee. There’s such a lot of choice, in my high street alone there are six cafés; and this is not unusual in the UK, most high streets now have a range of cafés and restaurants to choose from.

The fast food restaurant

The service will be quick: they can have a quick cup of coffee or even a quick lunch and be back shopping in fifteen minutes.

The choice of drinks may be smaller, but the fast food restaurant is friendly and good value for money. The tables are cleared ready for customers to take the weight off their feet or of course there is always the option to take away.

Many fast food restaurants are now offering a healthier option like a chilli chicken wrap alongside their selection of burgers, pizzas or chips.

Have you tried offering a healthier option?

The family run café

The service is more personal with a great selection of coffees and teas. There is somewhere to sit relax and enjoy a snack, or a light meal. Traditional options like Victoria sponge cake, chocolate cake, ham & cheese toasties and bacon sandwiches make the café welcoming and appealing to everyone.

Because the family-run cafe is independent, it has the ability to offer a more local appeal. Staffordshire oat cakes, Welsh cakes and Bath buns are all incredibly popular choice in their regions and homemade versions can really make a café stand out on the high street.

In recent years afternoon tea has become increasingly popular with groups of friends gathering together to enjoy a selection of sandwiches and cakes. Have you thought about adding this to your menu? (LINK TO AFTERNOON TEA PAGE 96 & 97)

The specialist coffee shop

The surrounding are relaxed with comfy chairs and a buzz that invites you to sit, relax and enjoy your drink.

The specialist coffee shop has a great selection of coffees and teas. The numerous variations of Expresso, Mocha, Cappuccino and Latte opens up a wide choice of coffees to suit everyone’s taste. Offering syrups just expands the choice for your customers.

The snacks are a little more luxurious: paninis and ciabattas, Danish pastries, chocolate fudge cake and muffins; they allow you to treat yourself to something indulgent.

As we approach the summer have you considered adding something different to your cold drink menu? Perhaps an iced tea, or a fruit fusion – these can be really refreshing on a warm summer day.

So where should the friends go?

Of course you can never influence their decision completely, but if you make sure your service is friendly, your tables are clean and you offer an excellent range of teas, coffees, soft drinks and snacks, the next time the friends decide that it’s time for coffee they might just step inside your door.

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