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Sector Spotlight: Cafés

Read this to find out how to get your café ahead of the competition.

Getting their name from the French for ‘coffee’, cafés have remained closely associated with this distinct beverage.

Cafés have been in South Africa in one way or another for a lot of years. They are usually more than places that only serve food and drinks and they have, instead, become places where people meet, work and socialise.

The function that cafés serve hasn’t become any less important. Gens Y and Z are moving into prime spending positions and they are looking for more than just a cup of coffee. What they want is a ‘coffee experience’.

Coffee Shop


While tea and coffee are often seen as the staples of cafés, most of the income that is earned in this sector comes from the food that is sold. The standard of food in a lot of cafés has become better and better over the years as food culture has become more of a trend.

Any café that wants to be competitive in this industry needs to make sure that their menu is appealing to customers. Both the food and the coffee need to be able to keep up with trends.

The options that customers expect available to them in terms of coffees has certainly grown and you will need to be able to offer speciality coffees as well as filter

Establishments that offer customers good food, good coffee and friendly service will usually draw in regular customers, but it is important that they know who their market is and how to give them what they want.

Finding the right niche is a great way for any café to make sure they are a success.


Food and drink

Coffee is always going to be a favourite, but teas and herbal hot drinks are also becoming popular. Cold brew, infused coffees and speciality teas will all be popular with your customers.

Food culture has become more and more prominent and, with that, it has become necessary for cafés and restaurants to keep an eye out for changing food trends.

Some of the most obvious fads that have been around recently are health foods and locally and ethically sourced and grown foods. 

Vegetarian and vegan options are becoming more popular as has pickling and fermenting foods. 

Although you can’t keep on top of every trend, you can pick a couple and make it a special or put an extra option or two on your menu to make sure you keep relevant.

A good way to appeal to a niche and do it well is to stick to the food that you know. Culturally specific foods are trendy, and customers will love your family recipes!

Cafe food and drink

The experience

Most of all, though, your customers are going to be looking for their overall experience to be something that they look forward to. Good food and drinks are only a part of this. You will need to make sure that you hire good staff and train them well as they will go a long way to creating the kind of atmosphere that customers are looking for.

Think about how your brand appears online and make sure that there is a seamless transition between your café’s online presence and its offline one.

Keep up to date on social media and use this as a way to connect with your customers and build a relationship with them. Your customers will be more likely to come back to you if they feel they have a connection with your business. 

Find out what is important to them and find a way to incorporate it into your business.

You should know who your market is before you buy a business so that you can make sure you buy the right one. Thorough research is vital. If you don’t find the right business to buy, you can be sure that the next steps in running your business will be much harder.

Anthea Taylor

About the author

Anthea Taylor is Content Producer at Dynamis and writes for all titles in the Dynamis stable including, and as well as other industry publications.