Opening a café now in a very near future, there are few minutes in the day that I do not ponder on all the ideas and possibilities of creating a truly wonderful place for anyone to enjoy. Great food is the one thing which I am not too worried about, the menu will be based around the food I cook the best. Good, simple, organic, healthful, plant based. Just have to find someone good that can help me out in the kitchen.
Excellent service, a foundation of any successful service business is another aspect, and I have yet to find the amazing people that will work their butts off with me. With the experience I have in hiring, and the café/restaurant industry as a whole, I know this isn't the easiest part of the equation and staff turnover is normally very high. Though I believe that you'll attract the positive by being a fair owner that pays well and give enough encouragement and training along the way. You might know this area of the world better than me, where would you look for employes in Miami? Any specific website/newspaper with good reach?
Location, is something many would tell you is the most important part when opening a retail or restaurant operation, though I know of experience that people that really want something, they'd travel to get to it no matter how far or near. And since our place is located in the midst of Downtown Miami - in an area that is growing and expanding by the day but which hasn't yet come to full bloom - this part is challenging in the way that we won't (yet) have a constant stream of walk-bys.
Good marketing, is therefore key and I am glad for the years of blogging and Internet use as it has taught me a trillion ways of reaching out to people. What will be interesting is marketing at low cost on the ground, in a city I am not yet too familiar with, but my faith tells me it will all grow organically as time goes by.
Inspiring, comfortable, relaxed ambiance, the one aspect that is most on my mind these days. The one aspect I always look for in any place I visit and seeing it from the customers perspective, this truly is where we will have to put most consideration now at start. Possibilities are endless. I've been offered help to design the place, but truth is that it is the entire concept of a restaurant that has always appealed to me. I want the café to reflect my personal vision of the perfect place to kick back and enjoy good food, music and inspire to great conversation. I believe that with Alex's and my combined efforts, we can create something very personal and beautiful. I have the feeling and vision in my mind so clear, the challenge is to put it all together.
There are several colleges around the corner of the café, The New World School of the Arts, for one. Which makes me think we might have a good flow of students visiting. I don't mind students at all, but my dilemma right now is figuring out how to combine the possibility of partly using the café as a place to hook up your laptop for a meeting or study over a healthy lunch and a green juice (all those times I seek for a place to hang out with my computer I know how important this is). But at the same time you wouldn't want the place to turn into a cyber café and take up too much space from potential lunch eaters. Maybe put a minimum charge for laptop guests, or divide the area and leave only a quarter of the floor space designated for computer use, or have specific hours in which you may use your laptop. If someone has a smart idea, please share. But overall the design and interior idea is to make it feel less like a coffee shop, and more like a cozy living room in which one want to spend a lot of time. It should feel like a home that reflects the idea of my perfect place to enjoy great food, drinks, music and the company of others.
The place in the photos above is a restaurant we visited in Montauk last summer. Wonderful ambiance, though what could go wrong on a warm summer's night amidst a lush and green forest and well thought out lighting. We won't be in the nature exactly, but a small terrace with 4-6 tables out front seems a good idea. How is it with eating outdoors in the summers, here in Miami? Plenty shade where we're at, but the humidity might be very harsh a few months a year?