How To Make A Cafe Successful – The Likuid Espresso Story, Part 1

John Campbell, Dec 2016
- Time to read: 4 min
How To Make A Cafe Successful – The Likuid Espresso Story, Part 1

Over the course of this blog series, you’re going to gain in-depth insight into how the Likuid team turn an empty cafe into a business people want to buy.

This series will show you the most important aspects of starting a hospitality business, and seeing it through to a successful outcome.

Added to this, I’m going to show you how the software platform ‘Viability’ gives Pius Steiner and his team the power to transform the business — without the need for financial consultants.

Throughout this blog series, you’ll gain raw insight into what it takes for a food-service business to become sustainably profitable.

Sound good? Well, we’re going to throw in a little extra to make things interesting…

Pius has also offered to share Likuid’s financial data with you, every step of the way. Hang on… a restaurant owner is willing to share his financials with the world? What madness is this?

Let’s just say creating spaces that people love to be in is what Pius (and his team) do very well, and he’s arrived at a place where he wants to share it with you. Added to this, it’s a chance to show off how he uses the Viability platform to help him get there. Everyone loves a GPS, right?

I’m John, a designer who’s helped Pius create the first profitability-driven platform for the food-service industry, namely “Viability”. I am going to tell you this story from start to finish.

Now might be a good time to get you up to speed on Pius’s background, so you know who it is you’re reading about here…

A Brief History of Pius

Pius started out as a humble butcher in the Swiss town of Gommiswald, where he learned the value of providing a top quality product at a reasonable price — with a smile!

Since moving to Australia in 1997, he’s successfully built a number of hospitality businesses from the ground up. These businesses range from restaurants to butcher-shops to espresso bars, and a few things in between.

Throughout his career as a business owner, Pius has been asked one question time and time again:

What is it that you do that seems to ensure your success in every business you take on?

Well, that’s what I’m going to show you throughout this case study. But first, let me give you some insight into what’s under the hood — the basic starting blocks of a successful business.

What’s in the Bag?

When you start out on a journey, you need to pack your bag right, and prepare your mind with the right attitudes. Starting a hospitality business is no different.

Here’s a list of concepts and qualities that you should put in your backpack before you set out:

1. Vision and Determination

Sounds obvious, doesn’t it? You’ll be surprised how many people miss this bit, seriously. Without vision, you’re destined to wander around aimlessly until someone pushes you out the way.

You need a mental picture of where you want your business to end up, backed up by some kind of model that’s going to help you chase that vision.

If you want to achieve your objectives, you need a healthy dose of stubborn passion. Vision and determination go together like socks and shoes, and they’re the first item in Pius’s arsenal.

2. Experience and Skill

Let’s face it, you need some experience behind you before you can open a shop that stands a chance. You need to be really good at something. For some people that translates to amazing cooking skills and great relationships with suppliers of fresh produce. For other people, it’s fantastic interpersonal skills and front of house finesse.

The important part here is to make sure that you play to your strengths and focus on integrating those into your offering.

In Pius’s case, he draws on his experience as a butcher and cafe owner. He pays particular attention to the quality of the product he serves his customer to ensure it is of a higher standard than the businesses around him.

3. Business Building (Growing Revenue)

The process of growing your foot traffic is a slow and steady climb. You don’t win loyal customers overnight. And they don’t stay loyal unless you stay loyal to them.

If your business is like 99% of businesses out there, there’s only one formula you need to know.

Deliver a quality product, quickly, at a reasonable price, with a smile — every single day.

Once you accept that your business is wholly and solely about your customer, you’re headed down the road of sustainable revenue growth.

Pius’s team adopts this as a do-or-die philosophy, and rightly so. Your customer has the power to sing your praises over the digital rooftops of the world, and just as much power to take you down in flames.

4. Operational Benchmarking (Controlling Costs)

“Operational benchmarking” sounds a little fancy, I’ll admit that. To put it in layman’s terms, it means managing your operational costs through a process of continuous improvement.

Some businesses use a variety of apps to help them track their operational performance, mostly involving Excel spreadsheets or similar methods.

The Likuid team will be using Viability, software that allows business owners to benchmark their business performance and improve profitability — regardless of their level of revenue.

Throughout this case study, we’ll show you how Likuid Espresso uses Viability to maximise profitability in a sustainable way (like a GPS).

Visualising The Road Ahead

In part 2 of this case study, I’ll show you how Pius uses Viability’s Feasibility Analysis to prepare the team for Likuid’s big journey.

Go to Part 2 → 

Also published on Medium.

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