Coffee shops are becoming more and more popular and they also seemed to have shifted their core concept in the last years. They have a very distinct atmosphere and they’re far from being places where you simply go in, grab a coffee and get out. But what makes some of them much more popular than others? Well, Lisa Waxman conducted a qualitative study in 2006 and she found that the prototype of the perfect coffee shop (from the clients’ point of view) tends to include these five main characteristics: cleanliness, aroma, lighting, comfortable furniture and the view.

Sure, most of us would probably think of cleanliness as being an essential criteria in choosing a coffee house and it’s understandable why. After all, there’s a good reason why there are strict legal requirements for sanitary standards in these kinds of places. But aside from the constant care that the management and personnel should show for cleanliness, it would sure help you to integrate in the design materials that are easy to clean, materials that can effectively camouflage the unavoidable stains and accidental spills and, in general, materials designed especially for frequent use.

Then, if we’re talking about coffee houses, it’s almost a fact that our first natural association with it will be the coffee aroma. We’re expecting to find that in there, it’s no secret that it’s one of the main reasons we go in there in the first place and it’s definitely a plus if we also feel the sweet notes of baked goods. So a ventilation system designed specifically to take advantage of this aroma is sure to help you enhance your customers’ experiences and actually get more customers if some of the delicious smelling air flow is directed towards the outside.

Lighting seems to be the third important thing on people’s lists when they think about the perfect coffee shop and it’s no wonder since today’s coffee houses are a popular place for reading, studying and working. And it’s because this kind of business turned into a certain kind of social space it’s very important for you to offer customers adequate lighting, with natural sources, friendly artificial sources and make sure you also use objects and finishing touches that have appropriate reflective properties.

Fourth place is no surprise to us. Yes, comfortable furniture is also a must. However, the study showed that the owners didn’t really think about this. In fact, for one of the coffee shops in the study it was found that the most popular piece of furniture was an upholstered chair, the only one of its kind, dirty and worn off; it was constantly taken and people moved it around according to their needs. Why? It was the only comfortable seating option available. But we should also mentions that furniture that’s too inviting and comfortable might not be the best choice from the owner’s perspective and it’s important to find a reasonable solution to avoid excessive camping and to encourage a decent flow in customers.

The last design issue in our top five is the view. Ideally, at least some of the customers should have access to an outside view, preferably to a piece of nature, natural lighting and oriented towards what’s happening around the coffee shop.

Other elements that were found to be important were: pleasant acoustics, natural lighting, décor, colors and an overall pleasant design. Anyway, we encourage you to read the whole study, since it’s an opportunity to find out a lot of interesting new things – for example, what kind of social interactions stimulate attachment or the influence of a relationship with the community.

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