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Hidden secrets: the strategies to win your customers

The closure of the oldest café in the city centre has customers gutted, but how can you run a successful restaurant in Cardiff?

Only piles of chairs and old magazines left outside the closed Garlands, and no one cares.

Joanne Lacy has lost her cherished food scene in Cardiff. Garlands, a 40-year-old café located in the Duke Street Arcade, announced its closure on Facebook last week. This eatery which featured Welsh rarebit with extras was a favourite of Joanne and her daughter when visiting Cardiff since she was tiny.

Although the real reasons behind the closure are unknown, some clues could probably account for this result. On Garlands’ Trip Advisor page, there are 39 “poor” and “terrible” out of 499 reviews including “a hair embedded in eggs”, “sick prices”, “rude manager”, and “dirty tables”.

No matter if you are a new or old restaurant, the problems reflected in these reviews are deadly for a restaurant. Garlands’ ink is dry, but what are the successful strategies to run an eatery in Cardiff?

Stand out in your lane

“The food you get here is the appropriate homemade Indian food, not high street commercial food,” said Jim Patel, manager of Vegetarian Food Studio.

Serving authentic food to customers and making it consistent for years are the secrets.

When this long-running restaurant set up initially in 2003, there were few vegetarian restaurants in Cardiff. Over the years, their dishes remain authentic and perfect, such as the curry and the Gujarati Thali Special. In the 2018 Asian Curry Awards, their restaurant was titled as the “Best Healthy Eating Restaurant”.

From the experience of Vegetarian Food Studio, they have occupied customers’ brand mind in Cardiff’s vegetarian restaurant category. When consumers think of a vegetarian restaurant, they think of them.

Highlighting the values of your customers is considered as the heart of hospitality industry, according to the chairman of the Start-Up Loans Company, James Caan, mentioned earlier in a Guardian column: “you need to have a clear group of individuals who would see a value-added from your product or service.”

Vegetarian Food Studio is closed to an Indian temple and they link it to the community.

Creating memories for customers

Imagine how your consumers feel when walking into your restaurant. Dirty tables and grubby condiments have deprived their appetite. Or clean floors, wonderful light, flowers and candles are just right. The Barker Tea House located in Cardiff’s historical arcade is exactly the latter.

“The main thing standing out the Barker from the crowds is the atmosphere. “The lovely chairs you sitting in the music, the smells,” said Edwin Abenheimer, Operational Manager of Barker Tea House.

One of the most important elements of successful restaurants is the ambience. Director of Chevalier Restaurant, told to the Bloomberg: “Ambience not just makes the comfortable furniture, but everything natural as it belongs to.”

Being a real person instead of a poker face is Barker staffs’ style.

Except for the atmosphere, making your staffs be a real person to customers is very crucial.“Encouraged staffs have their own personality and style, it’s more relatable to the customers. It’s not like in a Starbucks where staffs seem the same, they like a robot,” said Edwin Abenheimer.

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