Refreshing his café business has become the latest goal for Paul Stephens, who has operated the business from Church Street since September 2020.
Starting with an analysis of the business bottom line, Paul worked with Realise Business to improve operational costs and market the café more effectively. He has already started to see recharged customer interest with greater awareness and foot traffic.
Learning new business tactics
Café owner Paul Stephens admits that initially, he was not all that convinced about the need to learn new business tactics.
“When Tim first introduced himself to me and explained that he worked for Realise Business and that he could help me not only understand my business but increase profits substantially, I was naturally a bit sceptical,” Paul recalls.
Tim Noye, the advisor from Realise Business, outlined a plan to fully cost Paul’s café operation and then make informed changes, plus bring in marketing analysis from the Realise Business team to increase the local customer base.
Owners Paul and Annette enjoy serving Parramatta locals and remembering their coffee orders. The business was established in a busy North Parramatta location, serving quality beverages and snacks, from breakfast comfort foods to light, nutritious lunches. However, although the business had been tracking well, the PLR construction work plus the ups and downs of the pandemic have made an unavoidable impact.
Paul was interested in refining, optimising, and selling more of what worked from a business rebuilding perspective. He took the plunge and began an operational analysis guided by Realise Business.
The first step was for Realise Business to equip Jackson’s Cafe with free cafe modelling software and training on how to use the tool.
Advisor Tim notes that business owner Paul “worked hard to raise all company financials and then applied himself to learning how to upload these to the free platform provided.” Tim comments, “Once he could see the business operational structure through his dashboard, it was easier to make changes and improvements based on real numbers.”
Further support was provided to gather a clear picture of how the business was operating and what improvements could be made. Paul could then identify where to lower operational costs and improve the Cost of Goods Sold (COGS). This allowed him to develop a refined cafe menu focusing on items that work best both from a cost and functionality perspective.
Analysing findings of the marketing audit
Realise Business advisors Sara Berry and Sue Walsh also stepped in to help owner Paul conduct a marketing audit to discover strengths and weaknesses. They focused on refreshing the marketing strategy with this audit information at hand.
Sara explains, “The marketing audit revealed that the business had next to no digital presence, with the menu not visible for local office workers searching for a quick lunch option. Because of the lack of digital presence, they were not coming up when people searched online for cafes in the Parramatta area.
Some very positive aspects were uncovered in the audit; for example, the café had a good track record with excellent Google reviews. The audit also revealed that Jackson’s Cafe offers Allpress Coffee, a popular brand that many seek out, so another task was to highlight this selling point.
Paul was keen to increase the café’s digital presence, and he worked in partnership with Sara and Sue to make this happen.
Digital enhancements to increase reach
Developing a website and social media pages was the foundation for assisting the business with search engine optimisation (SEO), which helps customers find the cafe.
Some of the key steps involved included:
- Setting up a new domain name and hosting for the fresh website to be launched soon.
- Setting up a business Facebook page to gain followers, with posts to be added on a regular basis
- Factoring in continual updates – such as updating Google My Business with reviews, new opening hours and photographs
- Designing and printing the finalised menu so that customers can see the range of available beverages and food easily
- Showcasing the Allpress Coffee brand online, which boosts SEO outcomes.
Plans for future growth and development
Business Advisor Tim believes that “The business now has a clear navigational path that can be operated via an online resource to keep costs current and factual. For any future menu changes, the business can now model and cost potential dishes – working alongside desired net returns.”
He adds, “The business is now also in a position to make clear and sustainable menu increases, knowing the clear costs and profit margins based on the work done.”
To recharge the business later this year, the owner plans to change the entry position of the business so that it is street facing.
Achieving results with the right tactics
Paul’s openness to advice and new processes has paid off. A fully costed menu has been achieved, with the capacity to base new menu items on financial return and limited operational functionality. With the help of Sue and Sara, the digital presence of Jackson’s Café is now stronger. The campaign to increase foot traffic and awareness in the North Parramatta area, specifically targeting office workers, is well underway.
Paul highly recommends getting the Realise Business advisory team on board.
“I must say that the time I have spent with Tim and the Realise Business team has proven to be invaluable,” says Paul. “What has appealed to me most was the unbelievable time and effort they have put into our business. I can honestly say that it was a real pleasure working with Tim and the RB team.”