By: Christa Plaza, AIA - September 1, 2012 | Originally published at www.clubindustry.com
Do you ever wonder why Starbucks is so successful? Well, obviously the company serves great coffee, but so do a lot of other coffee shops. Starbucks is successful because it was the first coffee company to offer a social atmosphere with soft seating, mood lighting and music that keeps people coming back for more and makes for profitable café space.
When adding a café to your fitness facility, you should take a cue from Starbucks. The following are five elements you must consider to make your café successful:
Location. Your café should be located toward the front entry of your facility because that places the café in the highest traffic area of the club, giving it the best exposure to members.
Clientele. The type of members your fitness facility attracts plays a role in the design of the space. To support a variety of customers, you need to provide different types of seating for different activities. For computer junkies, you need tables and chairs with plenty of space for their computers and notes. For social butterflies, soft seating arrangements create a nice lounging space for conversation. And for workout enthusiasts who need to eat and run, stools with a countertop provide a quick in-and-out option.
Amenities. Depending on the level of service of a club, the amenities you offer may be different. A lower-budget club might offer vending machines with healthy food options and pre-packaged foods, which keeps the design and construction costs of the kitchen down. Mid-level clubs might offer a smoothie bar and a small menu of food options for members. At a full-service club, the café could provide a full menu of healthy food options that are prepared fresh. Do not forget to carefully look at the members at your club to determine what will support their café needs.
Wireless access is a must in any café today. Creating a cyber lounge where people can connect via the Internet or in person also will attract more people to your café. Another café amenity is a TV, which can show music videos, news or stock market updates, depending on your members. A TV can help keep your members there. Private meeting rooms also are valuable offerings in mid- to higher-range clubs and can be rented out for a small fee.