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Creating a sense of community is one thing when opening a series of cafes, but keeping that feel is just as hard as Brisbane’s Brother Espresso discovered.
A community is a place of choice, a space that attracts people with common interests and values to create a sense of belonging. If you can tap into that, you are going a long way to creating a successful business.
A Brisbane-based chain of cafes, Brother Espresso, has known that feeling and now, with a new owner, is expanding on that.
The original chain was the brainchild of several brothers of the Gowty family who, armed with the motto “brothers by birth, espresso by choice”, set out to supply urban caffeine aficionados with their daily fix.
Converting the heritage-listed building of a former plumbing business into a coffee shop, they created an urban retreat of smooth coffee flavours, Italian coffee machines and free Wi-Fi.
According to the brothers, it was their “common sense approach to coffee and simple affordable food offering” that provided the critical edge for their success.
The classic breakfast menu listed the usual suspects of comforting morning snacks ranging from sourdough sandwiches and Bircher muesli to a hearty brekkie burger.
Word of mouth and exposure in stylish magazines helped to boost brand awareness and customer numbers.
Within a couple of years, the place became a magnet for the community of the young and trendy inner-city dwellers. There was no doubt it was a hip place to go.
That hipness apparently can be a double-edged sword. It’s also an area that was of some interest to Miles Gillham who recently bought out the chain.
Gillham, who still works closely with the founding brothers, felt customer experience could be improved and the cafes’ appeal spread to a broader audience.
“We want our products to be enjoyed by everyday people, by families who appreciate our products and our great service,” Gillham said.
He said, with six coffee outlets dotted across the Brisbane area and a roasting facility in hip and happening Fortitude Valley, the small gourmet coffee chain is set for more growth.
Gillham said good service is all about putting your customer first and EFTPOS payment provider Tyro is part of the solution.
Together with point-of-sale software provider Lightspeed Kounta POS, Tyro helps venues grow by providing the payment technology that makes doing business fast and simple. With a strong focus on customer experience, Gillham knows the importance of easy payment options.
“Our customers often don’t carry cash, they like the simplicity of being able to pay with cards so we don’t charge them extra. This is just a part of our service,” he said.