10 considerations before opening a cafe
All hospitality businesses have two equally important zones—front of house and back of house. While the back of house is the behind the scenes that customers don’t see (think kitchen, stockroom, and offices), front of house is where customers experience your business; it’s where they order, dine, and spend their time.
Since the front of house can either draw customers in or steer them away, it’s something you want to get right. In this article we cover the essential elements for a robust front of house and solutions that can elevate the customer-facing business space.
What is front of house in hospitality?
In a nutshell, the front of house is the customer hub. Depending on the hospitality business you have, it can include everything from the host stand and waiting area to the counter, dining room, bar, and restrooms. Anywhere a customer can go forms part of the front of house.
Key aspects of the front of house in hospitality
There are many moving parts when it comes to the front of house in hospitality, including staff, design, promotions, and technology. Let’s dig into each below.
A business doesn’t exist without its staff. Here are the employees, depending on your size of business, that make the front of house go round:
The general manager is often responsible for running the establishment and making sure everything operates smoothly. They can be responsible for hiring, training, and managing front-of-house staff and will sometimes oversee the back-of-house staff, if for example the head chef isn’t across that job.
Sometimes there will be a shift manager to share the managerial load.
Often guided by the general manager or shift manager, floor staff play an important part in daily operations of the restaurant or cafe. By fulfilling their front-of-house duties, they help deliver a memorable customer experience.
Floor staff can include:
- The host: The host is often the first floor staff member to interact with customers Their job is to greet those at the door and show them to their table; on top of this, they take reservations and, if the venue is full, estimate wait times until a table is free
- Waiters: Floating around the front of house, waiters take orders and deliver meals and drinks to customers. They also answer any questions diners may have about the menu and process payments when they’re finished their meal
- Cashiers: While waiters can put through orders and payments, some hospitality businesses may have a certain person perched at the counter dedicated to the job
- Bartenders: Bartenders take, prepare, and serve drink orders. They may also wash glasses, manage bar inventory, and take directions from a bar manager
When hiring front-of-house staff, you should be looking for people with positive, friendly attitudes that match your business’s culture and will be a good representation of your brand.
Considering that the front of the house is generally the only area customers see, it should consistently reflect the theme or concept of your hospitality venue – creating a distinct feel and ambience. Dress the place, from the walls to the floors, with items and colours that make sense for your business, to really make your mark as a unique, charismatic establishment.
The front of house should also have an effective floor plan that makes it easy for customers and staff to move around with ease.
A key aspect of the front of house in hospitality is letting your customers know what you’ve got going on. Signs and flyers should clearly state the promotions that are happening (or will happen soon), so customers don’t miss out on the opportunity to save some money or experience something new.
Promotions can range from cheap meal nights and happy hour to memberships with must-have specials. Ultimately, promotions allow you to give existing customers some extra love while at the same time bringing in extra business.
Another crucial part of the front of house in hospitality is technology that streamlines processes, simplifying both the customer and staff experience.
Here’s how you can turn your front-of-house ecosystem up a notch with the help of Tyro:
Tyro EFPTOS, which can connect to over 330 POS/PMS providers, allows you to process payments quickly, simply, and securely. You can also let customers pay how and where they want, thanks to features such as Pay@Table and SplitBills¹. With Pay@Table, staff can pull up the bill wirelessly through the Mobile EFTPOS machine, instead of at the POS, enabling them to process the payment right at the table. With SplitBills, parties can pay their own way by splitting the bill amongst the group. These features are all designed to put more control in the customers’ hands, which can go a long way when it comes to winning customers.
The possibilities don’t end there, though. Thanks to Tyro Connect, you can go ahead and integrate additional apps and services you use to manage day-to-day tasks with your Point of Sale (POS) system – creating an even more streamlined system that will help take your front of house to new heights.
Fostering the front of house of your hospitality precinct is crucial to giving your customers an experience they’ll want to come back for. So make sure to take the time to evaluate and elevate any areas that need some TLC, to really make a difference in your business.
Ready to experience the benefits of Tyro EFTPOS? Let’s Talk!
1 Tyro’s Pay@Table, Pay@Bar, and SplitBills features are only available where the POS/PMS supports the integration. SplitBills is only available with Tyro’s Pay@Table/Pay@Bar feature.