Growing a Laneway Café/Bar Culture– 10 Reasons to take up the Opportunity
Melbourne has had it sorted for years, but some of our capital and regional cities are just waking up to how valuable disused laneways can be for a vibrant cafe/bar culture..... once given a chance.
Planners and developers are hopping on board to revive dormant alleys and create brand new laneways, encouraging a rich cultural mix of cafes and small-space eateries, some of which morph into night time bars and entertainment venues.
So what are some reasons for café and bar owners to take up the opportunity?
- Small spaces are successful on a human scale.
Laneways are unique in that they offer the opportunity for great human scale experiences. They’re sociable spaces which are a retreat for people from the rush of the city.
- When set up, the laneway café/bar can easily serve as a local hub and meeting place for passers-by, friends to gather or local business operators to network day and night. It can serve all areas of the community.
- With several cafes and bars built in a laneway, foot traffic takes a lift in the entire area which can only help create a vibrant rise in overall business.
- Laneway café/bar culture doesn’t necessarily cost the earth to set up.
Outdoors can merge with indoors so heavy expenses in building walls, ceilings and seating areas can be contained. Sometimes the cost of outdoor spaces is even shared by operators.
- The small café/bar may only be 30 square metres or less, so fitting storage for things like dry stock and essential items like paper cups or coffee beans is a big issue.
Designing the space with function as well as good looks is a high priority but achievable.
- In business terms, close competition in a small area makes operators try harder and be more creative, which helps the entire hospitality industry.
It forces people to be better at knowing and servicing their customers.
- Liquor licences are currently much cheaper for small bars which means that opening one is now easier on the pocket.
- In terms of managing security and alcohol consumption, the smaller footprint makes it easier for business operators to manage such important customer control issues.
- Laneway cafe/bar culture provides a great opportunity for live music, "street" activities and performances to an intimate and focused audience.
- Many state and local governments are getting right behind the project and offering relaxations and incentives to business operators.
So many good reasons for operators to get on board and enrich what is already emerging as a vibrant laneway cafe/bar culture.