As a cafe owner, you have a lot on your plate, including food and coffee orders, staffing, and doing what you can to ensure your coffee shop is a welcoming, clean, and beautiful space for your customers. An additional responsibility is making an effort to accommodate customers with dietary restrictions, especially at a time when these seem to be on the rise. Here are a few easy ways you can accommodate more customers on a daily basis, regardless of their diet:
Offer Plenty of Sugar-Free Syrups
For those customers watching their calories or trying to avoid sugar, sugar-free syrups are a great way for them to enjoy flavored lattes and other beverages without the sugar. Many coffee shops only seem to keep sugar-free vanilla in stock, so if you offer a wider variety of sugar-free syrups your shop will stand out more. In addition to traditional sugar-free syrups which are usually sweetened with artificial sweeteners, be on the lookout for natural alternatives sweetened with agave, honey, or stevia.
Don't Skimp on the Non-Dairy Creamers
Another common dietary restriction is dairy-free, with customers who forgo milk but still want their caffeinated beverages to taste creamy needing special accommodations. Luckily, these days there are plenty of delicious and affordable options for non-dairy creamers. In addition to almond milk, consider offering coconut milk and even hemp milk.
Offer Vegetarian or Vegan Food Options
If your coffee shop offers sandwiches, pastries, or other food options, be sure to include a few vegetarian or even vegan options each day. Vegetarian breakfast burritos, tasty veggie paninis with or without cheese, and vegan muffins are a few easy options to incorporate into your food menu.
Clearly Label Everything
Clearly labeling the options available to those on restricted diets will make life easier for you, your baristas, and your customers. The menus, menu boards, and even your coffee shop website should all list out the various beverage and food options. One easy way to do this is with shorthand identifiers for the modifications, such as a "V" for "vegetarian," "SF" for "sugar-free," etc. Just be sure to have a color-coded key on the bottom of your menu to make identifying the available options as easy as possible for your customers.
By taking the time to accommodate customers with varying dietary preferences and restrictions, you will create a more welcoming coffee shop environment and possibly gain more business as a result.