This is a very tricky question to answer. When deciding to open a game café you have to think what sort of place you want to be working in and what sort of environment you want to make available to your customers.
Some times what I want is not what people want or expect, though!
So the first thing I’ve done is to take a look online and find out what’s out there already and what’s successful. Yes, I have certainly found out what my “competition” is doing so I can improve on the formula. And I feel zero shame admitting it.
Mind you, there aren’t that many games cafes in Valencia, so I won’t be hurting anyone.
One thing I’ve thought often about game cafes when I’ve visited is “this looks too much like someone just got the games here to attract customers, not to make them feel special” and that is *exactly* what I want to avoid when I open La Base Secreta.
So I’ve spent a long, long time thinking with my friend Tony about what we’re going to do and what’s the ethos behind the place, and I can tell you, this is not easy!
Firstly we had to look at the existing business and its clients. Do we want them to stay and keep coming? Well, yes, why not? We recognise that some people won’t feel comfortable when we change the place into something new and different, so we’re prepared to see a drop in the existing client base as new clients, more game-orientated ones, join in.
So what’s the plan?
Well, firstly we’re going to get rid of all the alcohol on display at the moment. Although we’ll serve the odd beer and will have some liqueur for those so inclined to drink in moderation, we don’t want them to take a relevant role or be the reason people come to spend time at the café.
We also want to change the décor and give me a geek themed aspect. I am *incredibly* lucky to have my friend Raul there. He’s an absolutely fantastic artist with a really fervent imagination and he’ll create something amazing. Look at some of his work here.
And on that note, something I’ve always wanted to do has been to empower artists and help them get their wok promoted, so we’ll make available some wall space a couple of times a year so they can exhibit their work. Meanwhile we’ll be exhibiting the works of Wayne England I’ve been buying for the last 15 years. Wayne is a top fellow as well as a top artist, so I am truly excited to have his work on display.
During the first three months we’ll also change and improve the menu. Currently the business has a very typical Spanish selection of dishes. That might sound OK to you, my internationally savvy readers, but for us who’ve been eating the same things all our lives, it sounds less than exotic.
So we are going to engage in some cultural appropriation instead. As well as serving cakes and pastries, we are going to serve Crepes and Galettes.
Although we have an extremely rich cuisine in Spain and I’m fairly good at cooking, the truth is that I absolutely adore French Crepes and Galettes. But there is also a very good business reason for me to want to serve those.
Firstly they’re super quick to prepare. An average crepe can take something like 5 minutes to prepare from start to finish, which means my customers won’t have to wait long for their food.
Secondly they are very cheap to make from scratch, which means I’ll be able to serve food that’s totally hand made in the café and can still keep a good level of profitability to keep going.
Also, they are extremely versatile. There can be stuffed with sweet or savoury and also adapted for vegetarians and vegans very easily.
And as for drinks… well, we are going to have the traditional tea, coffee and soft drinks you’d expect, that’s for sure. But we’ll also serve a good selection of home-made smoothies and milkshakes.
I suppose with the food and drinks I want to have something that says “you are different, special and very nice and our food will acknowledge and celebrate that” at the same time that we offer something that’s healthier and helps people eat and drink something that they wouldn’t otherwise.
And that’s the plan.
So what about you? What’s your plan?
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