The Manual

The Benefits of Product Niche

Pick one thing you want to be known for then exceed customer expectations.

Two businesses recently opened up on my street in Redfern. The first one is a cafe serving the usual things you’d expect. Coffees, soup, croissants, cakes, muffins, sandwiches — the lot. The other is a bagel shop serving New York style bagels, pretzels homemade sweets and coffee.

So two hospitality businesses but with a key difference between them.

The bagel shop, which was launched by a mother and daughter duo opened about three weeks ago, luring an impressive opening crowd and a good amount of patronage since then too. When I asked the owner what she credited the consistent patronage to and she quickly responded, 'the product!'

Being a bit of a coffee snob I wanted to suss out the espresso first. I asked one of founders how the opening has panned out so far and she enthusiastically said it was going really well.

Now this particular shop location has had a few businesses over the years. It has steady foot traffic but it’s certainly not the numbers of the busier main street just 100m away. There’s been two cafes occupying the site since I moved to the area but neither of them did particularly well. 

The big difference is the bagel shop charges a good price for just a premium product category. They do one thing really well — New York style bagels and sweets, while the cafe up the road struggles to get more than one customer at a time during the peak periods with an ever growing number of menu items.

On top of delivering a product that customers appear to be loving, the bagel duo have managed to achieve a very high quality brand image on social with great photography and a variety of regular content. They’ve amassed 2,300 Instagram followers in the first 3 weeks, compared with the other business’ 16 followers and one post.

Pick one thing you want to be known for then deliver on — or exceed customer expectations. And don’t be afraid to charge what your product (or service) is worth. It's not a strategy that will work for every business, this generally is more applicable to digital businesses — but narrowing your niche can help you focus on a great customer experience and hopefully business success.