“It almost took us a year to build what Candide is today. We really did everything in cooperation with our customers.” Mickael, co-owner, tells us how their customers contributed to the evolution of the neighborhood coffee shop.
Mickael, co-owner of Candide Café
Describe a situation where customer feedback was of the upmost importance
We got a lot of feedback because of the way we put Candide together: with people from the neighborhood, all our regulars. We’re really attentive when someone says it would be nice to do something this way or that way. We don’t do absolutely everything we’re told, but when the comments kept coming back one, two, three times, we really took them into account. We said to ourselves “wait”, we tried to analyze everything, to really pay attention to everything people were telling us.
At one point, all of our pastries and the way the bar was organized were facing the other way, and a customer said, “You should really put it in the other direction, it would be much easier”. Two days later, I changed everything. It’s moments like that where we were really listening to them, and at the same time they’re grateful as well. We received messages like “thank you for existing”. I have to admit it's almost too much, because “thank you for existing” is a lot [laughs], but of course it's great to hear. As an entrepreneur, when you get love messages like that, you can only say “wow, thank you so much!”
"You may be the best barista in the world and have the best coffee, but if your customers don’t come back, you'll have to close down."
How important is your clients’ input?
It goes all the way back to the way we built the Candide business model. We wanted to do something different than what was being done until then in third wave cafés. Yes, we wanted to offer products of the third wave (modern, of good quality and fresh), but we wanted to focus on customer service because we have always been aware that customers are what make a business work. You may be the best barista in the world and have the best coffee, but if your customers don’t come back, you'll have to close down. So we focused on them. Of course, we always did what we wanted to do, and we did it with all our hearts, but at the same time we were very attentive to what people were asking for and we tried to fill in an offer rather than just sell what we liked or sell what we wanted to sell.
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