Imagine unperturbed Suva City on a Saturday morning. The sunrise hues combined with the aromatic smell of coffee beans at the most recently opened coffee joint enticed me whilst I was capturing memoirs on my Iphone.
One of the very few coffee joints which opens its doors daily from 6am, the Coffee Hub Suva is the newest addition to the chain of cafes located within a walking distance vicinity in Central Suva. Caffeine aficionados clearly have a wider variety of options with the influx of café outlets in Central Suva.
As you stroll along downtown Suva from Pier Street on Renwick Road to Thomson Street and further along Victoria Parade, there is an array of cafés ranging from the Lazy Beans Café, Café Latte, Mana Coffee, Lava Café, Café Noir and Pat’s Café on Butt Street to name a few.
Whilst some of the recent outlets in downtown Suva have opened within a span of 3 months, there are the signature cafe joints such as the Republic of Cappucino (ROC) Café, Moments Café, The Coffee Bean Cafe, Mana Coffee on Selbourne Street, The Farmers Daughter and others which have continued to maintain its loyal customer base.
The question lingering on everyone’s minds is: What is the rationale behind the choice of visiting a particular café? Is it the delicious aroma of the coffee beans, the convenience of the location, the perfect meeting location, the coffee art, the reviews on social media, the ambiance or simply visiting for a mere social media post? My focus for this edition is on “café culture” rather than “coffee culture”.
The word culture is associated with socializing and interacting.
The coffee culture has evolved from the simple love for coffee to more of social interaction and networking.
Similarly, in most countries, the High-Tea culture is equally trending. Whilst I love my lattes, I equally fancy my cup of tea. In my opinion, cafés have become more like a home away from home with a purpose to inject life into the brick-and-mortar structures.
The cozy and homey feel with experimentation of colors, wall decors and plants hanging from the ceilings, garden concept etc has contributed to the evolution of the café culture in Suva. A common trait for attracting clienteles in Fiji has been the move towards a more boutique feel with warm interiors, surrealist art without losing the authentic feel.
This new wave of creating a coffee shop-cumboutique feel is rapidly trending.
Post the pandemic and with the move towards virtual coworking spaces, digital nomads such as myself have started pursuing communal workspaces and therefore cafes are the perfect option to enhance productivity.
In my opinion, creating that positive culture for both employees and customers by café owners and finding that perfect balance is a rarity in Fiji. The clientele post pandemic is craving both connection and convenience and the combination seems to be amiss.
Being creative in attracting and maintaining customer loyalty requires innovation. Even if customer loyalty schemes exist, they are rarely promoted upfront as there is a disconnect in the interpersonal engagement between staff and customers.
Usually in the café business, offering a service means providing people with something they need.
In contrast, the Latin phrase hospitality is the mere art of entertaining guests. Whilst the former comprises of offering the minimum delivery, the latter encompasses going above and beyond to provide the customer you’re serving a reason to keep maintain a loyalty in recurring visits.
Let us know what is your favourite café trending in Central Suva and what is the rationale behind your choice? •
AVANEESH RAMAN is the content curator of blog The A Connection – https://theaconnection. blogspot.com/. The views expressed in this article are his and may not necessarily be shared by this newspaper. For more log on to www.fijitimes.com