Cafe - The 'Third Place'
By Vishal Ramachandran
“The aromatic smell of a brewing coffee, soft romantic music and a sense of privacy even when surrounded by people at a common place, this is what Cafes are popular for. You go to any such place and you will find different kinds of people sitting at one place and yet getting the sense of having a private enclosure. You could find a young couple talking about nothing and everything, or a married couple trying to steal some ‘us time’ from their normal routine. An artist, sitting alone and exploring his imaginative self, or a corporate professional completing his meeting for the day. Everyone has different reasons to come to the café, but still they are all attracted by a single reason…. Refreshment with the right ambience.
How can people with different purposes in their minds be at one place and still find it worthwhile? Be it the love birds, the married couple, the artist or the corporate guy, everyone likes to spend their time at the cafe and feel content about it. What’s the magic of Cafes in our country?
The reason why cafes have become so popular is simply because they give you the ambience of a ‘my space’ in a public spot. We all enjoy having evening snacks with beverages more than any other meal. The reason is because it gives us the feeling of being relaxed after finishing the whole day's chores. And when you go to such cafes, the lighting, music and the whole setup transforms your mood and you enjoy your time there. Be it two people meeting for the first time, or age old friends catching up after a long time, business deals, relationships and even hard break-ups, the cafes got it covered. And what differentiates the cafes from any other social or public places like pubs, movie theatre, libraries etc. is that both introvert as well as extrovert people can get the sense that they belong there.
The fact that home and workplace have fixed arrangement and ambience, the flexibility of choosing a spot of your choice which gives the vibe of personal space, is the reason why people love going to cafes. This is the reason why big cafe chains like Cafe Coffee Day, Starbucks, Barista, etc. have flagged their presence in the market by providing a “Third place” - a comfortable gathering spot away from Home and Office. And with advancement in technology, the concept of ‘third place’ away from home and office, has taken a different shape with the inclusion of laptop and mobiles. This is the reason that cafes have started providing wifi facility to people so they can stay connected to the social world without any inconvenience. Innovations and careful experimentation in snacks or beverages offered with the right blend of setup and still maintaining that familiar presence is what keep people attracted to these places.
So, be it any small cafe in a local market or a popular joint, it can attract consumers by providing a perfect combination of good coffee, nice music, friendly ambiance and memories to cherish.
By Vishal Ramachandran