Church and cafes – a Heavenly match

As the independent owner of a cafe, maybe you’re finding it difficult to compete with nearby rival powerhouses such Starbucks or Cafe Nero for a variety of reasons. But have you ever considered your opening hours as a valid weapon in your marketing arsenal?

For the most part, coffee-chains are regulated and uniform in their opening hours and have strict guidelines (i.e. “No, you’re not allowed”) regarding groups meeting on the premises after-hours. You, however, as an independent are not stifled by such limitations and should be using this to your advantage.

If where you live is anywhere like Purley, then hopefully you’ll have a robust church scene that is active – or wants to be active – in the community. Occasionally these churches will want to meet outside of their hallowed inner-sanctums, and more often than not this meeting will be mid-week and after conventional opening hours.

Why not open up your cafe to after-hours church meetings?

And if no church has approached you, then go and offer your premises to the local church! Tell them that you’re happy to let them have meetings in your coffee-house. You never know, maybe you’re the answer to their prayers! 😉


About jonathanrose

Raconteur. Intellectual. Showerman.
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9 Responses to Church and cafes – a Heavenly match

  1. Jon Butler says:

    Well interesting story – in 2004/05 I ran an Alpha course on a Monday evening in an independent coffee shop/cafe. The big plus was that it was only a few doors along the street from our church building.
    Though I should explain the coffee shop, come internet cafe, had just been bought by our church Pastor and his wife. They owned it for a few years using the profits to support the building of an orphanage in Uganda, that our church was partnered with.
    This cafe, renamed Jamocha, provided a great venue for relaxed church social events. They don’t own the coffee shop anymore but they sold it to their neighbour so our church still has a good presence in their most days – usually for lunch and drinks by the staff. Also a great spot for pastoral meetings 🙂
    Good post Jonny! Let’s get out there drinking coffee and taking Jesus with us.

  2. Grammar pedant says:

    it’s “you’re” not “your”…I’d expect a higher standard from Jonathan Rose MA, BA

  3. Cat says:

    Love this post.
    Plymouth CU is using “The Americano” – for student Alpha. Half price on drinks. Good location and people hearing the Gospel. 🙂

  4. Jon Butler says:

    Also I just remembered a great coffee shop in Fareham, Hampshire, called Tino’s Coffee House. It’s in the town centre and is the groundfloor shop front to Fareham Community Church.
    It’s owned and run by a member of the church and is used by the church as a great function place. But also their cake and coffee are incredible. What a great way to get people to know their local church, without even realising it.
    Check out

    • jonathanrose says:

      JB – thank you for your rich contribution to this comments thread and for the examples.

      Seems like the church and cafe amalgamation is quite routine in some places. I just hope other churches catch on to its benefits 🙂

  5. Mike Ratliff says:

    Good thought on how to partner with business…in my last church, we used all sorts of restaurants as venues for small groups. It not only provides a more seeker-friendly setting, but it also provides an opportunity for witness. A number of times I was asked why all these middle schoolers got up to have breakfast before school, and why we were praying. #dmingml

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