If you want to maximise the number of customers walking through your doors and get them to return time and time again, then you really need to understand why they are visiting you and what they want from their visit. him! has just spoken to over 1,300 coffee chain customers at Costa Coffee, Caffè Nero, Coffee Republic and Starbucks outlets.

The majority of customers (40%) say they are there to relax or take a break. So you need to make sure you have the right seating and atmosphere for customers to enjoy their refreshment and choose your outlet to get the relaxing break they want.

But you do not want customers hanging around all day without buying another drink or something to eat. If customers have been there a long time then check on them to see if they would like another drink or something to eat. They may just not want to leave their shopping bags or belongings in order to get up and get another drink. Many customers would buy another drink if they were asked by staff.

One-third of coffee chain customers said they were there for a snack between meals. So ensure you have the right snack options, such as confectionery, crisps and muffins.

Seven per cent of customers are there for breakfast do you have the right range of morning goods, such as croissants, muffins and pastries on display? And don’t forget the healthy option, such as prepared fruit salad bowls or single-item fruits for that impulse buy.

Six per cent are there for lunch. If you cannot offer fresh sandwiches, which take more time to prepare, could you offer quality pre-packed sandwiches, pasties or salads? Don’t forget the crisps and soft drinks to go with it. Offer a meal deal 14% of customers say they will be buying more meal deals in the next 12 months due to the recession.

Five per cent are there for an evening meal again make sure that there are fresh sandwiches, pasties or salad bowls available.

Four per cent are at the coffee chain for a treat this is a time for these customers to be indulgent, so make sure you have enough cake and muffins. Eighty-four per cent of customers say they do not have a budget to stick to when visiting a coffee chain, so that is a great opportunity to tempt customers to buy a piece of cake or large hot chocolate.

Just 3% of customers are there to meet with friends or family, but do you incentivise them with offers such as buy any two adult drinks and get a kid’s drink free?

Only 2% of customers are there for work or a business meeting, but the coffee shop can be the perfect place to hold an informal meeting outside peak hours. Do you offer wifi to encourage the lucrative business market into your outlet? Could you also offer local businesses the opportunity to phone ahead and order a round of coffees? And during quieter times of the day, can you offer to deliver their order to them?