Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz is on record as saying that he wants Starbucks to become “the third place” in people’s lives; by that he means a place of significance other than home or work. It’s a creepy thing to say out loud, but he makes a good point about the role of cafes in urban communities. How many people use cafes as a surrogate office or lounge room? Which is one of the things I really like about A Minor Place. It’s a great place to just hang out. Isn’t that a big part of what we’re looking for in our local?
If a cafe has any hope of becoming the third place in people’s lives, it’ll need to make us feel comfortable. It’s certainly something I look for in a cafe. I think it’s a big factor in how we come to choose one place over another to become our regular spot.
Sounds obvious I know, but some cafe operators miss this bit. I have friends who live in the same street as one the most progressive cafes in inner Melbourne. A cafe that I consider to offer arguably the best coffee in Melbourne. But they avoid it like that smelly guy in the office avoids deodorant. Why? They just donâ€™t feel comfortable there. The act of sitting in that cafe makes them feel awkward. I suspect deep down, they don’t feel cool enough to go there. They’re right, but that’s beside the point. In the quest to offer a great cafe experience, making people feel any less than totally at ease equals a big fail.
There’s no fear of the same being said of A Minor Place. In fact it gets a big tick in the box labelled comfortable. Kind of feels like hanging out at an old friend’s house. Someone who likes to invite friends over for breakfast on Sunday mornings so that you can talk about what a douche Tony Abbott is over a cafe latte.
That’s not to say that all A Minor Places offers is a relaxed atmosphere. I could stay home for that. No, the food delivers on its tasty promise, as does the coffee. So if you want a place that is chilled and welcoming and goes about its business discreetly but does it oh so well, A Minor Place could be for you.