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The Watertower Cafe
Problem & Solution
Problem Worth Solving
The Sweet Auborn District in Atlanta Georgia is in need of a cafe that serves the residents and people that work in the area. The population is growing and the places where people can get a meal are over crowded. The cafe that was serving the function, Cafe Apres/Diem moved out of the area leaving a opening.
The Watertower concept is built upon the success stories of Atlanta’s many casual dining and coffeehouse venues. Located in the Sweet Auburn District of Atlanta adjacent to the Studioplex on Auburn residential loft development, The Watertower will provide accessible and affordable high quality food, coffee-based products, and entertainment to the thousands of residents and hotel visitors located within a five-mile radius. In time, The Watertower will establish itself as a "destination" of choice to the many residents of the greater Atlanta metropolitan area, as well as numerous out-of-town visitors.
The establishment will provide a "complete, high-quality" evening experience for those searching for something that is rapidly becoming popular among Atlanta diners. Not only will patrons be able to dine on "comfort" food based upon time honored recipes from the world over, they will do so in a facility containing ample patio space for a favorite pastime of Atlanta’s residents: alfresco dining. Patrons will also have the option of enjoying coffee, desserts, and live entertainment in The Watertower’s coffeehouse or, a relaxed game of bocci in the gardens located adjacent to the patio space.
The cafe’s aim is simple. It will provide a completely sophisticated, sensual, yet casual dining and/or coffeehouse experience for the many Atlantans and visitors who frequent the city’s casual dining spots and entertainment venues. It will be an affordable venture for patrons, one that will encourage them to return on many occasions. The menu will feature hearty fare of the type that is frequently out of the reach of the typical young professional…out of reach because time frequently prevents her/him from cooking hearty meals like those featured on our menu.
Finally, and quite significantly, The Watertower will provide a much needed neighborhood-based retail food operation that is currently unavailable to the southern end of Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward neighborhood. Not only is it projected that the business will generate 21 new jobs, the partnership responsible for creating The Watertower will generate additional revenue specifically dedicated to assisting the Historic District Development Corporation in its efforts to bring affordable housing, new jobs, and commercial activity to the Old Fourth Ward.
Market Size & Segments
The "Market Opportunity Analysis for Residential and Commercial Uses along the Auburn Avenue Corridor," written by Robert Charles Lesser & Co., makes the following points about food retail for The Watertower at the Studioplex on Auburn site:
Studioplex is in proximity to new and existing residences, including the affluent, and immediately adjacent Inman Park neighborhood; a restaurant would be a destination space within the neighborhood.
A restaurant/coffeehouse would provide one of the best food and beverage opportunities for the more than 500,000 annual visitors to the Martin Luther King Historic District.
Location is close to employment centers or within retail corridor.
Studioplex patrons and residents will provide primary support; secondary support will come from area residents and hotel visitors/conventioneers.
Cross-selling opportunities exist with coffee beverages and magazines.
The coffee shop and the magazines sold there will be positioned to fill a niche demand for people interested in art, architecture, design photography, and home and garden pursuits.
Target market audience is a mix of Studioplex residents, artists, patrons, intown residents, downtown hotel visitors/conventioneers, and workers.
The immediate market area is within a four-mile radius of The Watertower and Studioplex and includes the neighborhoods of Sweet Auburn, Fairlie Poplar, Downtown, Grant Park, Inman Park, Poncey Highlands, Virginia Highland, Little Five Points, Lake Claire, Midtown, East Atlanta, Candler Park, Morningside, Cabbagetown, Druid Hills, and adjacent neighborhoods.
Target Market Segment Strategy
The Watertower will appeal to urban professionals residing in the targeted intown neighborhoods, the many downtown hotel visitors/conventioneers, and workers who desire a sophisticated yet casual eating, coffeehouse entertainment experience. The business will also meet an under-served need for a pedestrian-friendly dining/coffeehouse establishment for the numerous residents in the area, particularly newcomers to the immediate area.
Members of this market segment dine out frequently, approximately three times or more per week. The market segment is largely made up of singles between the ages of 25 and 40, married couples in the same age bracket without children, graduate and professional students attending area universities, tourists, and conventioneers.
Current alternatives to the Watertown Cafe:
Loca Luna: Located in the heart of Midtown, this establishment features a Latin house band which is often a group of four Brazilian musicians. The menu is primarily a Spanish tapas style menu with other entree offerings. The venue also features a small dance floor.
Yin Yang Cafe: Located on Spring Street, just north of Atlanta’s landmark Varsity restaurant, the club features a limited menu and a regular offering of acid jazz, hip-hop, and R&B acts.
Kaya: A bistro and large scale nightclub located on Peachtree Street in Midtown, Kaya boasts an impressive array of entertainment, from Latin music, to hip-hop, disco, and live bands. The restaurant is located on the Peachtree Street side of the club. In the evening, the restaurant generally features a dj or a live band, while the large club portion in the rear of the establishment features a large dance floor and a dj.
Cosmopolitan: Cosmopolitan is located in a converted house in Midtown. It is a very small venue featuring a casual-upscale dining menu. The club is converted to a cocktail bar/nightclub in the evening with a small dance floor. It has no designated parking.
The Somber Reptile: Located in downtown Atlanta on Marietta Street, the club features live rock bands and a cajun oriented menu. The clientele is growing steadily as the club’s reputation grows. It offers an alternative to the traditional Atlanta nightlife scene.
Cafe/Apres Diem: Cafe Diem, the first coffeehouse/restaurant to be located south of Ponce De Leon Avenue on the northeast side of Atlanta, has enjoyed extraordinary success. Formerly located on Highland Avenue, the business recently (and reluctantly) located to a strip mall in midtown after a lengthy dispute with its former landlord. It’s departure from the immediate area provides an extraordinary opportunity for The Watertower to capitalize on an even greater unmet need for a casual restaurant/coffeehouse experience.
Highland Bagel/Caribou Coffee: Located on North Highland Avenue, this is a traditional corporate coffeehouse which provides morning coffee and sandwich service. The owners are currently expanding to provide evening service.
The Watertower maintains a competitive edge in several significant areas:
- The facility’s location puts it into close proximity to substantial populations of affluent Atlantans.
- The owner, a 16-year-resident of Atlanta, was educated in and works professionally in northeast Atlanta. His early work experience included a substantial period working within a casual/upscale restaurant in the mid-to-late 1980s in Virginia Highland. As the Dean of Students at Emory University School of Law, he has conferred over 1,300 law degrees during his tenure, most of them have remained in the Atlanta area. His position at Emory also required him to manage significant catering budgets. The owner, through his business, academic, and community activities, maintains a substantial Atlanta-based network of professionals.
- The facility’s construction will easily allow for flexible dining/coffeehouse/entertainment options making it attractive to numerous populations.
- The facility’s location in an Empowerment Zone and local Enterprise Zone provides significant tax advantages.
Keys to Success
Keys to Success
The keys to success in this business are:
- Product quality: We think our customers will appreciate quality: Food, coffee-based beverages, and entertainment are our products. They must be of the high quality and value. We buy they pay, we will watch inventory and make sure that it turns over before the food goes bad.
- Service: Our patrons are paying to have a good time. Their experience will suffer if service is not of the highest caliber. Each member of the staff will be courteous, efficient, and attentive. These will be measured by word of mouth, return customers, reviews on Facebook and Twitter. We will be very aware of what is being said and will be making constant changes to make sure our customers know they are being heard.
- Marketing: We will need to target our audience early and often. While the business is located in a central and accessible location, many people will have to be re-introduced to the neighborhood surrounding the Martin Luther King National Historic Site and Auburn Avenue. This will be measured by the number of business lunch reservations, have a delivery service, and Social Media will run a campaign allowing them to get a discount if they use certain codes the first time. Credit card reciepts will keep track of our return customers.
- Management: Proper inventory, employee management, and quality control is central to our business. We will keep a very close eye on our business operations so that we can keep our prices competitive