The Survey of Library Cafes

  • July 2012
  • -
  • Primary Research Group
  • -
  • 78 pages

This 78-page report examines the food service operations of 29 academic and public libraries, with over 175 tables tracking sales tendencies, revenues, and other benchmarking statistics of library cafes, restaurants, and food carts. The report investigates how the library's food service operations are run, citing total cost of salaries, seasonal hours of the cafe, and the library's overall satisfaction. Also included are participants' written responses detailing the cafe's best- and worst-selling products, as well as advice to peers concerning the marketing, development, and management of the library cafe. Has opening a cafe in the library led to an increase in the number of library visitors? Approximately what percentage of total revenue is accounted for by sales of coffee, bagels, sandwiches, and a variety of other foods? Which types of foods generate the most income? The answer to these questions and more will help end users evaluate and assess the library cafe.

Just a few of the many findings from this report are:

-For half of the public libraries surveyed, the library itself runs the cafe, as compared to just 26.32 percent of academic libraries
-53.85 percent of all survey participants say the library cafe has been successful in increasing the number of patrons who visit the library
-The mean total annual cost of salaries of the cafe employees is $31,528
-37.5 percent of those libraries with less than 50,000 annual visitors say the cafe also caters library functions, while just 25 percent of libraries with 500,000 or more annual visitors say the same
-A mean of 35.89 percent of the total revenues of the library cafes in the sample is accounted for by the sales of coffee
-Cafes in academic libraries have, on average, larger seating capacities than those in public libraries, with means of 37.07 and 24.17, respectively
-Just 13.79 percent of libraries in the sample have mobile carts to sell food
-participants say that "general snacks" generate the most income for the library food service operations, more than breakfast, lunch, or dinner meals
-53.85 percent of all survey participants say the library cafe has been successful in increasing the number of patrons who visit the library77.27 percent of.


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