How to Start a Cafe (and Why?)

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Start a Cafe

If you’re looking for a career change that’s exciting and lucrative, you should consider opening a cafe.

We all love spending time in cafes, each for different reasons. They are where students study, where remote workers build a digital business, where friends catch up, and where soulmates find each other.

Does that sound convincing enough? This is a challenging business to start and has a lot of hurdles to cross. 

But if you love a challenge, this guide will show you how to start a cafe. 

Let’s start the research process.

Researching the Cafe Business

Before you think about opening a cafe, you need to learn how to run a cafe. Spend time in your favorite cafes and see if you can speak to the owner. Make sure you go to smaller cafes and avoid franchised cafes. Franchised cafes are run in a similar fashion and won’t help with opening your own cafe.

The owners should tell you how they started their cafe. They’ll also teach you about how they manage their daily operations.

You want to learn how they attract their customers. You want to learn how they handle customer service.

You must also learn about the products they sell. Many coffee shops like to have a variety of coffee from different parts of the world. Others like to keep it simple with just a few items. Most coffee shops also offer snacks and pastries along with coffee. Others will offer full meals and breakfast items to their customers.

Based on your research you can decide which route is best for your cafe. You want to consider how you can differentiate yourself, but also do something feasible. 

Create Your Business Plan

Once you’ve completed your research, you’ve got to write your business plan. This is where you’ll outline the details of how to start your cafe.

Start with estimating how much money you’ll need to start the cafe. You want to consider how much you’ll need to lease the space. You’ll want to estimate how much you’ll need to buy equipment, food, and beverages, furniture, hire staff, etc.

You want to plan how many staff members you wish to initially hire. You have to plan how you’ll market the cafe before it opens. Do you have any specific plans for opening day? How many customers do you wish to attract for opening day?

Your business plan needs to outline how you’ll manage the challenges of your company. You want to consider how you’ll handle any potential financial losses. 

One of the best ways to create an effective business plan is to hire a business attorney. They can help you draft the plan and inform you of any aspect of running a business you’ve not thought about.

Get Your Equipment

Once you’ve drafted your business plan, your first purchase should be of your equipment. Make sure you choose equipment from well-known brands such as Hoshizaki.  

You will have to look at ice machines, coffee makers, blenders, cooking materials, fridges, a cash register, a payment processor, etc.

Make sure you take the time to research the best models for your equipment. You have to consider that this equipment will get used several times a day. As a result, you want equipment that will last for several years.

The coffee machine you use at home may not be sufficient for your cafe. The blender you make to use smoothies at home may only last six months at your cafe.

This is something you can learn about during your initial research process. When you visit your favorite cafes, you can observe which brands and models they use.

Additional Purchases

Now let’s look at the additional purchases you’ll need for the cafe. Think about the furniture you wish to choose from. You’ll want a few small tables that seat two people. These are great for couples enjoying a coffee together. You can also create a bar and add a few barstools to it. This can work for remote workers or students who want to study on their own.

You might want to buy a few coffee tables to attract larger groups. You can buy a few sofas to surround these coffee tables. 

You also want to think about what else you can buy to make the cafe experience enjoyable. For example, you might want to have a small bookshelf with a few books that your patrons might enjoy. You can also encourage patrons to donate their own books to the cafe.

Many people use cafes to work on their computers. As such, you want to make sure there are adequate outlets to charge laptops. You might even consider installing 2-3 desktop computers that patrons can rent out to use.

You might also want to sell other products through your cafe. You might wish to install a vending machine with a few snacks. You can have another vending machine that sells soda and bottled drinks. 

What’s On The Menu?

What do you wish to include on your cafe’s menu? You have to consider how many varieties of coffee you wish to sell. Will patrons get to choose coffee beans of their choice? Or will there be one standard set of coffee beans that all coffee drinks will have?

You want to write about what foods you’ll offer. You can have breakfast items such as egg and cheese sandwiches. You can also offer croissants in different flavors. You can also offer a variety of different pastries.

To play it safe, start with a small and minimalist menu. As your cafe’s profits increase, you can consider adding more items to the menu. You might find that an extensive menu brings in more customers. Or, you might find that many customers prefer the simplicity of not having to contend with many choices.

That’s How to Start A Cafe

Now that you know how to start a cafe, you are ready to begin your research. Follow the steps in this guide and you’ll have no problem starting a successful cafe. 

Make sure to also have a few people help you along the way. Your staff members are the best persons to bring patrons to your cafe. Invest in great people just as you invest in your equipment.

If you want more great tips on running a business, check out our website.

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