Owning a café is a long-time dream of many people and understandably so. Cafés are more than just a place to have a cup of coffee. They are real social hubs, with their unique atmosphere, charming scents, and relaxed but dynamic vibe at the same time. Starting a business in a sector as dynamic as the food and drink industry is by no means easy, though. Before you can enjoy the chatter of people and clinking of coffee cups, there’s a lot to figure out. If you think you’re ready, here is how to open a café.
Getting the basics down
Opening a café is not cheap. That said, you need to get your finances in order, above all. Will you start your business from scratch? It will likely take years before you become profitable. Do you plan on buying an already existing business from someone? It might be difficult to find just the right one. Or are you purchasing a franchise? Make sure you familiarise yourself with the pros and cons of each of these options. Once you know exactly what you want, you can start acquiring the necessary licenses and figuring out your business plan.
Pick the right location
Picking the location for your café is going to be one of the first and most crucial steps in your journey. When browsing real estate, keep in mind that this decision is going to determine your customer base. Finding a location that is visible and has enough foot traffic is important. However, these locations are also the most expensive. Therefore, do a lot of research and try to find a viable middle ground. Keep local competition in mind, too.
Create the right atmosphere
Once you have found the right location, it is time to make your dreams come true. Picking the concept you want to go for is one of the most fun parts of starting a café business. The atmosphere of a coffee shop is also one of the priorities the customers have. So, make it cozy and comfortable with your interior design, but don’t make it generic. There are so many interesting concepts to incorporate that you can truly make your café have its own personality.
Mind the outdoor seating
Hopefully, you were able to find a location that allows for outdoor seating as well. People enjoy spending time outdoors, but outdoor seating has become ever so important when indoor gathering restrictions continue to persist in some countries. So, make sure you create a pleasant outdoor space for the warmer part of the year. Add comfortable seating, and make sure your customers are shielded from the sun with a practical wave shade.
Get all the equipment
Now, it is time to focus on the most important aspect of a café business: the coffee itself. Starting a café is expensive partly because of all the equipment you will need to acquire. The list is quite long, so it’s a good idea to look for vendors who will offer you a discount for a large purchase. You can also consider buying some equipment used, which can save you a lot of money. However, be careful and test the machine before completing your purchase.
No one can make it alone, nor should you try. Making sure that your café will live up to your customer base’s expectations and you’ll always be able to serve quality will largely depend on the people you choose to work with. First of all, customer service is everything in the hospitality industry, so make sure you employ trained baristas who will be able to make delicious drinks. Being able to serve delicious coffees will also depend on choosing the right suppliers – ask around, go to trade shows, and experiment a bit. Make sure you cater to those who love specialty drinks too to win their favor and create a loyal customer base.
When all is said and done, all that’s left is: getting the word out. Let people know that there is a new café in town with a special offer and let the results of your hard work charm them. Good luck!