The thought of opening and running your own cafe may be something that you have always dreamed of. Now that you’ve decided to make your dreams a reality, you are likely to be prepared for the work ahead of you. Opening any type of business can have its challenges, and cafes are no different.
To help you on your way, you can find a few tips below that should make the process easier:
Know Who Your Competition is
There are over 1,030,000 restaurants and coffee shops in the United States alone. If you are considering opening a cafe you can expect to have some competition. This is where knowing who your competition is can prove to be very helpful.
It is your job to offer something different to potential customers. Offer them something that they cannot find elsewhere. Additionally, try to determine why any local cafes ended up closing down. Did they close down due to lack of trade, too much competition, or something else? When you know the reasons why you can work to avoid the same happening to you.
Create a Business Plan
Unless you have sufficient funds to open a cafe, you’ll need to create a business plan. Potential investors such as the bank need to know how you’re going to make a profit and pay them back.
You’ll need to list where you will see your business in 3-5 years, and be realistic about it. Additionally, you will need to add how you’re going to succeed.
You may also need to add information about your sales and marketing plans, business insurance, the potential location of your cafe, and customer demographics. You’ll also need to add information about how you’re going to make ends meet while also paying your staff. Business plans can be very thorough, but creating them can help you to get an idea as to how you can successfully run your business.
Get The Right Licenses and Permits
A lot of people fail to realize that they need the right licenses and permits to open a cafe. You will need to ensure that you can operate your business legally. Depending on where you live you could need multiple licenses. You may need to apply for local, state, and federal licenses.
As you plan to be serving food, you will need to apply for more permits than businesses that don’t serve food. If you plan to serve alcohol, you will also need to have a liquor license.
When it comes to hiring people to work for you, you will need an employer identification number. We’ve already touched on the subject of business insurance, but this isn’t the only type of insurance that you’ll need. You may also need to have worker’s compensation insurance and commercial property insurance.
While this may seem like a lot of work, once you have the permits, you should almost be ready to get up and running.
Finding a Supplier
Finding a supplier can often be easier said than done. Be sure to give yourself enough time to work out what ingredients you’ll need, and what containers and utensils you’ll need. Don’t forget, you will need at least one stove to cook the food on and a place to store it.
Work out how much you need to spend on setting up your cafe and where you’re going to source your supplies from. Look for some local companies who may be willing to help. If you’re not sure where to start, ask other business owners as they can help you.
Make sure you know the type of meals you want to prepare. As soon as you’ve worked it out, you can start to order the food that you need.
Creating Your Cafe
The first time that you considered opening a cafe, chances are you envisioned people enjoying the food that you prepared. It’s also likely that you were aware of the hard work that goes into setting up and running a cafe.
As soon as you have all of the licenses and funding that you need, you can start getting to work. You can now begin to think about what your cafe will look like (if you haven’t already done so), and how many tables there will be.
How long are you going to be open? Will you open every day or stay closed on Sundays? Perhaps you’ll invite small local groups to hold meetings and book clubs in your cafe. The choice is yours.
When it comes to opening your own cafe, you will need to be prepared to do a lot of work. Chances are you may not break even until you’ve been trading for a year. However, with a lot of work and determination, you could soon find that opening a cafe is the best thing you’ve ever done.