While they did suffer a lot during the pandemic, cafés are starting to welcome guests who are starving for their unique atmosphere and great coffee. Today, it’s impossible to find a street in a big city without a place where residents and visitors can buy quality coffee and food. If you want to get a piece of that profit as well, here are a few steps you need to take to start your café:
Come up with a vision
If owning a café has been your lifelong dream, you probably know what you want it to look like, but just to be sure, write down your business goals and what kind of emotions you want to evoke in your guests. When you have your vision and goals in place, you’ll quickly settle on a name, décor, menu, staff etc. Before you open your doors to customers, it’s important to remember that you can never please everyone, but you can satisfy your target audience.
Pick a location
Any brick-and-mortar business strongly depends on its location, so before you sign any leases, spend some time in the neighborhood and notice the crowd. Is there enough foot traffic? Is there ample parking? Can your café be seen from the street? What kind of demographic you can expect to serve? It will all dictate whether you can sign the lease or continue searching for a better location that will attract more people to your doors.
Choose the design
In order to draw people in and motivate them to return, it’s crucial to design a café that fits your customers’ vibes. If you want to create a good concept, make sure to keep your target audience in mind and decide on a modern, retro, eco-friendly, family-friendly or any other design. Pay special attention to furniture and choose something flexible and classic. For instance, if you opt for beloved Bentwood chairs, you can design many themes around them and create different levels of comfort and sophistication. They are also easy to move or paint over, so you can do regular renovations without having to invest in new furniture every time.
Find reliable partners
No matter what kind of business you have, it’s crucial to work with reliable and fair suppliers. For cafés, supplies you will most likely need are coffee, milk, sweeteners, fresh produce, baked goods, etc. And of course, you need serving materials like cups, napkins, spoons, pots, coffee makers, refrigerators—the list goes on. When you create a list of necessities, you can start your search for a reliable supplier who will be there for you every time you need something.
Create a fitting menu
Every café will most likely serve coffee, but the rest of your menu should reflect the vibe and theme of your business. When creating your menu, consider the dishes, their names, ingredients, as well as colors, fonts and pricing. Of course, come up with a signature dish or drink that will attract customers from afar. And don’t hesitate to keep it simple—10 to 12 balanced and well-thought-out options are all you need. When it comes to pricing, try to be fair in this economy and place your prices at no more than 35% of the retail price of ingredients.
When hiring people, it’s nice to have someone experienced by your side, but the attitude and vibe of your staff are much more important. It’s possible to learn skills quickly, but it’s hard to find people who fit your business culture and have the right spirit for the job.
If you follow the tips mentioned above, your café will be up and running in no time. Not only will you be open, but working and making profits while also building a brand for yourself. Start small and grow your business until you can call yourself a real entrepreneur!