If you’re thinking of starting your own business, and you love to cook, then opening your own café could be the ideal business for you. Maybe you love to feed people and make them happy, or you like the idea of giving them a good place to go during the day for great food and excellent coffee. Whatever drives your passion, as long as it is something you’ll enjoy, that’s all part of the process.
However, opening a café is not as simple as finding a location, ensuring you have stock, and opening the door – there is a lot more you’ll need to think about before you have your first customers.
It Will Take Time
Something that is important to remember no matter what type of business you want to open is that nothing is going to be immediately successful overnight. It will take time and patience, and the key is not to open too early before you are absolutely ready for customers. If you do, you’ll destroy any good first impression that you might have wanted to give, and those first impressions could be the beginning, or the end of your business, depending on whether they are positive or negative in nature.
Make sure you have got all the basics in place before you even consider letting people in and serving them. You’ll need to ensure you have picked the right location – foot traffic is hugely important when you are opening a café. You’ll also need to calculate your costs so you know what to charge people in order to make a profit. Ideally, you’ll have a business plan in place too.
The décor and furniture must also be right. What kind of café are you planning on opening? A cute, traditional place that looks vintage and retro, or something more modern? Do you want a 50’s style diner or something more in keeping with today’s tastes? Have all this ready and be sure you’re not missing anything before you open and you’ll make a much more positive impact.
The Safety Issue
Food safety is a massively important issue to deal with when you choose to open a café. There are people who have severe allergies (or even mild ones) who may want to buy from you, and you need to ensure that they are going to be safe when doing so. This can be a complicated area, so it is best to educate yourself on all the safety measures you must take.
It’s not just dangers regarding the food, being aware of what to do in the event of natural disasters or when criminals strike is just as important to know when you are running a public service. Therefore, it could also be extremely useful to enroll in an online safety degree program so you know what kinds of dangers you might have to come up against.
If you can ensure – as far as possible – that your café is safe for everyone to enjoy, and you make it your business to tell people this, you’ll have more customers. If anyone is unsure then they may just bypass you altogether rather than run the risk, so it pays to advertise that you know what you are doing when it comes to public safety.
Can You Do It Alone?
Just because you are a competent home baker and you are able to rustle up a great pot of coffee in minutes, that doesn’t mean that you will necessarily be able to transfer those skills to a bustling café environment. You may need to think about hiring other people to help you. This can be hard at the start when you don’t have much money, but it is certainly an investment worth thinking about. If you have staff on hand to help you, your customers will be served better and they will want to come back. If you are on your own and they have to wait a long time and don’t get the service they were expecting, they may never come back at all, and, worse, they may tell others of their bad experience. This could ruin your reputation.
You also need to think about your strengths and weaknesses. Are you good at numbers, for example? If not, you are going to need the help of an accountant. Think about all the aspects of the business of running a café that you need to deal with, and determine what you can do and what you’ll need to outsource. This will not only help you budget but will get things running smoothly from the start.
What Are The Profits?
It’s crucial to know what your profits are going to be (at least a projection of them) when you start a business, and the café business is no different. There will be many costs associated with what you are doing, and you need to consider them all when working out your figures. There will be rent and taxes, of course, and possibly permits depending on where you are opening your café. Then there is the charge for the food, drink, and ingredients. Electric, gas, and water need to be accounted for, as does your phone line and internet. Don’t forget to pay yourself (and maybe others); those salaries need to be entered into your budget spreadsheet.
Once you know this, you will know how much profit you can make. Is it enough? If not, what can you do to improve it? You will either need to save money on purchases or raise your costs and if you do the latter will you be competitive?
It may be that the figures work out fine for you, but if not then you may need to come up with another plan. Running a café can be profitable as long as they are in the right location selling the right product to the right people.
Do You Have Experience?
If you have never worked in a café before then it is worth doing so to get some experience. They can be very fast-paced, and this can be a demanding job – if you have experience then you will know what to expect rather than jumping in and trying to keep up with everything that is going on around you.
You can also pick up plenty of tips and find out what works and what doesn’t before you go ahead and open your own café. This kind of information can be invaluable and really help you to avoid potentially devastating pitfalls.