Pieces of Advice To Consider Before Opening Your First Café

Cardinal Cafe by Lemax, Inc.
Cardinal Café by Lemax, Inc.

Opening a new café is no easy feat, even for experienced business owners. Learn more about what you should know before starting your own café here.

Opening a café is a dream for many foodies and would-be small business owners. It’s the ultimate, idyllic job, one that includes creating a warm, welcoming environment for both friends and customers.

It’s a lovely dream, but there’s a lot more that goes into it than people realize. Hiring, firing, buying supplies, and paying rent on a space are just a few of the issues that come into play, so it’s essential to go into this business ownership with your eyes wide open.

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to prepare. With that in mind, here are some pieces of advice to consider before opening your first café.

Plan From the Top Down

Many people who want to open a café have a set vision in their mind, but the truth is there are a lot of ways to get to your goal. Starting your business should be the most important step, and it should be the first on your list.

There are three possible avenues for opening this type of business:

Purchase an existing café

Buy or open a franchise store

Start your own business from scratch

The third option is the stuff of dreams, but it’s probably the hardest to pull off, especially if your capital is limited. The franchise option gives you a brand and an established way of doing things, as will buying an existing coffee shop, albeit to a lesser extent. If you’ve got the money to buy a café outright, you might want to study the area and see if there is an owner that is considering selling an existing business.

Create Your Business Plan

Whichever option you choose, one of the best pieces of advice to consider before opening your first café is to create a thorough business plan, even if you go the franchise route. At the very least, your plan should include market analysis, customer analysis, scheduling and hours, an operations plan, a financial plan, and a management/employee team. Staffing is difficult enough, and is especially difficult in the current pandemic era and economy.

If that sounds like a lot, that’s because it is, but it’s all necessary. Not creating a thorough business plan is like going on a road trip without a map—skipping steps or parts of the project will get you lost in a hurry.

Cafe with menu board (PHOTO CREDIT: Pexels/pixabay)
Café with menu board (PHOTO CREDIT: Pexels/pixabay).

Know Your Location

One of the particulars of opening a coffee shop is that the right location can make or break you. It’s tempting to pick the most idyllic location, but you need to go where the business is and thoroughly study all the demographics in that area. Make sure there is actually a need at the location you select. If the market is saturated, one of the businesses is not going to survive, and it most likely will be yours. If you study locations comprehensively with needs assessments, the payoff will be worth the extra work.

You also want to consider the features of your location. Can it feature a drive-thru or a walk-up window? The ability to cater to all people, including those who can’t or don’t want to step inside the main business is a plus. Of course, outdoor dining Alfresco is also a big plus. You’ll want an outdoor space that is safe and secure, well-protected for changing weather conditions, generally pleasant, and without hidden hassles.

Coffee beans (PHOTO CREDIT: Ri Butov/pixabay).
Coffee beans (PHOTO CREDIT: Ri Butov/pixabay).

Find a Dependable Wholesale Supplier

One of the most common mistakes new café owners make when establishing their business is working with an unreliable wholesale supplier. Not only does your wholesale supplier affect the prices and delivery of your inventory, but these distributors also play a large role in the quality of your café ingredients.

Therefore, when you’re searching for wholesale baking ingredients, ensure that you work with a supplier you can depend on.

Sure, opening your own café is a dream, but don’t overlook the time and attention that starting these businesses can take. The more prepared you are for future challenges, the better business owner you’ll ultimately be.



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