Have you always dreamed about opening a cafe of your own? You have the decor picked out in your head and know what you could put on the menu to amaze customers. You might be well on your way toward making that dream of starting a cafe business – a reality, but there are still some roadblocks ahead. Set yourself up for success.
Here are five things you need to know before opening a cafe:
1. Get a supplier you can trust.
The equipment you use when starting a cafe business will come in all shapes and sizes. Along with tables, chairs, and large kitchen equipment, you will also need utensils and small items like napkins and gloves. You need to work with a supplier who won’t overcharge you and who is reliable. Shop around to different providers and see what sets them apart. A good place to start is gofoodservice.com, which has a proven track record of working with small business owners and treating restaurants and cafes of all sizes with respect.
2. Look for region-specific business insurance.
This might be the least fun thing to do when opening a cafe, but there’s no escape from it. Every company needs business insurance in the event that an employee or a customer gets hurt. However, not all insurance policies are created equal. Look for an insurance provider who has plans for your specific needs. If you live in a wildfire-prone area, does your plan cover natural disasters? Will it just cover fire damage or also smoke damage? You should ask similar questions if you live in a state where hurricanes hit or a flood zone. Some policies won’t cover your business entirely and you could end up paying out of pocket.
3. Learn the food service guidelines in your area.
Starting a cafe is not all about serving great coffee. One of the most important aspects of food service is health and safety. You are responsible for the safety of your employees, from the protective rubber mats you put down in the kitchen to the stove and griddles they use. Additionally, you need to follow strict food preparation guidelines, like storing milk and other perishable items at certain temperatures and keeping your cafe free of pests.
If you aren’t familiar with these rules, consider taking a course to learn about them. Your local government should be able to provide you with guidelines to follow so you stay compliant and your cafe stays clean.
4. Work with an accountant to create a budget.
Budget is hard for most individuals, but it can be harder when you open a business. You have more expenses that pile up (from the electric bill to insurance to marketing costs) and your income is much less certain.
Work with an accountant to establish what your expected costs will be and then set goals for your profits. They also might be able to help you set reasonable profit margins and look for ways to save money on your production and staffing, without sacrificing the quality of your goods and services.
5. Create a niche for yourself.
If your cafe is going to be successful, you need to have a niche that sets you apart from others in your area. You might think of starting a cafe that carters toa specific neighborhood, creating a spot that is walking-distance for nearby families. You could also create something that offers vegan or gluten-free offerings in an area where those options are hard to find.
Learn what makes you special and why people should love you. This will help you market yourself and bring in curious customers once you open.
Your Dream of Starting a Cafe Can Come True…
The first year that your cafe is open will be exciting and exhausting. It might seem like there are a million things to remember; however, with the right organization and planning, you can thrive and fall in love with your new career.