Opening a new café: where should you start?

Ok, the first thing you should know: it’s a lot of work!!! Running a cafe is a business with daily challenges and a lot of dedication. But it’s also amazing when you are able to see it working, that your customers are satisfied and your employees are growing both personally and professionally.

You don’t necessary have to be passionate for coffee, but you need to be creative and passionate for offering a great customer service.

What is the purpose of your business? Why you are doing it for? Are you just buying yourself a job? or are you using this business opportunity as based to achieve a long term goal? 

At your cafe people can have delicious meals, interesting conversations, unforgettable moments. It is not just a place to have a coffee, you can create a whole experience! So yeah, work hard and it will be worthy.

Before you open your dream Cafe, you need to begin with planning your first move towards acquisition. Start with making a business plan for your cafe.

And where do you start your business plan?

It’s time to put your dreams on to paper.

This step is essential for any new business. When you organize your plans, they can essentially become a business strategy. THIS is the moment to think critically about all aspects of your cafe and how to make both your concept and your ideas actionable.

Begin by asking a questions, A LOT of questions!

Such as:

– Why do you want to open a café? (This is what will keep you going when you face obstacles);

– What can you offer that is going to be different from your competitors? (There are lots of cafes in the market, but if you have a business differential you will have competitive advantage);

– Who is your target public? (Design your business with specific customers in mind);

– Think about prices: what is your market elasticity? (Consider your target public and also the demographics of the area: what is an attractive price range for your products?);

– How much money will you need to begin with? How much money do you already have?

– Think ahead: plan and make a projection for the first year. How about the next three years? How about ten years? Write everything down, create spreadsheets, presentations! Whatever is easier for you to visualize the future of your business.

– Create and attractive menu: what will be your flagship products? What can you bring as original creations?

– What are your strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats? This is called a S.W.O.T Analysis and can help you predict possible problems and also find good courses of action for your business.


Well, that´s not all! As I said before, it’s a lot of questions really.

There are many areas of concern for a cafe business to be able to function in the most effective way. You have to define your and from there carry out planning by areas of interest, such as purchasing, products, marketing strategy, human relations, operations plan and financials.

If you are knew to this than it´s good to talk it through with your accountant to get some financial strategies.

And why is this profound planning is necessary and essential? Because it is the foundation of your business and how it will be managed on a daily basis, your plan should be a strategy that intrinsically encompasses all areas.

What is important to define?

Here are some particularly important things that you have to define to get your business to start.

  1. Always prioritize quality: this means you have to find the best suppliers and to reach them you need to try and look for the best products that fit your budget.
  2. Do your supplier research. Also, find where to buy commercial equipment considering the menu you created to buy exactly what you need.
  3. People are the heart of any business, but specially f a cafe. So make sure you hire the right people, who will be dependable, partners and willing to learn whatever it takes. Don´t think that all your employees at the beginning will have previous experience, in fact, something that proves to be very interesting is to conduct training and professionalize them, show that you invest in them and that they belong to the business.
  4. Create an overall healthy environment not only for the customers, but also for your team and yourself. One piece of advice is that the most important of all when it comes to people is to create a good, healthy and productive work culture that will reflect in all areas of your cafe.
  5. -Are you buying an existing business or you are setting up a completely new cafe from Scratch? if you have never operated a cafe before, buying an existing business with a team in place can cost you a lot less than setting up a cafe from scratch. 

Your business plan becomes your operations plan

You need to be covered in every detail since the structure of your business cafe, insurances, all your approvals and permits necessary to open and run, all equipment needed and the documents for the location.

Once you have all documents in order then it’s time to start acting, move from strategic plan to action and put your cafe in the world.

Stay tuned for our next weekly posts on the series: Opening a new cafe. Every Monday!




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