How to open your own cafe

HOW TO OPEN YOUR CAFE

Have you decided to dive into the unknown and try your hand as a coffee shopkeeper? Opening a successful café is definitely a worthwhile experience. Thanks to you, hundreds, if not thousands, of friends can have exciting conversations and enjoy a good cup of coffee. Because of you, the mornings are brighter and the afternoons seem less stressful. 


Running a cafe can be extremely profitable if you do it right. Serving quality coffee and snacks is extremely trendy. However, creating a café is not just as easy as making coffee at home and opening the door with your feet. 


Based on our team's years of experience in building cafes, we've put together 10 steps (in simplified form) to help you make your first decisions and give you an idea of ​​where to start. Enjoy reading!

  • 1

    Conduct market research

  • 2

    Set a vision for the cafe ja 

    mission

  • 3

    Create a business plan?

  • 4

    How much time could it take?

  • 5

    Location!

  • 6

    Design a smooth work environment

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    How Much does a Coffee Maker Cost?

  • 8

    Character cafe

  • 9

    Reliable partners

  • 10

    Hire the right people

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VII THROUGH THE MARKET RESEARCH


Opening a café requires a large investment in both time and money. It is important that you take the extra time it takes to open and run a successful cafe. This means approaching the owners of different coffee companies and learning from their experiences; figuring out what works and what doesn’t. This way, it is possible to ask for their advice before preparing a business plan and get valuable input on whether or not a coffee shop is suitable for you. What are the specifics of the local market and what mistakes to avoid. Mission Coffee Works offers a consultation to open a café - from choosing a location to top-level training and ideal customer service. We have helped open dozens of cafes in both London and Estonia. And here's the fun part, market research also means visiting many cafes to get an idea of ​​what place you want to fill in the local market. Think about what you imitate from other entrepreneurs and what makes your cafe unique. It is also necessary to find out who your customer is, what their needs are? What time will be the so-called tram? Knowing your customers well helps you plan the café, compile the menu and develop the pricing policy!

PUT THE VISION (on paper)


Undoubtedly, you have big plans and the image of a new, awesome café is already beginning to emerge in your mind. Next, write down what you want to achieve with your café (what is your mission) and what atmosphere you want to create. Start collecting photos, menus and design ideas, the latter will help you find inspiration for the cafe's look and style. What foods or snacks do you serve and how do you see your customers coming in the door. Once your vision is clearly defined, put it together moodboard, the last can probably be a great help in choosing a cafe name, deciding on a design, planning food, finding the right coffee, choosing cups and all the other stuff. You should definitely remember that you can't please everyone - the secret to success is to understand who it is, for whom you are designing this company. In other words, who is your customer and end user.


You should also keep an eye on your rental space early on. Rents in the city center have a higher reason - more walking traffic usually means higher turnover. However, the choice of space should take into account not only the location, but also the physical space itself and whether it facilitates the operation of the café.

BUSINESS PLAN

Of course, it is tempting to skip drawing up a business plan. "It's too much work" ... "Whoever reads it" ... are the minds we constantly hear. However, the process of writing a business plan will help you understand your local market and learn more about the numbers you need to succeed in your business. The business plan guides you through the stages of developing and managing your entire café and is an action plan for structuring, managing and growing a new business.

The business plan should include:
• Summary: what the company stands for and how it stands out.
• Local market analysis: who are the regular customers? Who are the competitors?
• Team: what do you plan to do yourself, what team members do you need?
• Marketing plan: what makes you different? How do you intend to communicate this to the wider community?
• How much capital do you need to start and where does it come from?
• Financial projections: Projected profit and loss, cash flow.
• Location and rental strategy.

There is a lot to think about here, but taking the time to plan all these aspects will definitely help you succeed.

TIME TO CONSIDER

Nothing happens overnight. It is realistic to open a cafe within three (very optimistic option) to eight months (pessimistic option) from the moment of renting the room. For this period, we definitely recommend asking for a hefty discount on rent. 


Here are some examples of things you need and their expected delivery time: new espresso machine (4-6 weeks), custom - made bar and furniture (8 weeks), branded cups (4 weeks), Health Board food hygiene permit (3 weeks), company registration and activity license (1 day). 


It can also take up to 8 weeks to build and adapt a café (depending on which company previously operated on the premises). Also it is worth looking for employees / baristas early. More important than experience is a trustworthy person with a kind personality and a positive state. Coffee-making skills can always be taught - it is much harder to change a bad attitude or a silent personality.  

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LOCATION

Finding a location is one of the most exhausting parts of creating a cafe. The search can take weeks, however. 

Here are five aspects you might want from the best location:


Traffic and audience

Is your concept suitable for someone who is on the way to work or for those who meet friends in the middle of the day? Use your vision to identify your target audience. Then determine if the location is suitable for the end user. A minimalist café could be suitable for a business park, for example, while a hybrid café will do well in the downtown area, as both tourists and locals move around in these areas.


Parking and pedestrians

There is one or the other in a good location - ideally both. If you are planning a so-called destination café (longer food menu, many seats, suitable for groups), parking is crucial for customers. However, if you are planning a more espresso bar concept (ie fewer seats, smaller food choices, takeaways), walkways and café walkers are essential.


Visibility

A sign with the name of your coffee shop or café should be visible from the street and sidewalk. Drive a few times with a friend and see if he can show you the location as you pass. When you find a place, make it visible on Google Maps by creating a Google My Business account. Finding the right location is the starting point for many other steps involved in creating your own coffee shop. Once the location is in place, you can apply for licenses and run the legal aspects of your business.


Competitor

Being close to competitors is not always bad, as the latter can contribute to a company's marketing and visibility. however, if you are too close to a café with a similar concept, you may have difficulty getting started at least at the beginning. Even after opening your cafe, keep an eye on the area to see what your competitors are doing and what you might benefit from together.


Everything is based on permanent ones!

Local cafes are built for regular customers who visit the cafe every day / week. These types of customers usually live or work within a short walk (5-10 minutes) of their regular café. Looking at the possible location of the café, it is worth knowing the neighborhood well: who lives in the area? Are they home for a week? What companies are operating in this area? Schools? Hospitals? Talk to locals and find out where they drink coffee.

smooth working environment

Creating an optimal design is essential to ensure both efficiency and customer comfort. We have helped our team to design and optimize solutions for many cafes. Thanks to our long experience, we are able to anticipate bottlenecks and prevent later reconstructions. If you need help designing and arranging things, be sure to contact us.


Front design of the counter

When designing the front area of ​​the counter, think about what kind of atmosphere you want to create. Do you want people who work or hold meetings to feel private? Or do you prefer an open concept that looks airy and modern? In either case, consider the size of your space and how you can maximize seating. Be sure to also think about color choices and furniture styles and how they affect your customer. Dark colors make the room more intimate, lighter colors more inviting and bright colors increase customers' appetite. In addition, if you want modern aesthetics, the interior should match this style.


Designing the back of the counter

Behind the counter tends to be very narrow in faster times, so there is efficiency and 'flow' crucial. Plan or draw exactly where the machines will be on or under the counter, and the order and location of the equipment should also be set to ensure efficiency. Click on the links below to see simplified examples. 

Quality equipment

Let's start this section with a heavy heart - cafe equipment PAY. Opening a café is a long-term investment - therefore, it is worth purchasing a new, high-quality machine that can withstand and allow you to serve the desired coffee without compromise. Why? Because the coffee machine is the heart of the coffee business!


New coffee machines can be more expensive, but know that you are paying for the durability of the machine. If something happens to the machine, you can get a quick solution with the help of a professional technician. A new espresso machine with two groups can cost between 3 and 000 euros (excluding VAT). You can find better coffee machines for around 4-000 euros. The price of the great ones starts at 4 euros. However, not everything ends with the purchase of a coffee machine. You need at least one more grinder - if you only want to serve coffee from one bean. You also need two grinders to make espresso from two different beans. As a rule, another grinder is added for filter coffee. The prices of the mills range from 500 to 9 EUR, depending on what you expect from them and how much you want to grind with them. 


If you are wondering which coffee machine might be best for your cafe - be sure to contact us!


The next thing to think about is the water filter. Its prices range from 100 to 300 EUR, depending on the water quality of your café. The water filter must be replaced every 6 to 12 months. In addition, don't forget things like a refrigerated display case, refrigerators, ice machine, dishwasher, freezer and so on.

Create a character for the cafe!

The design of the café is crucial for both catching and retaining customers. The concept largely depends on your target audience. Is it modern? Retro? Official? Family friendly? Focused on a healthy lifestyle? 


Understand the tastes of your customer base and design the cafe with these points in mind. Again, don’t try to please everyone; choosing and sticking to one theme gives a much stronger identity. Think about the design of the store, signs, furniture and lighting. Evaluate the effectiveness of the placement from the perspective of both the employee and the client. Can a barista work effectively in a segregated room? Can employees get from one end of the café to the other quickly and without obstacles? Do customers understand from the first moment they step in how the ordering process works? We know it's expensive, but hiring a professional interior designer obviously makes the whole part of the design a breeze. An excellent atmosphere and efficient workflow are critical, and an experienced designer can anticipate and avoid bottlenecks and problems. 


The café menu should express your vision and cafe style. Everything from food choices to designs, colors and fonts should be considered, ending with compelling descriptions, images and pricing. Think about signature food and how it can shape the style of your menu. To start with, there is a strict rule of thumb that the cost of ingredients should not exceed 35% of the retail price (excluding VAT). And remember - simplicity lies in the charm!

Suppliers

Finding good and reliable suppliers is a key component of any business success. Depending on the type of café you open, the main products are usually coffee beans, milk, alternative milks, fresh products and various groceries. You also need to find a partner for a one-time claim (cups, lids, napkins, spoons, food packaging, ... the list goes on). We recommend that you start by compiling a list of all the necessary accessories and food products, being as detailed as possible. The list may seem long at first glance, but if you can write down even the smallest things (from pastries to napkin holders), you can be sure your cafe is ready.


Regarding the selection of suppliers, we recommend meeting with representatives of companies directly. In this case, it is most likely to get a complete overview of the products offered and prices. Experts in their field have certainly been in contact with similar start-up companies before and can recommend the products you need for your café. 


Today, more and more companies value sustainability and greenery. At Mission, we have developed a way to be the most accessible and supportive supplier in every key - our goal is to make your life a breeze.

The right people

If you ask an experienced cafe owner what is the No. 1 concern of his company, then for the vast majority, finding and retaining excellent staff is a key issue. Most people are looking for experienced staff, which is understandable. But based on our experience, experience is trumped by one factor: attitude. Skills can be learned, but attitudes and perseverance are difficult to ignite in an employee.


However, developing a pleasant and effective team only happens when hiring the right people, so make sure you are ready to find the best people for your business. A meaningful induction and training system is always helpful - for our part, we can help hone the skills of baristas and increase workflow efficiency through training. 


When hiring employees, we recommend creating a clear salary system (here we must not forget the full salary fund with state taxes). We also recommend creating a bonus system for exceptional service and additional work, but always use trackable metrics. Various additional trainings and extracurricular activities, such as summer days or just after-hours meetings, also help to maintain the team's motivation.