Café 101 – 11 Useful Tips to Successfully Run a Café Business

Café 101 – 11 Useful Tips to Successfully Run a Café BusinessWho doesn’t desire to own a café? The joy you get from smiling customers while you serve them your masterpieces is way better than pushing pencils on an 8-hour job.

While you are already drooling and your creative think tank overflowing, let me first burst your thought bubble.

As this is a very popular venture, setting up a café requires not only your desire but a lot of strategic planning. Consider the fact that you are not the first to set up shop – competition can be tough and compelling. There is more to just the aroma of the coffee you serve than meets the eye.

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Check out these facts:

  • The average “life” of a café is between 2 and 3 years, then they are “adopted” by a different owner.
  • 70% of cafes shut down its operation within the first 12 months.

That’s quite the attrition rate, but any business venture has its own corresponding risk and impending challenges. You have to be battle ready to move forward. This is no fairytale land but a success story is yours to tell if you acquire the right attitude and motivation.

What direction should you be headed? What should be avoided and whose advice should I heed? Questions will overflow but here are 11 practical tips to step up your game in starting up a café.

Let’s go through some tips on how to start up your cafe

1. Make that Dream Come True

You can dream and keep your head in the clouds, but you have to stand with your feet on the ground when purchasing your café. Don’t get seduced into making a wrong decision just because the café you saw has the most charming table linen that matches the wall colour. You can change all that. You can rent tablecloths in different style every month if you like.

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Never let your emotions get the better of you in making a decision. Knowing the right people will help you realize the amount of investment you need to put it. Negotiations can be very tedious and may entail a lot of drawbacks, be prepared.

2. Go to the Drawing Board

With your emotions checked, it is now time to foresee realistic business goals before buying a café. Marketing and Operations are the key to success and should be the focal points of the business. Entice investors and banks with a well-planned business proposal.

3. Secure the Permits

Everything should be legally taken cared of. Setting up any business for that matter necessitates all the required permits. Make sure you understand the Laws and Regulations of New Zealand when acquiring insurances, permits, and licenses.

Be meticulous about all the hygienic regulations. It is next to impossible to come back from being fined for unhygienic working conditions. It’s not just about the money. Your reputations will never be clean again.

If you don’t think you can do a flawless job at keeping your washroom sanitary, a great idea is to think about using washroom cleaning services and let the professionals do that for you.

4. This is When Creativity Kicks In

Look around you, almost every business venture has a theme, from rock concert to zen. Make your think tank work and come up with a motif.

Once you have it – put all the little details in line with your theme. Are you going for a relaxed, home-like place? Place an entrance mat with cursive letters on your entrance. You get the idea.

Before you get ahead of yourself, remember that it pays a lot to make a random feasibility check of the business area. Make your café stand out! Use these amazing New Zealand cafés for inspiration.

5. Be Professional

It may come to you as a hobby but you always have to consider that running a business involves customers. You have to be consistent in dealing with all aspects of operations. It has to reflect on how you conduct yourself as an owner and a leader to your staff.

By professionalism, we mean that standards have to be met – like flawless washroom hygiene with real, cloth towel dispenser, presentable catchy menus, crisp clean staff uniforms and an engaging website.

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6. Be Your Own Customer

Do you analyse the cafés you’ve visited, thinking what you would do differently? Fill in the shoe of a customer to find ways and means to continuously improve your craft.

Are your chairs comfortable enough? Are the lights bright enough? Too bright? Take a look at your establishment through the eyes of a customer and find the space for improvement.

7. Communication is Key

As with any other relationship, an open communication not only with your staff but most importantly with your customers will substantially improve your service and your revenue subsequently.

Make sure that policies are consistent and attainable. If you don’t feel that your staff understands you well enough, consider training in workplace communication. It makes all the difference if you politely explain why is handwashing important than if you yell at your waiters that they are dirty.

8. Never be a Snob

Suppliers are your friends. Develop a lasting relationship with suppliers and distributors because if you take care of them, they will surely take care of you. You will never know when an emergency will strike and having them as your best buds can actually mean a lot.

Your espresso machine created a havoc and your staff uniforms have coffee stains all over them? If you are on good terms with your uniform rental service, they will understand your situation and do their best to provide you with the fresh ones ASAP.

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9. Learn to Embrace the Concept of Change

What is trending now may not have the same impact the next week, or month. Our fast paced lives continuously evolve in a surprisingly short amount of time.

Your great concept for a menu may be the best thing that happened on the New Zealand coffee scene this month but never expect it to be eternal. You need to learn to adapt and innovate. Take some time to be on top of what’s hot and what’s not.

Marketing and Promotion

10. Marketing is the Lifeblood of the Business

You may have the most lucrative shiny shimmery shop but if no one knows about it, it’s as good as a nothing. There is a variety of marketing channels that you may want to juggle – although it is advisable that you strategically plan these channels.

Traditional marketing includes flyers, word of mouth, and old-fashioned ads. Digital marketing is the necessity nowadays, utilising the many avenues of the world wide web and make good use of social media.

11. Establish Relationships

As mentioned earlier, word of mouth is a very good marketing opportunity. As with taking care of your suppliers and distributors, it is best to establish a fanbase. These “regulars” will give you a stable audience so provide them with perks like loyalty discounts and incentive programs.

Alsco can Help

Also is a leader in providing convenient and economical solutions for maintaining the highest linen standards for any business venture. Our fully managed tea towel rental service is no exception: we offer quality fabrics, sizes, and colours with no up-front capital outlay; regular pick-up and delivery; and a flexible inventory management system.

Partner with Alsco and find out how it feels to have an endless supply of clean linen. Enquire now!

Updated: 5 November 2018



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