Everyone has told you that you're crazy, the hours are long, and the customers are grumpy but there's something inside you longing to be the first to open up those doors in the morning and have the first cup of coffee in peace before the busy day begins.
And here's what we think: if you burn for anything, whether opening a cafe or taking up knitting, you have to go for it! Life's too short and all. Don't go selling everything in sight to make it happen but if the time is right and you have got the possibility then go for it.
The first year is the most critical one but if you plan it right, things can go smoothly. So... how to start?
First things first - cost, details, planning.
There's a lot of planning needed. To survive you need to consider the right staff, opening hours, what food to serve, music that will create the right vibe, branding, logo, and which coffee will work...the list is long. Be thorough!
Understanding key things like who are your competitors, what tone your company has, and who your demographic are all part of planning. A company without a plan is set to fail.
Count the cost
Recent studies show that a coffee shop will cost you at least €600.000 monthly. You've staff to support, ingredients, beverages, heating, cleaners, insurances, oh and staff to pay; did we say that? The biggest cost will be your MVPs (most valued players) but at the same time, without those twinkling stars you'll not make that place work! There will be varying costs and especially until you stabilize your menu and find out what folk want!
Location is key
So, you want to open a cafe but know that the main footfall isn't going to be right outside your place? How are you going to lure people in from the beaten path to visit you? It will have to be amazing and, of course, it takes time to fall into a routine and create a reputation for the best coffee in town. Get creative and see what people want.
If your place is in the afternoon sun then why not have some extra seating and welcome people to enjoy the outside living? After all, the more people you've got to serve the more likely you are to earn some hard cash and entice others seeking a place to soak up the vibe.
Maximise seat space
We've all been there, that place where there are elbows coming from all sides and there's no room to squeeze past the next table without risking knocking over their freshly made G&T. Don't make the mistake of getting greedy. Yes more people means more spending power but it's still to be an enjoyable experience where your fine customers can move (and breathe!) Plan smart and make the place seem roomy, not claustrophobically crowded - work out your floor plan!
Shout it from the rooftops - let people know that you're opening. Have a social media plan where you can show people what you're doing, even before opening. Give them some teasers of what they can expect and a whiff of the vibe that they'll long to experience.
The key is to make the images look spontaneously effortless but secretly there's a whole lot of planning in there. Be consistent with who you are and what you want to convey.
There's a whole lot more to consider too. Are you going to serve food? Alcoholic beverages? What music will suit your place and clients? What about outdoor seating to catch those lazy sunny days? Do you need to apply for any licenses? How do you want your staff to behave?
Get it all in your game plan then write up a handy flip book so you know where you're going. If you don't know how will you be able to delegate?
Good luck and hope your dream comes true; for the love of following your own path!
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