Learning how to open a café is the start of an adventure of business-ownership, customer satisfaction and customer experience, and community connection. From hosting brunch in your café to managing inventory, there’s a lot of work to be done and fun to be had.
The process of how to open a café covers a lot of ground. You’ll work with customer retention strategies, and learn about restaurant tech you can utilize. You’ll learn about content marketing, email marketing, and small business marketing. The importance of branding will become a pillar of your café business plan.
All that’s to say, learning how to open a café takes time, effort, and plenty of support from your team and technological help. This BinWise blog will get you started on the journey of opening a café of your very own.
How to Open a Café
Opening a café starts with your general business plan needs and goes further into the specific needs of a café. Here on the BinWise blog, we’ll cover all your café needs in our series on running a café. To get you started, these 12 key tips for how to open a café and prepare for success are the place to begin.
12. Dive Into Your Competition
Starting a successful café business is, in part, reliant on the current café scene in your location. Check out your competition, and see where there are gaps in the industry you can fill. You’ll find a way to start building into the community.
11. Write Your Business Plan
Every business should have a business plan. Not every business does, but when you write up a business plan, you’re that much more prepared to be successful. You can structure your business plan like a restaurant business plan.
10. Find a Location
Finding your location will come into your competitor research, and is among the first things you’ll want to do. You could have a pop-up restaurant café option in different locations. Maybe you’ll find the perfect rental space. Whatever it is, start searching from the start.
9. Learn All About Licensing
Your business license needs will vary depending on your location and what you’re serving in your café. If you’re serving alcohol, look into getting a liquor license. Be sure to check all requirements with your state and county.
8. Build Your Café Concept
Building your café concept can come from tips on how to develop a restaurant concept. Your café concept is similar to your business plan, but different in the goal. Concepting a café is all about finding out how you want to design your business from an aesthetic and customer-centric perspective.
7. Learn the Café Rules and Regulations
Beyond business licensing, there are plenty of rules and regulations you need to learn. From food safety to general health and wellness, businesses–especially businesses serving food–have a lot of rules to follow.
6. Build Your Menu Plan
Choosing your menu types and offerings is a vital part of your business plan and café plan in general. From the beginning you need a plan for what you’re serving and how you’re sourcing it. The importance of sustainability can come into play. You should also work with your executive chef on menu plans.
5. Hire Your Stellar Staff
Hiring everyone from wait staff to a café manager to baristas is a critical move. It's ideal to do so once you’ve got your business situated for the grand opening. After you have a business plan set up and funding secured, posting jobs will help prepare you to bring in the best staff.
4. Gather Your Funding
Gathering funding can be a sticking point for businesses. If you have savings set up, you’ll be ahead of the curve. If not, getting a small business loan or finding other investors is something you should consider early on.
3. Organize Your Inventory Management
Getting your inventory management system set up is something to prioritize as soon as you start buying inventory. The BinWise beverage inventory program can help you with liquids. BlueCart can come along for your general order management needs.
2. Find a POS System
Learning how to choose a POS system and finding the right one for you is crucial for making money and managing it well. Your POS system is one of the backbones of the technological support of your café.
1. Build Up Your Marketing
There’s never a bad time to start your marketing practices. You can start marketing your café business as soon as you have it planned in a concrete manner. The more you get the word out, the more success you’ll have right out the gate.
"Key Takeaway: Learning how to open a café is the start of an adventure of business-ownership, customer satisfaction and customer experience, and community connection."
Frequently Asked Questions About How to Open a Café
Opening a café is quite the process. As you work through the 12 steps in this blog, you’ll find success and even more questions to be answered. Our answers to these frequently asked questions will help you discover how much more there is to learn about how to open a café.
How Profitable Is Owning a Café?
On average, café owners earn between $40,000 to $60,000 a year. With two or more locations, this can rise up to over $100,000 a year. When you start your café, your salary will be a part of your accounting decisions. You’ll also have a budget from everything you make, to pay employees and keep your inventory running strong.
How Do I Start a Small Café?
To start a small café, start with a business plan, a location you’re interested in, and a café concept. From there, the 12 steps outlined in this blog will get you started. Starting a small café relies on funding, location, legal needs, and great menu items. If you bring all that together, you’ll be on your way to starting a small café.
Can I Run a Café with No Experience?
Yes, you can run a café with no experience. You don’t need a business degree, or even specific café experience. You do, however, need to be willing to buckle down and learn everything about running a café. Starting with no experience means you’ll have a lot to learn. That will come from studying, and from hands-on experience as you get started.
Is It Hard to Run a Small Café?
Running a small café can be hard, because it takes a lot of work, focus, and dedication to your business. Running any business is hard, but any business owner will tell you it’s well worth the effort. The first few years will be an uphill climb. The reward of having a business you can be proud of makes the effort an investment in your future.
Opening a Café: Swinging Open Your Café Doors
The process of how to open a café is the start of a great adventure in your own café business. This blog is the place to start, and you can come back to the BinWise blog for the rest of our café business series.
The BinWise Pro inventory program, paired with the BinScan mobile app, gives you peace of mind when you take inventory. BlueCart’s order management software eases your order management system. Revolution Ordering is there for you when you’re ready to expand into a café franchise.