This cafe businesses guide is your one-stop shop for learning how to open a cafe and run it successfully. From general opening steps to business plan components to marketing tips, we’ve compiled everything you need to open and operate a cafe business. Read on for these 12 facets of opening a cafe business.
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. These 12 first steps will get you headed in the right direction.
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 saféty 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.
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 priortize 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.
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 cafe businesses guide is the place to start learning about everything, including the cost to open a cafe.
"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."
When you’re learning how to open a cafe, it’s important to learn the answer to “How much does it cost to open a cafe?” Your startup costs, overhead expenses, and everything else will be a foundational part of your cafe business plan and future success. There is the cost of labor. Restaurant food cost will come into play. There are food inventory costs, where food inventory software may come into the equation.
The cost to open a cafe can start as low as $80,000, but it can go all the way up to $1 million as well. Your cost will depend on the size of the cafe you want to open and your goals for the business. It’s similar in that regard to the cost to open a wine bar or the cost to open a pop-up restaurant.
So, how much does it cost to open a cafe? The answer is, it varies. You can expect to spend up into the tens of thousands, if not more. These eight costs of opening a cafe will play into your overall cost. Finding cost-effective options where you can for these costs will help you lower overall funding needs.
8. Location Costs
Your location costs are going to be some form of rent unless you buy a location outright. Depending on the type of cafe you want to open, a sole location that you purchase could be a great fit. Renting, however, gives you a little more flexibility. The price will depend on your location. The guarantee is that this cost will be ongoing.
7. Inventory Costs
Inventory costs are another ongoing cost of owning and operating a cafe. Your inventory consists of all beverage and food items and ingredients. It also covers disposable items and things you’ll need to keep replenishing. Your inventory costs will likely be one of the highest costs on your list when it comes to items you need on hand.
6. Payroll Costs
Payroll costs are an ongoing expense once you hire your staff. When you’re just starting out, it may just be you for a bit, but that’s a good time to plan for payroll expenses. Budget to pay your employees a living wage, and plan for a future with more employees, since that is what business growth will require.
5. Licensing Costs
Your licensing costs will depend on your location and what you want to put on your menu. A general business license is a fixed expense to plan for. Getting a liquor license will also likely be on your list. BinWise isn’t a legal advisor. Our recommendation is that you look into your local licensing needs to make sure you have everything you might need.
4. Marketing Expenses
Marketing expenses won’t be a huge part of your overall budget, but they are a very important part. Small business marketing is best kept to a small amount of your budget. Finding ways to make that amount work for your email marketing, content marketing, and business branding is key.
3. Insurance Costs
Your insurance costs are another location-dependent cost. Some coverage areas to consider are the business location, your employees and their health and other insurance, and liability insurance. Consulting an attorney for small businesses will be helpful in making sure you have all your insurance needs covered.
2. Equipment Costs
Your equipment costs are primarily a startup cost. If you invest in the best equipment from the beginning, you can avoid some replacement costs down the road. Budgeting several thousand dollars for your equipment costs from the start will help you get what you need for a smooth business opening and success down the line.
1. Business Taxes
Business taxes are an ongoing expense that could derail your business if you aren’t prepared for them. Like many costs on this list, business taxes are location-specific. For your location, look up taxes beforehand, and work with an accountant to make sure you have your ducks in a row.
The Cost to Open a Cafe: Cash and Credit for Your Cafe
When you’re starting your journey of being a cafe owner, there are plenty of questions you’ll find yourself asking. How much does it cost to open a cafe? How many employees do I need? How do I organize my menu with alcoholic beverages, coffees, and all manner of foods? All of these and more will come into your cafe business plans.
Writing a café business plan is one of the best concrete steps you can take toward opening and operating a successful café. These nine parts of the business plan will help you map out your cafe and prepare for upcoming expenses and points of concern.
9. The Executive Summary
Your executive summary is the place to briefly share an overview of all the sections in your business plan. It’s the place for stating what your business is, why you’re opening it, and how you’ll execute each step of the process.
8. Success Plan
The success plan portion of your café business plan is the spot to identify the area of your industry you’re filling and what you’ll do for your customers. This is the place to share why your business will be a successful café.
7. Competitor Analysis
Your competitor analysis is something that helps you to define the parameters your café will fulfill. This section is where you’ll check out the other cafés in your area, see what they’re doing and how it’s working, and what you can do better.
6. Market Analysis
Market analysis goes hand in hand with competitor analysis. Market analysis is explicitly an analysis of the customer market you’re striving to obtain. What is your market interested in? What are their current café options? What can you do to draw them in? Answer those questions in your market analysis.
5. Services Demonstration
Your services demonstration is the place where you’ll lay out what you’re offering in terms of services. You’ll want to touch on menu offerings, with a menu layout for food and safety checks. You’ll also want to write out your plan for hours and frameworks for operations.
4. Marketing Strategies
Your marketing strategies section is the place to overview your marketing goals and lay out a few marketing campaign plans. You should give a rundown on the marketing plan in terms of how you want to grow the business. Your campaign mock-ups can be more in-depth, to give you plans to start with.
3. Ownership and Management Structure
The ownership and management structure part of your café business plan is where you’ll define the ownership structure. This section is built for the purpose of having a set structure for legal and organizational needs. It’s especially important if you’re sharing your business plan with potential investors.
2. Operations Plans
Your operations plan section is the spot to give a walkthrough of what daily operations will look like. This will include things along the lines of opening and closing procedures, scheduling, and inventory management plans. It’s your place to make sure you have a plan to keep everything running well.
1. Financial Plans
Your financial plans section is the place to write out your budget, and plan for any investment or loan needs. The budget section is for you, but it’s also to share with anyone who you will be asking for loans or investments from. Overall, this section’s purpose is to help you figure out what you need financially, and how you can get it.
Café Business Plans: Plan to Plan Ahead
Writing a café business plan gives you more control over the startup and operations of your café business. Having a written plan is a way of solidifying your plan through a step-by-step analysis of each part of the business.
It’s also a great resource for you to stay grounded in your ideas, and grow them with measured steps when the time comes. You can use it to decide which type of cafe you want to open.
"Key Takeaway: Writing a café business plan gives you an outline of your business you can refer to and expand on at any time.
Learning about all the types of cafés is a delightful part of the journey of learning how to open a café. These 12 types of cafes run the gamut of what you can do with your cafe business.
12. Drive-Thru Cafés
Drive-thru cafés can take many forms. Some are coffee shops. Others are more along the lines of a Sonic-esque place, with a drive-thru and places to park. Many are somewhere in between. A drive-thru café is a great option if you’re working with a limited budget and you want to create a business that is easy to maintain.
11. Café Food Truck
A café food truck fits in among all types of food trucks. If you’re located in one of the best places to start a food truck business, a café food truck is a great plan. It can even turn into a café with a permanent brick-and-mortar location.
10. Coffee Shops
Coffee shops are the type of establishment many people think of when they hear the word café. A coffee shop café is a solid business plan for any location since you’re likely to find coffee lovers no matter where you’re at.
9. Pop-Up Café
A pop-up café is a smaller scale version of a pop-up restaurant. With pop-up restaurant marketing tactics and delicious food, a pop-up café is another great way to open a cost-effective café business and draw in the crowds.
8. Café Bakery
When people think of cafés, after thinking of coffee they generally drift to considering baked goods. A café bakery, therefore, is the perfect place in the world of cafés to build a business that customers will love. Who can say no to delicious pastries and drinks all in one place?
7. Themed Cafés
Themed cafés are a subset of café businesses that can be many things to many people. A themed café is, at a base level, any sort of café. The unique type of café comes into play with the theme decided on by the owner. From a cultural theme to a location-based option, themed cafés can be anything you can dream up.
6. Specialty Cafés
Specialty cafés are a café of any size or shape that has a specialized offering for customers. Some popular options are to offer a specific type of cuisine or a branded space that speaks volumes.
5. Cat Cafés
Cat cafés do, technically, fall under the umbrella of themed cafés. Cat cafés have, however, become such a common and famed theme that they get their own spot on this list. You can serve up any dish at a cat café, the truly important factor is the cats!
4. Brunch Cafés
Brunch cafés make up some of the best cafés and the best brunch places around the world. That’s not an exaggeration, brunch truly has taken over the world in recent years. A brunch café business will bring in customers, as long as you get the eggs Benedict right.
3. Pub Café
A pub café is, to put it plainly, a café type of restaurant with a pub design. This type of café blends in with hole-in-the-wall spots and greasy spoons. It’s a mix of cute and rugged that you can’t go wrong with.
2. Breakfast Café
Breakfast cafés are a subset of specialty cafés, with their specialty being everything to do with breakfast. You can do an expansive breakfast café with all manner of brunch and lunch items.
1. Classic Café
A classic café takes the number one spot on this list as a classic for a reason. A classic café is a small restaurant, with a number of meal options throughout the day. It’s down the middle, and a perfect option for anyone looking to open a café and see where it goes.
Types of Cafés: What’s Your Type?
These 12 types of cafés are a great source of inspiration for your own café business. Once you’ve decided on the type of cafe you want to run, it’s time to get into the business specifics, including cafe inventory management.
Cafe inventory management is a key component of the work that goes into opening a cafe and running it smoothly. Cafe inventory management, including these 15 facets of the inventory process, gives you more control over your cafe business.
Cafe Inventory Lists
These five cafe inventory lists are the main categories of inventory you’ll have in your cafe. Overall, everything in your cafe that needs to be kept in stock, in some form or another, is under the umbrella of these categories of cafe inventory management.
5. Food Inventory
Food inventory makes up a large and very important portion of your cafe inventory management. Food inventory management will help you focus on getting the best foods, and always having them ready for your customers.
4. Dishes and Cutlery Inventory
Dishes and cutlery inventory isn’t something you think about immediately when you think of food and related inventory, but it’s especially important to stay on top of. Replacing dishes and cutlery as needed is the main function of dishes and cutlery inventory.
3. Cleaning Supplies Inventory
Cleaning supplies are a part of every working part of your cafe business. From cleaning the tables after customers have dined to keeping the kitchen clean, you need plenty of supplies.
2. Business Maintenance Inventory
Business maintenance inventory is a broad category, as it covers everything you need, from a business standpoint, to keep the cafe running smoothly. This could be anything from office supplies, technological support, or accounting supplies.
1. Beverage Inventory
Beverage inventory goes hand-in-hand with food inventory for a cafe business. Your beverage inventory starts with the general list of the beverages you serve. It gets broken down from there into ingredients, bottle volume levels, and bar glassware.
Inventory Software Support
Inventory software support eases every step of the inventory process. Counting by hand and keeping endless spreadsheets is an exhausting way to do inventory. These five software support systems make inventory streamlined, to give you one less thing to think about while you run your business.
5. Warehouse Inventory Software
Warehouse inventory software is a subset of general inventory software. Getting software that encompasses your inventory warehouse gives you greater control over your inventory every step of the way.
4. Accounting Software
Accounting software will help you when it comes time to have your books in order. QuickBooks is a piece of accounting software that is loved and trusted by many business owners industry-wide.
3. Food Inventory Software
Food inventory software will help you keep your menu fresh and ready for customers. Food inventory software helps you keep track of what you’re low on, so you never have to worry about your reorder point.
2. Beverage Inventory Software
Beverage inventory software goes hand in hand with food inventory software. It’s there to help you keep track of drink ingredients and general beverage stock, so you can confidently serve up all the best drinks.
1. POS Software
POS software, or point of sale software, is a critical part of the software support of every business. Choosing the right POS system for your cafe business will keep your finances moving smoothly.
Cafe Inventory Management Ideas
Beyond cafe inventory management techniques and software support, there are ideas you can implement to make your inventory process more efficient. These five cafe inventory management ideas will help you stay on top of your inventory, and make it a helpful, headache-free part of your cafe business.
5. Make Use of a Perpetual Inventory System
A perpetual inventory system is one idea you should implement right away. It’s a system where you do regular counts, so you can avoid an intense inventory count and keep everything in line.
4. Stay Organized Every Step of the Way
A good inventory system starts with organization. From the moment you start your cafe, keep your inventory organized so you can stay on top of it.
3. Focus on User-Friendly Features in Software
When it comes to choosing the software that will help you with your inventory process, focus on user-friendly programs. When you’re in the throes of inventory, the last thing you want is inventory software that is complicated to use.
2. Share Inventory Duties with Management Employees
Sharing your inventory duties with managers and supervisors at your cafe will help to ease the process and build up your team. A cloud-based software will help with this endeavor.
1. Build Inventory Time Into the Schedule
Inventory can easily become something you dread every time it comes around. Avoid that situation by building inventory time into your schedule, so it’s never something that you have to struggle through.
Managing Cafe Inventory: Put Your Management Where Your Mouth Is
Mastering cafe inventory management will give you control over the ins and outs of your cafe business. Once you’re set with inventory plans, it’s time to dive into using that inventory, including within your menu items.
"Key Takeaway: Mastering cafe inventory management will give you control over the ins and outs of your cafe business."
Learning about menus for cafes is a delightful part of learning how to open a cafe, for all types of cafes. Planning your menus is vital for cafe success, and fun for learning about what you can provide for customers. These 12 menu categories are a great place to start.
The pastry section of your menu is a classic cafe offering. Your pastries could be breakfast items, dessert items, or perfect for any time of day. You just can’t go wrong with pastries for a cafe business. If you can have a part of your kitchen be viewable for customers, so they can see the making of the pastries, it’ll be an extra special experience.
11. Brunch Menus
A good brunch menu is ideal for any cafe specializing in brunch offerings. The rise of brunch as a popular meal over recent years has made this an even more important part of menus for cafes. From mimosas to eggs Benedict, perfecting your brunch menu is key.
10. To-Go Specialty Items
To–go specialty items fill a specific niche in the world of cafes. The COVID-19 pandemic ramped up the love of to-go orders from peoples’ favorite restaurants. You can play into that by having a specific to-go menu section with items that are equally delicious when they’ve traveled home.
A dessert menu is a classic for any type of restaurant, bar, brunch cafe, or any type of cafe. Having a mix of sweet and savory dessert options will make your dessert menu a must-taste for anyone enjoying time at your cafe.
8. Soups and Salads
Soups and salads are another classic no matter the place or theme of your cafe business. A mix of soups and salads that mix well together and with other items across your menu is the best plan. You should have at least four options for each.
Having a strong list of appetizers on menus for cafes brings people in the door for a quick bite or for the prelude of a longer meal. Your appetizers should include a mix of classic appetizers and specialty items specific to your type of cafe.
6. Domestic and Imported Beer
Domestic and imported beers come into play with the alcoholic beverages section of your cafe menu. For your beer selections, a mix of domestic and imported options will keep all your beer-loving customers happy. A good mix will also be helpful if there is ever any issue with the supply chain.
5. Specialty Cocktails
Specialty cocktails also join the party of your mixed drinks and 21 and over beverages. Having a mix of cocktail ingredients and classic cocktails available gives your cafe a punchy edge. Some cafe-specific cocktails, named after personal touches in your cafe, are a great way to make this part of your menu unique.
4. Coffee and Tea
Your coffee and tea lists for menus for cafes need to be immaculate. There are going to be customers who come in specifically to enjoy breakfast and brunch. Having excellent sources for your coffee and tea, and serving them up in aesthetically pleasing ways will exceed the expectations of your morning and early afternoon customers.
3. Wine Lists
Having great wine lists is a must for any bar or restaurant type of business. Your wine lists should complement your menu items. You can also lean into seasonal wine options, with summer white wine treats and red wine surprises in the colder months.
The best entrees can make or break a restaurant or cafe business. Put care into your entrees, and make them pairable with other options on your menu. Your customers will come in for the drinks and appetizers and keep coming back for the entrees.
1. Signature Dishes
Signature dishes mean something different to every cafe. Whatever you’re most passionate about, make it a signature dish. If you have something with a unique ingredient, it belongs on this part of your menu.
Cafe Menus: What Cafe Treats Will You Serve Up?
When it comes to designing and creating menus for cafes, there’s plenty of work to do. It also ties into your cafe marketing strategy.
"Key Takeaway: Learning about menus for cafes is a delightful part of learning how to open a cafe, for all types of cafes."
Learning about marketing strategy for cafe businesses will give you a business edge and expand on your work for all other aspects of opening your cafe. These nine marketing tips will help you define the space your cafe will fill in your community.
Cafe Marketing Strategy
These three upcoming cafe marketing strategies detail the areas of your cafe business that will be emphasized in your marketing plan. These categories mix and match together to create your marketing campaigns. You can pick and choose which ones you act on at a particular time. Overall, however, all three are vital for a successful cafe marketing strategy.
3. Marketing Your Meals
Marketing your meals, including foods and beverages, is one critical third of the trifecta of marketing strategy for cafe businesses. Your dishes and drinks are the key reason customers are going to come back time and again. Make use of them in your marketing to draw people in.
2. Location Marketing
Location marketing will help you build a rapport with your community and find your niche. Cafes are typically a type of restaurant that gets drawn into the local fold and relies on local credibility to find success. Marketing for your location, appealing to neighborhoods, and leaning into the culture, will help boost your business.
1. Brand Marketing
Brand marketing connects to location marketing and marketing for your meals. Brand marketing is all about showcasing what makes your cafe unique. Maybe it’s some specialty signature dishes. Perhaps it’s the history of you as a cafe owner and the reason you got into the business. Whatever it is, tie it into your marketing efforts.
Local Cafe Marketing
Local cafe marketing is a unique subset of the overall marketing you’ll be doing for your cafe business. Local cafe marketing techniques, including these three, will help you build your business locally to get established. They focus on building your community with customers and other small businesses alike. Those two areas of growth will help your business become a local.
3. Customer Rewards Program
A customer rewards program is an efficient way to build up your customer base and create a local following. Your rewards program could give people a free meal voucher, or alert them ahead of time about special events.
2. Host Special Events
Speaking of special events, hosting special events is a great way to invite the community into your restaurant for a unique occasion. You can throw themed events or happy hours. Whatever it is, get the word out and get people excited.
1. Work with Other Business Owners
Working with other small business owners in the area will help you network within the business community. This will give your business a place in the local scene beyond the community of customers you build.
Cafe Marketing for Business Growth
All marketing should lead to success in business, but some marketing plans do lead to growth more efficiently than others. These three solutions of marketing strategy for cafe businesses and growth are designed to move businesses onward and upward. They focus on things that can propel your business with the use of what’s already working and what can be improved.
3. Promote Your Best Dishes
Promoting your best dishes is one of the best ways to grow your business through your culinary expertise. Your best dishes are going to be some of your greatest drivers of profits. The more people know about them, the more your business will benefit.
2. Ask for and Act on Customer Reviews
Your customers will be one of the greatest indicators of how your cafe is doing. To make use of the well of customer experience, ask your customers for reviews. This can be done in an email form, or with a review card they can briefly fill out at the cafe.
1. Keep Up with Competitor Analysis
Keeping up with competitor analysis will keep you apprised of any changes your competitors make to their business plans. If you see a shift, check it out, and look into revamping your cafe business to keep up with the times.
Cafe Marketing Strategies: Find Your Market
Learning about marketing strategy for cafe businesses will get you ready to open your cafe doors and master your customer service and business growth plans. It goes hand-in-hand with learning about cafe rules and regulations.
Learning about cafe regulations is a critical part of learning how to open a cafe. These 12 types of cafe regulations cover your cafe plans when it comes to every facet of your business.
12. Resale Permits
Resale permits are a larger part of the permitting you need to sell food and drinks. They give you the legal right to resell items you’ve bought from wholesale suppliers.
11. Live Entertainment Licensing
Living entertainment licensing will come into play if you decide to have live music or other entertainment events at your cafe. You need the licensing in place to be able to host those events.
10. Alcohol Sales
Alcohol sales are a major part of getting your licensing squared away. Getting a liquor license can take time and money, so if you’re selling alcoholic beverages, get started on the process right away.
9. Business Licensing
General business licensing comes into play for every business. A business license, as a basic license, gives you permission to operate as a business. It should be one of the first licenses you get.
8. Food Permits
Food permits are another must-have for a cafe business. A food permit gives you permission to sell food on the premises. It also ensures you’re following health standards for food preparation.
7. Seller’s Permits
Seller’s permits go hand-in-hand with resale permits, but with a broader scope. A seller’s permit gives you the general authority to be selling from your legal business premises.
6. Business Insurance
Business insurance is something to get after you’ve gotten set up as a licensed business. This insurance will help protect you and your employees. It will also cover your cafe against any litigation that could be brought against you.
5. Food Handler Permits for Employees
Food handler permits for your employees are an absolute must. You’ll need general food licensing for the cafe. On top of that, everyone who handles food in your cafe will need a food handler’s permit.
4. Health and Safety Regulations
Health and safety regulations for cafe businesses cover your food preparation, but they also extend to cleanliness standards around the cafe. From the kitchen areas to the tables and guest-facing spaces, health and safety are kept in check.
3. Location-Based Environmental Regulations
Location-based environmental regulations may or may not exist for you and your cafe. In many countries, states, and smaller localities, there are regulations around materials you can use and standards to maintain.
2. Trademark Applications
Trademark applications are a unique licensing need. When it comes to designing the brand of your cafe, the more unique and creative, the better. When you have a logo and other brand resources set up, a trademark will make your cafe truly one of a kind.
1. Certificate of Occupancy
A certificate of occupancy goes together with the other general licensing you need to own and operate a cafe business. This certificate is a statement that your business is legally squared away to operate from the location you have set up.
Cafe Rules and Regulations: Are You Up To Code?
Sorting out the rules and regulations of your cafe business gets you another, quite tangible step closer to opening the doors for business. As you’re preparing for those opening days, diving into cafe management will give you even more solutions to the daily work of a cafe business.
"Key Takeaway: Cafe regulations extend to everything from general business licensing to alcohol licensing to food permits to health and safety requirements. Every part of your cafe business needs to be checked off the list of regulatory requirements."
Cafe management, like restaurant management or bar management, is a multi-faceted line of work. It involves working with cafe regulations, understanding the cost to open a cafe, working with the cafe business plan, and spending time on cafe inventory management.
10. Support Staff In Customer Service
Supporting cafe staff in all aspects of customer service is one of the key daily responsibilities of cafe managers. You’re there to help when extra hands are needed, and step in for conflict resolution should the situation occur.
9. Maintain Revenue Records
Maintaining revenue records is easiest when done on a daily basis. It’s a clear-cut job for a cafe manager because managers have the most regular exposure to the revenue numbers.
8. Update the Menu
Updating the menu can include everything from reprinting menus as needed to adding new food items to updating the wine lists. It’s not a daily job, but it does come up from time to time.
7. Manage Daily Inventory Needs
Managing daily inventory needs helps to keep your inventory running smoothly each day of the week. Staying on top of inventory and keeping all the necessary inventory in stock is a key manager duty. It makes your job easier and does the same for all employees. It also streamlines the cafe experience for your customers.
6. Vendor Coordination
Vendor coordination for cafe management comes into play with order management and inventory management. As orders come in, you’ll have the task of checking them in. If any issues arise, a focus on vendor coordination will make your job easier. You can work on vendor coordination by being timely with ordering products and being respectful of the time when your orders are delivered.
5. Regular Order Management
Regular order management plays into vendor coordination and inventory management. At any given time, a cafe should have enough inventory to last a week. Keeping up with regular order management will help you achieve that goal and avoid worrying about your reorder point.
4. Customer Complaint Resolution
Customer complaint resolution isn’t always a huge part of the job of a cafe manager, but when it comes up, it’s extremely important. This responsibility ties into taking care of your employees and backing them up in customer service. When there is a customer complaint or a customer causing trouble, it’s your responsibility to support your employee and resolve the conflict.
3. Health and Safety Standards Management
Health and safety standards management is a task for the cafe team at large, but the bulk of organizing these standards rests with the cafe manager. There are rules and regulations you need to follow in a cafe business. As the manager, it’s your job to make sure those rules are being kept up with and to correct any issues before they become a problem.
2. Hiring Employees
Hiring employees is the start of your managerial responsibilities with the cafe staff. You and the cafe owner will work together on finding the right staff, but ultimately, the hiring tasks will be on your to-do list.
1. Managing Scheduling
Managing scheduling is one of the most specific and important ways you can support your staff. This involves creating the schedule and working with employees as they request time off and specific days off. It’s weekly work that will give you a consistent opportunity to look after your staff.
Cafe Management: The Makings of a Well-Managed Cafe
Cafe management comes with a lot of responsibility and hard work. It’s fulfilling work, fueled by customer experience and pride in your team and the work you accomplish. It’s one of many parts of working at a cafe.
Working at a cafe brings you into a delightful, bustling business. Whether you’re the Sous chef, a restaurant cashier or host, or a restaurant busser, there’s so much opportunity in all types of cafes. You could work in cafe and restaurant management, or as a cafe accountant to deal with operating expenses. The options are (nearly) endless with these 13 key cafe jobs.
13. Cafe Owner
The cafe owner is the start of the list, from a hierarchical standpoint, of the people who work at a cafe. In some cases, the owner will also be the manager, a supervisor, and even fill in the accountant role.
12. Cafe Manager
The cafe manager is responsible for the daily cafe management operations. This includes everything from employee management and support to inventory ordering and stock maintenance.
11. Cafe Accountant
The cafe accountant is a very specific role within the jobs that fall within a cafe business. The accountant is responsible for keeping track of revenue and expenses, to keep the business on budget and in profit.
Servers are one of the most important links in the chain of working at a cafe. Servers are responsible for taking orders, delivering food, and ensuring customer satisfaction.
The chef is part of the team that makes up the kitchen staff in a cafe business. The chef can be a Sous chef or other type of chef. The key ingredient is that they manage the kitchen and oversee the dishes.
8. Kitchen Prep Workers
The kitchen prep workers in a cafe business report to the chef, and are another key component in keeping the cafe running smoothly. Having the best kitchen prep workers means your cafe provides great meals on a timely basis.
If your cafe has coffee options, a barista may be in order. The barista's job revolves solely around making coffee orders and keeping the coffee equipment in good working order.
6. Mixologist or Bartender
The mixologist or bartender is a necessary part of your cafe business when it comes to serving up the best drinks. Your bartender or mixologist will be in charge of drink mixing and serving at the bar top.
One part of the work of the kitchen comes from the prep workers. The other part comes in the post-meal work with the dishwashers. Hiring a few dishwashers to keep your kitchen stocked with clean dishes will ease your kitchen process.
Bussers are the flip side of the server coin. Bussers are responsible for clearing away dishes and cleaning and sanitizing the tables in between guests.
Barbacks work with the mixologist or bartender to keep the bar space efficient. They clean, serve drinks, and provide support to the bartender or mixologist as needed.
2. Sommeliers and Cicerones
Sommeliers and cicerones–certified beer specialists–work in a similar range to mixologists and bartenders. The difference is the level of specification in the job of a sommelier or cicerone. Their specialties are their focus in all their customer service roles.
The host of a cafe business is a tidy role, but it’s oh-so-important to the overall success of the business. The host welcomes in customers as they arrive, and they set the tone for the entire cafe.
Hiring for Cafe Work
When it comes to hiring for cafe work, there are plenty of skills you should interview for. In your restaurant interview questions, ask about customer service experience, kitchen and food handling skills, and teamwork experience. When you take care in the interview process, you’ll fill your employee roster with all the best people.
Cafe Work: Cafes Can Be the Work For You
Working at a cafe is busy, fulfilling, exciting work. It’s an active space with a lot going on every day. For cafe owners and workers alike, the day-to-day operations can be hectic, but oh-so worth it. As a cafe owner, you can mix up that daily work and experience by exploring unique cafe ideas.
"Key Takeaway: Working as part of a team at a cafe business built around a passion for customer service and great food is, by nature, a joyful experience. With the right team, cafe work can be one of the best jobs out there."
Learning how to open a cafe gives you the opportunity to dive into unique cafe ideas. From the customers to people working at a cafe, leaning into a unique idea for the cafe gives time spent there a more delightful experience. For all types of cafes, these nine unique cafe ideas can add to the business model and food service of the cafe.
Cafe Theme Ideas
Giving your cafe business a theme can help you effortlessly make use of unique cafe ideas. There is so much variety in the theme options you can choose from, so you can truly make this idea your own. These three cafe theme ideas are all excellent, you can’t go wrong with any of them, whether you’re hosting brunch or setting up for dinners.
3. Indoor Garden Theme
An indoor garden theme is a great way to brighten up your cafe and bring life into the space. You can have a mix of hanging plants, shelved plants along the walls, and potted plants. If you have an outdoor space you can even have a classic garden area.
2. Book Cafes
Book cafes are a theme that has been rising in popularity, and there is still so much room for this wonderful theme to grow. One of the best options for starting a book cafe is to create a space where customers can sit and dine, and also browse bookshelves.
1. Parisian Theme
A Parisian theme is excellent for so many cafes. The classical, relaxed setting of a cafe immediately invites themes from Paris and French living in general. You can lean into the Parisian theme by looking at famous Paris cafes and emulating their style and menu options.
Cafe Food Presentation Ideas
Among the unique cafe ideas that relate to the direct customer experience are unique cafe food presentation ideas. Having delicious food should be your main goal from day one. To emphasize that goal, cafe food presentation gives you a way to spruce up each dish. These three ideas will give you a feel for how you can change up food presentation.
3. Cafe-Themed Dishware
Cafe-themed dishware is a subtle way of branding your cafe and sprucing up every dish. Something as simple as a logo stamped in a brand color on each plate, bowl, and cup will give you a uniformed food presentation.
2. Semi-Table Prepared Dishes
When you think about semi-table prepared dishes, the image that comes to mind is likely something along the lines of a hibachi grill type of place. While your cafe might make use of those tools, this tip can apply to anything that involves the meal presentation taking part at the table.
1. Edible Garnishes
Edible garnishes are one of the most beautiful and tasteful ways to incorporate food presentation into the ideas of your cafe business. From edible flowers to drinks with a skewer of treats involved, edible garnishes are a win with every customer.
Cafe Holiday Ideas
Cafe holiday ideas are a unique subset of cafe themes in some cases, and a completely unique type of unique cafe idea in others. The mix of ideas among these three cafe holiday ideas showcase the range of ways you can celebrate different holidays in your cafe, to wow your customers any day of the year.
3. Unconventional National Holiday Celebrations
There are so many national holidays we celebrate these days. They include things like National Cocktail Day, National Pinot Grigio Day, International Bagpipe Day, and National Wine Day. You can celebrate all these holidays and more for a unique theme throughout the year.
2. Holiday Promotions
Holiday promotions aren’t just about the unique national holidays. You can lean into promotions for the typical holidays throughout the year. Holidays spent out and about, like Valentine’s Day or Halloween, are particularly well suited to these promotions.
1. Special Birthday Treats
Special birthday treats are something you would benefit from having on hand for any birthdays that come into your cafe. From unique menu items to a special delivery method, giving customers a special way to celebrate birthdays will add something extra to your cafe.
Finding Unique Plans for Cafes: Showcase What Makes Your Cafe One-of-a-Kind
These nine unique cafe ideas will give you the place to start to find the niche for your cafe. You can use these ideas as they are, or use them as a jumping-off point. Either way, finding the unique parts of your cafe plan will make your business successful, and bring joy to your work. They can also help you grow into a cafe franchise business.
The process to open a cafe, write a cafe business plan, and prepare for all the daily operations to keep a cafe running smoothly is a long, ultimately satisfying project. Once you’ve opened your cafe and gotten it running with marketing strategies for cafes and unique cafe ideas, however, what’s next? What are your potential growth opportunities?
If you’re looking for the next step, a cafe franchise business plan is a great option. These eight steps will help you get there.
8. Analyze Your Franchise Potential
The first step of getting your cafe ready for franchising is checking out your franchise potential. Do your finances make this a feasible choice? Are you ready and organized with the paperwork? Has your cafe brought in the right numbers to expand to new locations? These are the questions you need to answer.
7. Create a Franchise Budget
Creating a franchise budget at the beginning of creating your cafe franchise business plan will give you a head start. Check out the costs for all your franchise license needs and marketing requirements to make sure you’re ready.
6. Prepare Your Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD)
Your franchise disclosure document or FDD is the selling sheet you present to potential franchise owners. It’s the place for an extensive explanation of how the franchisor and franchisee relationship will work, and what franchisees can expect.
5. Prepare Your Franchise Operations Manual
Preparing your franchise operations manual goes hand-in-hand with preparing your franchise disclosure document. The operations manual is your place to explain how every part of the cafe works, so that franchisees have a full game plan.
4. Review Your Trademarks and Intellectual Property
Part of franchising your cafe means giving other folks permission to use your brand and all related intellectual property. To prepare for that, make sure you have your logos and any specific intellectual property trademarked, to avoid issues down the road.
3. Establish a Franchise Company In the Eyes of the Law
While you’re already set up with a general business license, you need another one for a franchise business. BinWise isn’t a legal advisor and we can’t tell you exactly what you’ll need for your location. You will, however, need a new level of business licensing to be set as a franchise. Check out your local government to find what you need.
2. Issue and Register Your FDD
Once you have all your papers in order and you’re legally set up to be a franchise cafe, it’s time to issue and register your FDD. A lawyer will come in handy for getting your documents where they need to go. From there, follow your local guidelines to get your FDD where it needs to go.
1. Develop Your Franchise Sales Strategy
Developing your franchise sales strategy is something you’ll likely think about while you work through every process on this list. How will you get the word out to potential franchisees? From networking in the right spaces to meeting people organically, selling your franchise pitch is the peak of the work you’ll do to prepare your cafe for franchising.
Franchising Your Cafe Business: Grow Your Cafe to Franchises and Beyond
A cafe franchise business plan can help you grow your cafe beyond the confines of your first location, or even your first few locations. Starting a cafe often starts with a small space and big dreams that blend together into a beautiful space. When it’s time to grow, you can take those dreams and plans and make them into something more with a franchise.
"Key Takeaway: Learning how to franchise a cafe business will build on your cafe business knowledge and give you more to work with.
The Guide to Cafe Businesses: Realize Your Cafe Business Dreams
This BinWise guide to cafe businesses is here for you whenever you need a refresher on running a cafe business. From the first few days of planning and opening to the ongoing operations of your business, come on back any time to keep your cafe plans moving forward.