Before abandoning all hope, however, do your homework regarding the steps required to start a cafe.
With the right planning beforehand, your cafe will stand a fighting chance of success, and of becoming the small business of your dreams.
Hard to believe, but achieving gold status at Starbucks does not an independent café owner make.
A lot goes into a great cup of coffee, and it's the same for a great coffee shop, says Matt Milletto, vice president of Portland, Ore.'s Bellissimo Coffee Info Group, a company that's trained thousands on the art of opening and running a successful retail coffee business.
Finding good, reliable suppliers is a key component of any business success.
Depending on the type of café, the major suppliers are usually coffee, milk, bread, fresh produce and groceries.Yes, you must differentiate yourself from the competition with a cool concept, but base it around what you can afford. Apply it to the layout, music, décor, furniture, customer flow and even the equipment behind the bar. Then train (and retain) the right employees, who can make or break your operation. There's money to be made in specialty coffee, but in order to make a living, you have to invest serious time and energy into getting it and serving it.Coffee retail is a high-volume, low-transaction business, and big coffeehouses can require a quarter of a million dollars in startup costs. "It's very important," Milletto declares, "to have true passion for coffee." There are plenty of ways to find caffeinated success via the franchise route. franchises: 90 Cost range to launch: .4K to 5K Gloria Jean's Coffees Total U. franchises: 81 Cost range to launch: 8.6K to 3.7K Bad Ass Coffee Total U. franchises: 41 Cost range to launch: 7K to 6K Biggby Coffee Total U. franchises: 108 Cost range to launch: 0.5K to 0.1K Dunn Bros Coffee Total U. franchises: 86 Cost range to launch: 8.2K to 6.1K Scooter's Coffeehouse Total U. And here’s the fun part — it also means visiting lots of cafés to get an insight into what you want your business to be like. Write down what you want to achieve with your café and what kind of atmosphere you want to create.Consider what you will take from other businesses and what will make you different. Start collecting photos, menus and design ideas to provide inspiration for how your café will look, what kind of food you’ll serve, and how you’ll make your customers feel when they walk in the door.Having your vision clearly defined will help you be consistent when it comes to choosing a name, deciding on the decor, planning the food, choosing the coffee, picking the cups and defining the way you’ll interact with customers. “Who’s going to read it”…are the thoughts that come to mind.Remember: you can’t please everybody – so make sure you know exactly who it is you’re designing this for. In reality, the real benefit in putting together a business plan is less about the final document, and more about the process.Because of you, mornings will be brighter and afternoons will seem less stressful. It’s essential that you spend time now understanding what it takes to run a successful cafe. Knowing your customers well will assist with planning, creating a menu, price points — everything really!This means reaching out to coffee business veterans and learning from their experience; finding out what works, and what doesn’t. No doubt you have big plans and already have a mental image of your café up and running.Opening a successful coffee shop can be a rewarding experience. This step-by-step guide to opening a café will help get you on the right track.Because of you, hundreds of friends will have great conversations. Opening a cafe takes a big investment in both time and money.