You dream of opening your own cafe one day, and chances are that it was inspired by your time in a favorite hangout as much as your own aspirations. You know the odds mean risking your all since the culinary game sees its fill of pioneers every year — some win and some strikeout.
The dream of running a cafe differs from opening it and keeping it that way in reality. Here are the five things you do the reduce the burden and increase your confidence in success.
Crunch the Numbers
More of a people person? That will aid your business, but you need to accept the fear and potential of both failure and success — then, crunch the numbers and plan, anyway. Many leap before they look at the figures, but doing your accounting now will increase your chances for success.
Do mock pay runs and figure out the overheads early on to set up the storage you need. Hire a solid bookkeeper or accountant as one of your first steps.
Businesses all have brands, but a brand is more than a logo, name and vibe — and having great coffee is only a quarter of the battle to standing out — you can have great coffee, but you can stand out by having your own self-serve private speciality coffee that rivals Keurig while focusing more on other specialties and customer service. You need personality to survive and thrive.
Google your neighborhood and your city — how many cafes abound? Now think: “What can my cafe offer than nowhere else can?” That’s your signature.
Sometimes, it’s in the food if your cafe intends to draw in foodies. Do you go old school greasy spoon or urban farm to table? What’s your personality beyond that? Find your point of difference and secure it.
The Menu: Keep it Simple
The beauty of going to a cafe is in knowing there’s a little something for everyone and every mood, but that doesn’t mean listing an abundance of ingredients. Choose ten ingredients. Make the most out of that to create your taste signature and shock customers with the variety you offer. Besides, you can advertise that you make the most of all your ingredients, leaving nothing to waste — hello, savings and marketing angle.
Invest in Data Knowledge
You crunched the numbers, and know it’s time to put your head in the books. With apps and modern software, anything is possible. You can get automated bank feeds, reports and security updates, which means more work-life balance.
Get your point-of-sales data sent straight to your phone and never worry. Many POS systems offer real-time reporting and even tell you how many new customers walked in on any given day in addition to labor costs, food costs and sales data categorized by item or hour.
Here’s a controversial but successful example. No matter how you feel about Starbucks, that brand knows how to diversify and keep multiplying. From CDs to signature take-home roasts, multiple revenue streams is constantly their money-making remix.
Your diversification specialization may mean more of a catering side gig than signature roasts, but do what feels right for your brand. You’ll position your brand to move in multiple angles in the ultimate checkmate with your competitors.
Becoming a Community-Oriented Cafe
Soda and juice demands decline while consumer need for more coffee, tea and bottled water climbs annually. 64 percent of adults drank one coffee the previous day according to the 2017 National Coffee Association survey which is the highest degree recorded within six years. Back in the nineties, that number fell below 50 percent, and now it rises. When it comes to at-home consumption, 79 percent said they indulged in a cup of Joe when asked what they drank yesterday. Another 90 percent said they ordered through an app for pick up or delivery.
While that sounds both convenient and isolating, the world thrives on connection, and the internet brings more people together. Use technology to recenter people back around the hearth and community. Let them self-serve or order through an app, but let them also watch a barista make it while engaging them in conversation. Create a lending library or offer a stack of toys and games for all ages.
The green, mindfulness and local movements all point consumers back to their home environment. So, capitalize on that with authenticity. Capture the flavor of your community, and help define it with your particular roast or signature combination of simple spices on your menu. Ask: “How does my business serve the community?”
If already involved in your community, why not see if locals would be willing to invest a small portion into your business or donate money to start your business, especially if you consider turning your cafe into a nonprofit that benefits other social causes.
A cafe brings folks together over a warm cup of coffee or a delicious homemade grilled cheese sandwich served with a hot cup of tomato-basil soup. A cafe takes you to simpler times and offers a regular spot you can go to unwind or focus on work — consider these ideas seriously because your customers will.