Lots of people dream of opening the perfect little cafe or tearoom. The reality of getting started, though, is far from a dream. It takes a lot of hard work and a lot of form filling! First, you need to find the right premises, then you need to negotiate the use and the rent. And passing all the food hygiene and health compliance requirements is even more of a challenge. Is it all worth it?
Many cafe owners do enjoy their job enormously. It’s the perfect little business for them as they can enjoy the company of their customers and delight in providing them with a little getaway each day. Cafes are the place where customers come to natter with friends. They take a time out from work or shopping to have a coffee break and relax. It’s a positive venue for a positive purpose. Of course, that puts a lot of pressure on you to provide all that!
Coffee shops or cafes also provide a little indulgence and treat. Cakes and cookies are enormously important here. They provide the opportunity for to upsell from the basic coffee order. And they can be what really attracts your clientele, especially the larger groups! Cakes have the biggest shelf space and take pride of place in the display cabinet.
Baking your own cakes can turn into quite the little earner. Firstly, they’ll be unique, and they’ll be fresh. This is a very attractive quality when customers are looking for a little indulgence. You will need to install your business kitchen equipment behind the scenes though. While many cafes have their coffee machines just behind the counter, cake baking really needs to be done in a formal catering kitchen. This means you will need a bigger premises, and you’ll need to meet stricter hygiene and safety compliance requirements.
Many cafes rely on footfall from passers by. This means location is everything. But if you are positioned off the beaten track, you can still entice customers to take those few extra paces to find you. Offer a delivery service to local business, and include a leaflet with a detailed map and photo of your shop with each order. You can use an A frame or human billboard to advertise where you are in the street too.
Don’t forget the power of social media. Platforms like Facebook are regularly used by community groups. You undoubtedly have one or two for your home town. Join them, and ask permission to post a promo that group members can use. You can also target advertising on social media platforms to reach only people in a particular town. Encourage visitors to your cafe to spread the word too, by offering business cards, leaflets and loyalty cards.
If you’ve got the right product, the right premises, and the right approach, your startup cafe can be every bit as successful as you hoped. Yes, it’s a lot of work, like any other emerging business. But over time, you can build up a loyal customer base, and make a name for yourself in your community. Enjoy.