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Starting up a café or coffee shop

General Info July 31st 2014

Starting up your own café will be one of the most thrilling things you’ve ever done. However, building a successful café from the ground up requires a lot of hard work, focus and a determination to succeed. It will take careful thought and a comprehensive plan. A coffee machine and a few café tables will not make the café a success. Even if you have all of the right equipment in place, it still won’t thrive if not led correctly. Below are a few helpful tips to help you in the right direction.

Start with your menu, a concept of what foods and drinks you are wanting to sell. It is imperative you begin your journey this way.

Questions you need to ask yourself when starting up a café:

  • Will you be targeting food or drink?

The difference between driving the business on the importance of your coffee superiority or the prominence of your food excellence or somewhere in between, will impact on fit-out.

  • To what level will you provide a food menu?

The difference from providing ‘just basic’ food with coffee to providing a substantial breakfast & lunch offer impacts on premises choice and cost of fit-out.

  • Will you provide table or counter service?
  • What feel do you wish to create?

Urban, contemporary, traditional, futuristic, homely, family feel or a business focus

  • Who will be your regular users?
  • ​Where will your customers come from?

Shoppers, office workers, colleges, commuters, passers-by, local residents, tourists, attraction visitors or a mixture of sources.

  • When will you be open for business?


Fundamentality the business' success can very much hinge on this alone. If the location of the café is chosen incorrectly it could be all over before it’s started.

A few crucial elements to consider before picking your location:

  • Where are your potential customers coming from?

Are there enough people in the area to support your business? For example, is the cafe location in the heart of a thriving downtown shopping centre, or along a busy road? There needs to be enough people who live in the area, or pass through the area on a regular basis to keep you busy.

  • Is your café easily accessible?
  • Are you visible to your customers?

This goes along with accessibility and is very important for new restaurant locations. People have to know the restaurant is there.

  • Take your time, don’t rush this decision!!!!

​Premises and Fit-Out

In relation to your fit–out, you should think through, research, list and source every item required to create your idea. That includes the ‘fixed’ bits such as hot water and gas supplies to how many electrical sockets, splash backs, and storage. Then you do the same for the fixtures and fittings from your main ‘coffee machine’ to the number and quality of teaspoons you will need.

Unfortunately we at Café Reality cannot supply any of the above, but we can offer high quality furniture. Café furniture is not where are expertise ends, we offer café design and in-depth planning to suit your needs. We can bring your ideas to life before you decide to plunge all your money into the furniture. Which café furniture and colours work well with the décor you have envisaged. The amount of tables and chairs you can fit into the floor place. Our highly skilled designers will help you obtain your vision using our in house design software P Con. Further to that we can send one of our project managers for a site visit to measure up the space available to take the burden off you during this very stressful period.

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3D Render


What will you call your café? Your name needs to be:

  • Memorable and easy to remember.

A short sharp name that has that certain air of pizazz. Don’t be cryptic or complex it may confuse potential customers.

  • ​​Think of how the name will fit in with the logo, menus, uniforms and social media.
  • Not stolen I.e. DON’T STEEL IT!!

Think of how you’re going to promote your business.

Internally – Counter merchandising, uniforms, menu boards and on wall messaging listing any promotions you may have on. The opportunities are endless.

Externally – Shop signs, window graphics, pavement promotions and flyers. Be sure to use the power of social media which will build brand awareness for your new café, think about your target market to ensure you get the best results.

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PLEASE NOTE: I’m not a business guru who has extensive knowledge in the business start-up field but I gathered this information from people who do.

If you are a café owner or aspire to own your own café one day, I’d love to hear from you. You never know I may be able to develop a blog around your story.

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Café Reality is a resource for those who look to source and buy hospitality furniture at a competitive price point.

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