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Opening Your Own Café: 8 Tips to Guide Success

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So you’ve decided to take the plunge and open your own coffee shop. Let’s assume you’ve cobbled together all the required licences and certificates and have a venue all ready to go. The next step is to consider how your café can make its mark and gain a loyal clientele?

Let’s have a look at 8 top tips on how to open your own café.

1. Plan with precision

The right plans ensure that you get off on the right footing. An overall business plan will define your business and customer base, along with your profit and growth, and will set out some trouble shooting strategies.

A floor plan of your café space will help you maximise the seating arrangements and keep handy everything that is needed for the coffee making and point of sale processes.

2. Go slow

Profit margins are small for cafes so take the time to grow your business. Spend minimally on fit outs, but don’t skimp on the espresso machinery, which is essential for offering the perfect brew.

Only hire staff that are essential to your service. Take advantage of family members or friends who are willing to help in the early days as you find your feet. It can take months to realise a profit so go slow.

3. Outsource when you can

Before we get down to the nitty gritty details of café culture, we need to consider ways to ease into small business ownership painlessly.

In this regard, it’s vital to keep the business processes as simple as possible. Save yourself time and money by using experts when you need them.

Use an accountant, who can do all the number crunching, tell it straight when you need to keep things lean, ensure good cash flow, and offer you the best strategies for saving money.

Hire an experienced barista who can offer a mean brew, and make sure you source your snacks and treats from a reputable chef.

4. Create a good first impression


Take a good look at the front of your building. This is the first impression customers will get of your business. Is the exterior of the building old and tired or fresh and new?

Don’t forget to pay attention to landscaping and signage. If people don’t like what they see they won’t even walk through the door.

5. Offer top notch product

To stand out from the crowd, your café needs to be unique. It needs an ‘X’ factor to draw customers back again and again.

Offer a consistent and quality core range of food and beverage. Whether it follows a theme (homemade fare or paleo food) or focuses on a wide variety (different options of milks, gluten free treats, etc) make sure there is a decent range.

Use your café POS system reports to make a note of the most popular items to help you establish these core options. Then every week, introduce a new exciting choice to mix things up a little.

6. Comfort, comfort, comfort!

Another way to establish your uniqueness is to create an atmosphere of comfort with a range of armchairs or cushioned seating, corner nooks and soft lighting.

Maximise your views or create attractive areas with plants. Make sure the space is appropriately climate controlled with either cooling breezes in the heat or glow heating in the cold.

Outside areas can be well protected with umbrellas in summer and made appealing with gas heaters and rugs on the backs of the chairs in the cooler times.

7. Cater to the tech crowd

Many businesses miss out on customers because they have an inadequate internet connection. Don’t be one of them.

Offer free Wi-Fi and include power plugs at a range of tables. Being tech savvy is a great way to minister to the tech tragics and have them lining up at the door.

8. The people are key

Your staff are your greatest asset. Surround yourself with enthusiastic helpers who have a willingness to learn.

And to make the best of these willing helpers, make sure a culture of appreciation and respect is established towards them. Happy staff makes for a happy workspace, and this will draw in customers like nothing else.

The other key people, of course, are the customers! Create a golden rule of customer service for all who walk through your door. Even a simple welcome and thank you will impact the customer’s experience.


Opening your own café may be a lifelong dream, but it also requires persistence, passion and plenty of hard work. Naturally, the success of your new café will also have a lot to do with how prepared you are from the beginning.

Download our extensive guide to opening your own café today to guide you on the ins and outs of starting up your own business.