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Your Guide to Starting a Cafe

Now that you’re up to speed on our general guide to starting your business, it’s time to get to the nitty-gritty details of opening a coffee shop.

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Pros
  • Ability to be your own boss and have more control over your career
  • If successful, financial reward will be superior to working for somebody else
  • Open and peak hours are more likely to be during normal business hours and daytime weekends, in contrast to restaurants or bars
  • Ability to utilise a range of different skills that you may not get as a regular cafe employee
  • Ability to meet a lot of new people, and establish the ‘goodwill’ of the local community
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Cons
  • Running a cafe is not a job and ‘business hours’ don’t exist: it requires a significant investment of personal time and planning
  • Cafes can fail – meaning huge drain and stress on financial resources and time lost
  • Subject to seasonal variances, meaning cash flow can be a notable stress point for cafe owners
  • You will need a range of different capabilities beyond hospitality to be a successful owner of a cafe; including business and finance management skills
  • Employee tenure can be lower than other industries; meaning higher time investment required to find and train staff

Licencing Requirements – Which Cafe Licences Do I Need?

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Business Licences

You’ll need to apply for a business licence and registration from the local council. The local council will ask you to provide information such as:

  • Your food business classification
  • The type of food to be served
  • Whether food is pre-packaged
  • The name of your food safety representative

For information on the process with your local council, visit the Australian Business Licence and Information Service.

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Council Certificates

You’ll also need to apply for a number of certificates from the local council, including perhaps:

  • A zoning certificate
  • A construction certificate
  • A fire safety certificate
  • A compliance certificate
  • An occupation certificate

You’ll then need to pay the associated fees and fill out the required paperwork.

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Food Licensing

If you plan to serve food in your cafe, you’ll need to follow food business licensing requirements, which also vary from state to state.

Food business licensing ensures your venue can produce safe food before it is supplied or prepared for the local community. Licensing requirements vary depending on the size of the venue and state or territory where you’re establishing the business. You can view the relevant licensing requirements for your bar below:

There are also several other licenses that you may require, so it’s best to seek advice.

Download the guide and get started with our bonus checklist!

Download the guide and get started with our bonus checklist!

How to Find Your Perfect Cafe Shop Venue: Choosing Your Location

Location can make or break your café business, so it’s important you consider every aspect of it, including the pros and cons of a specific location before setting up shop. A coffee shop is a versatile business that can really make the most of many kinds of locations.

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Questions to ask yourself when choosing a location for your cafe.

  • How many people reside locally, and who are they?
  • Is the area densely populated and are they the sort of people who will want to leave home for a coffee and a bite to eat? Check out the area for yourself.
  • Is there parking?
  • Is there foot traffic?
  • What else is in the neighbourhood?
  • Are you in or close to a shopping precinct?
  • Is the café near an industrial park or a business community?
  • Are you close to a beach, a park or a tourist destination? It’s rare for the café to be a primary destination for customers, so consider what makes the area special.
  • What can you offer to the community that is new and innovative?If you plan to move in somewhere with a lot of competition, you will need to really stand out from the crowd.
  • What are you planning to offer that is different to or better than potential competitors?

Download the guide and get started with our bonus checklist!

Download the guide and get started with our bonus checklist!

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Like what you see? Talk to Us

Get in touch with our hospitality POS experts to see how Impos can help your business thrive.

Like what you see? Talk to Us

Get in touch with our hospitality POS experts to see how Impos can help your business thrive.