Business Startup

Beginner’s Guide to Starting a Successful Cafe Business

Picturesque Greek cafe
Written by MicroStartups

Have you often wondered how to start a cafe, but don’t know where to start?

Getting started in the food and beverage industry can be a daunting task. However, you can set yourself up for success by following a proven strategy that has worked for many businesses.

As you get started, you’ll want to pay close attention to your cafe’s concept, select a great location, and plan out how your cafe will be managed on a day-to-day basis.

For restaurants, a continuous flow of customers are the lifeblood of their business. It is also equally important to ensure their satisfaction through great management and service. Satisfied customers can encourage growth through referral and customer loyalty programs.

Creating Your Cafe Concept

Beautiful Greek cafe called Kozi

Image source: Pixabay

Your cafe should be unique. Franchises ensure the standard fare and people know what to expect. However, when it comes to a cafe, there should be something that sets the experience apart.

Your concept should include design, themes, colors. You could also choose whether or not you want to create a mood with a certain genre of music. Will your menu reflect a certain location? Will you feature artisanal foods? These are all great questions to consider as you create the concept for your cafe. Write down in detail what your vision for your cafe will be.

Read More: 6 Ideas for Small Restaurant Designs to Put a Smile on Your Face

Selecting The Perfect Location

When it comes to a good location for a cafe or business, you want to have plenty of food traffic. Cafes and restaurants should be located in a place where there are other businesses that people regularly patronize.

If your location is off the beaten path, you’ll have to do more marketing to ensure that people know about it. You also won’t benefit from the exhausted shoppers who decide to drop in for a bite as they pass by during their shopping trip.

When deciding on a location, you may want to look for spaces that have been used as cafes before. However, you should do your homework and discover why they closed to avoid the same pitfalls.

Creating Your Business Plan

Businesses tend to fail without a solid plan of action. This is particularly true when it comes to cafes and restaurants. There are many things to consider as you create your business plan. You’ll want to know what foods that you’ll be serving, the ideal customers, the busiest hours, the number of staff that you’ll need to serve them as well as the amount of food to have on hand.

You’ll also need a marketing plan to ensure that your community knows about your restaurant or cafe. Marketing for a cafe can be done in local newspapers, through partnerships with school fundraisers, and with signs.

You’ll want to create a checklist of the things that your cafe needs to do. These include getting a business license, finding food vendors, hiring staff and marketing the cafe to the public.

Restaurant Management

Successfully running a restaurant requires careful planning and implementation. This is where a great POS comes into play. This can help you to efficiently manage everything from you inventory to seating.

A great restaurant POS can help you to manage your menu inventory. It can track what is being ordered the most and which items you may want to delete from your menu. Regularly evaluating your customer’s favorites can help you determine what is hot and what is not.

A POS can also help you collect payment and pay your employees. It can provide you with up to the minute review of your guest count, sales, tax and revenue centers.

Read More: Five Ways Your Restaurant POS Can Create Happy Customers and Drive Repeat Sales

Cafe till register set up.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Hiring Quality Employees

Your employees can make or break your business with their customer service. Therefore, it is essential that you hire the best people to represent your restaurant.

The hiring process starts long before the interview. When you place an advertisement for job openings, you want to ensure that you are attracting quality individuals. The key to doing this is to be very specific with your wording in the job advertisement. Ensure that you are stating whether the position is full-time or part time. Mention specifically what is expected of your staff.

During the interview, look for people who are interested in the food and beverage industry. They will be less likely to leave when the going gets tough. Another important trait to look for is people who have a passion about something. Someone who has a passion is more interesting and can help with customer engagement.

Lady working in a cafe

Image source: Pixabay

The Grand Opening

The Grand Opening is the introduction of your cafe to the community that it will serve. Having a grand opening will create a lot of people talking about your cafe and getting excited to try your foods. Therefore, you should put plenty of thought and effort into planning an exceptional grand opening.

Before you have your official grand opening, you may want to do a trial run with friends and family. This is a “soft” opening. It will help you to ensure that your processes are working well and in place before you introduce your restaurant to the general public.

Get the word out about your event as much as you can. You can use influencers to spread the word about your event.

The grand opening should be fun and exciting. Incorporate a theme into your event to make it even more unique and special. For example, if it is around Valentine’s day, you could include love and hearts as your theme.

Check out more: Grand Opening Ideas

Creating Repeat Business with Loyalty Programs

Once your customers have had a great experience at your cafe, it is important to keep them coming back and referring their friends and family. However, often people will forget about a cafe during their busy lives.

A loyalty program that rewards customers for their repeat business can take your cafe to the next level. Chick-Fil-A’s 2017 sales were exceptional. Their success can be attributed to the loyalty program that they implemented. It has over 13 million active users.

A reward system is simple and easy to create. With programs like CandyBar, you can easily select the rewards that you want to offer. When purchases are made, they can earn loyalty points and be notified when they have earned a reward.

Loyalty programs ensure repeat business with satisfied customers. Customers will choose businesses with loyalty rewards programs over those without them.

A 2016 study from Accenture Interactive discovered customers who are members of loyalty programs generate between 12 and 18 percent more revenue than non-members. Therefore, a loyalty program can help to maximize your revenue.

Generate New Business with Referral Rewards

People love to share their experiences with great restaurants. This can generate even more business for your cafe if you encourage their referrals with a referral program.

“One customer, well taken care of, could be more valuable than $10,000 worth of advertising.” – Jim Rohn, Motivational Speaker

Offering your customers rewards for referring their friends not only creates more loyalty and engagement with your brand, but it also generates new business when their friends and family come.

A referral rewards program can be a simple free menu item for referring a friend. You could make this a free dessert or a main dish. It is up to you.


Creating your own successful cafe is possible when you make sure that you follow a well devised plan. You should create a cafe concept that resonates with your community in a location that is convenient. Make sure your business plan and management plan cover all the basis. Hire quality employees to ensure customer satisfaction. Finally, strategically market to your clients and reward them with loyalty and rewards points.

About Melinda Curle:
Melinda is a blogger at ReferralCandy and CandyBar. She loves learning about internet marketing and maintaining her own fitness blog. She enjoys running, swimming, dancing and Pilates.

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A team of writers and marketers, MicroStartups was founded to inspire the entrepreneurial and business community to give back. We believe in business growth through giving and supporting the local community.

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