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Caffeinated Calamity

An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Cafe Creation

Starting a cafe can be the beginning of an amazing journey of success and passion.

In this rapidly growing industry fraught with pitfalls and promise, many cafes start with the best intentions but, at some point, something goes awry.

How can you protect your business from going the way of so many before it, and shutting down before the first or second year is up? How can you push it into the limelight sufficiently to bring more customers in? How can you, the cafe owner, kickstart my coffee obsession? We have put together a list of a few things to keep in mind when starting a new cafe, to help your new business grow into a thriving, valuable asset to you.


When it comes to starting a cafe, location is the factor you need to take into account months, or even years before actually opening your doors. A perfect cafe with everything running smoothly and professionally can still fail dismally without good placement, as the number of people in direct proximity to the cafe needs to be as high as possible.

Many cafes have found success by placing their roots down in side streets in residential areas nearby to busy main roads, such as main streets or city centers. This placement means that they avoid the high rental of the shop fronts on the main road but maintain the exposure, as well as becoming home to many regular customers from the surrounding houses.


The ingredients of your food and drinks can turn the tide of your customer intake, as high quality ingredients in food and drink make for better quality food and drink in general, and word travels quickly about quality cafes. Similarly, word travels quickly and terrible cafes, and that reputation should be avoided where possible by using higher quality ingredients.

Good coffee is a must in all cafes, as many cafes do not apply by this rule, the ones that do stand out in the minds of it’s customers as places to return to, and so your one-time customers become regular customers, boosting your sales and your customer satisfaction.


A theme can be a great way to let news about your cafe travel through word of mouth. Any place can be a cafe that serves coffee and has raw wooden tables, but a cafe with a theme brings out the imagination of its customers, and sticks in their memory.

Even something as simple as a themed menu can leave a lasting impression on a visitor to your business, and lasting impressions are usually talked about amongst friends. Whatever theme you pick, doing it well is very important, as a negative lasting impression can be a death sentence for a cafe.


Learning the costs of your cafe early on is a good idea, because it allows you to plan for the future in a financial sense. Does your cafe have a grease trap that will need to be emptied? Does it have a particularly wasteful lighting system? Will it’s rent likely go up while you are based there, or is there much competition in the area? These are all things that can impact the financial future of the cafe, and need to be taken into consideration before opening, ideally.


The benefits of owning a successful cafe can be as perplexing as the costs, as your decision changes from what costs to cut to what the future of your business will be. A successful strategy employed by many cafe owners is to start a cafe, build up the business, then sell it within two years of opening, which ensures it sells while still making a lot of money, and before any major changes occur.

Another way to go can be building up the business and keeping it while employing a manager to run it for you. This way is less immediately profitable, but in the long run provides a more stable income for you and your workers.

Cafes are tricky places to run, as the many factors that can dictate success or failure are often hard to control and hard to recognise, in some circumstances, but the end result is always rewarding – a place to call your own.

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