Who is it suited to?
Despite the phenomenal success of chains such as Costa, this is not the kind of business to set up if you’re expecting a quick multimillion pound exit. Profit margins will only become significant if you open multiple outlets and even then your initial costs will be significant. However, if you’re after a lifestyle business which provides you with a modest income this could be a great business to start.
However, you need to consider the amount of work involved. Any business in the catering or hospitality industries involves hard physical labour. Unless you afford to employ staff from the outset, running a café will involve standing on your feet for the vast majority of the day.
It’s not vital that you’ve worked in a café before but as with any business, industry experience goes a long way. If you’ve never worked in a café or coffee shop before, it’s a good idea to spend at least a few weeks working in a similar establishment to the kind of one you want to open. If you pick a business in a different area there won’t be any issues with competition and you’ll find people are surprisingly receptive to offering advice if you’re honest about what you’re planning to do.
When doing her research, Sahar Hashemi, the co-founder of Coffee Republic, spent a day on the Circle Line, getting off at each of the 27 stops to investigate what type of coffee was on offer. Either way it’s important to make sure you have spent some time considering the business from more than just a customer’s point of view.
You also need to be clued up the basic principles of food preparation. Have a read of our restaurant and sandwich shop guides as many of the principles for those kind of businesses will apply here.