When it comes to knowing how to open a cafe, the process isn’t much different than a regular restaurant. However, because of the smaller scale, cafes typically require a bit less funding overall. Regardless, cafes are very popular in general and can be a pretty lucrative opportunity for you.

Whether it’s for dates, college students hanging out, friends meeting up, or business people stepping in for their morning coffee, cafes appeal to just about anyone for a variety of reasons. A cafe is especially great for those of you looking to break into the food industry on a more manageable budget than a restaurant. However, even though it’ll typically be cheaper than your standard restaurant, the road to opening your cafe will be pretty similar.

How To Open A Cafe In 8 Easy Steps

  • Make A Business Plan
  • Make Your Company
  • Decide On A Location
  • Get Financing
  • Get Permits and Licenses
  • Buy Your Equipment and Setup Your Vendors
  • Get Employees
  • Advertise Yourself

How To Open A Cafe: Make A Business Plan

Even though a cafe is smaller than a restaurant, there’s still quite a bit of research and planning to do. Firstly, you’ll need to decide on what you want your cafe’s focus to be. For example, it could be entirely coffee-focused, breakfast, bagels, or maybe all of those. The important takeaway is to know what you want your cafe to do and who you want to appeal to.

It’s also important to get a feel for how a cafe operates. Go out to a few successful cafes and pay attention to what they do and what you’d need to do to be great. And with whatever you decide, be sure to put in the work to produce high-quality products for your future customers. Your business plan should include everything from the type of cafe, the name, target demographic, costs for everything, menu, pricing, internet (free wi-fi) and more.

How To Open A Cafe: Make Your Company

When it comes down to it, when you’re starting up your cafe, there are four important types of businesses you can choose to be: limited liability, sole proprietorship, corporation, and partnership.

Most smaller businesses tend to go with a limited liability company as a way to limit the business’ liability on assets and protects you from any lawsuits that could potentially occur. However, it’s never a bad idea to seek legal counsel in order to decide which type of company is best for you.

How To Open A Cafe: Decide On A Location

Whatever your vision for the cafe is, the location will have to be in an area that gets the kind of traffic you’re looking for. If you are thinking about working men and women, maybe choose somewhere near a few business buildings. However, if you’re imagining people staying, hanging out, or studying, a place near a university might be your best option. Outside of that, be sure to be in an area where public transportation and parking are readily available.

No matter what, it’s important to be sure that the location you want allows for a cafe to be established there. And beyond that, be sure to pick areas with a high volume of people regularly on the street.

Once you’ve established on where you want your cafe to be, you’ll have to get a lease. Again, it’s best to bring an attorney to help advise you and document the leasing process. Since a business lease isn’t the same as an apartment, there are a few things you’ll need to consider So, getting legal help to establish the best lease options is an absolute must.

How To Open A Cafe: Get Financing

Funding will mostly depend on the size of your cafe, the location, interior aesthetic, and any renovations that may need to be done. Beyond that, you’ll need to have all of the equipment and appliances required to create whatever you decide on selling.

Alternative lenders can provide you with Startup Funding, Business Lines Of Credit, Equipment Financing, and more. You don’t have to go through the rough process of talking with banks, and the benefit of alternative lenders is that they’re willing to take more risks.

How To Open A Cafe: Get Permits And Licenses

Starting a cafe means you’re going to need a few different permits and licenses. However, licenses and permits can vary depending on which state you’re in. Other than that, you’ll likely need licenses such as IRS ID, a seller’s permit, health operation permit, food safety certificate, food handler permit, and more.

How To Open A Cafe: Buy Your Equipment And Setup Your Vendors

As we talked about above, your cafe will need to have equipment and vendors in order to operate. With Equipment Financing, you can fund whatever you need to make your cafe operational. It’s one of the easiest loans to acquire, and the benefit is that the equipment is the collateral. When it comes down to it, you’ll need things like refrigerators, freezers, coffee brewers, and prep stations for your cafe.

Beyond that, you’ll need to have an established contract with vendors to provide your cafe with the high-quality food and beverage you want to sell.

How To Open A Cafe: Get Employees

You won’t need the number of employees a traditional restaurant would have, but you’ll need to have a team that best fits the vision of how you want your cafe to be. You’ll have to hire enough people to cover all of the basic tasks you have. You may need a waitress or a barista, a dishwasher or busboy, and– well we’re sure you get it. Once you have all the people you need, it’s best to train them up as much as possible to avoid any mistakes or issues.

How To Open A Cafe: Advertise Yourself

Once you’ve gone through all of the above and had your cafe inspected by the health department, you’re ready to start selling. No matter where you are, you’ll likely have a bit of competition in the area, so it’s best to do something to distinguish your business from the rest. Creating social media accounts, a website, blogs, and even contacting a local publication can be a great way to get the word out there.

Finance Factory Can Help You Fund Your Cafe

Interested in finding funding for your Cafe? Finance Factory would love to help! If you’re looking to fund your business within the next 30 to 90 days for $25,000 to $500,00 and have a credit score of 660 or better, let’s chat! Get pre-qualified right now with our quick-step pre-qualification form! And don’t worry, this will not result in a hard credit inquiry of sensitive information. We just want to learn more about you and your business. Click below to get started!