Have you always dreamed of running your very own cafe? Are you passionate about coffee and ready to keep folks caffeinated? You may be among a growing number of people for whom the answer is yes, so we spoke to the experts at Coffee Culture to help you map out the path to success.
Opening your own coffee-house is a business undertaking; it requires time, thought and patience to succeed. To make your fantasy real and profitable, you need to understand both the challenges and opportunities you will face as a cafe or small business owner.
From planning permissions to managing your margins to sorting out your first order of compostable cups, there are many intricacies to consider.
Here are a few expert tips from Coffee Culture to get your dream cafe off to a flying start.
1. Be Different
Don’t be afraid to stand out. Think how your cafe’s offerings could be different to other places selling coffee (e.g. your competition). Your USP (unique selling point) will help you shine and drive attention.
For example, Fabiani, Longford, has created a truly experiential shopping venue coupled with specialty coffee in order to stand out and be different in Longford.
Analyse options and consider what might be the best solution for your location, premises, skills and potential customers.
2. Understand Your Community
Cafes don’t live in silos. You need to ‘read’ the environment your business will live in. If you are located in a busy office district, your set-up, menus, and services should differ to what is suitable for a leafy suburban spot. That will help find your niche and structure your approach.
Understanding your potential customers is vital for achieving success. After all, you need to give people a reason to come back. In 2013 Ruth and Stephen Deasy, the team behind Bear Market Coffee, Blackrock spent nearly a year rolling a pop up coffee cart onto the street every morning and talking coffee with people, getting to know their tastes and needs.
In a crowded market place, a year later they owned their first bricks and mortar shop and today they have four.
3. Think Quality Over Quantity
Coffee fans pay attention to the quality of coffee we drink. We appreciate our cup of joe, and expect it to taste good. As a result, customers rely on the expertise of you, the barista.
Barista training is nowadays a standard requirement for anyone opening a cafe. You should be familiar with various grind sizes, understand different pouring techniques, and the importance of calibrating and testing your coffee recipes.
Making a cup of great coffee is a real skill that takes time to develop and polish. Investing in such courses does pay off; coffee devotees return for more, and they tend to bring friends along.
4. Learn From Experts
The cafe start up process is not easy. Luckily, there are people you can turn to for advice and support. Try talking to industry experts and other cafe entrepreneurs. You can also avail of professional advice courtesy of cafe consultancy and training services.
Coffee Culture’s ‘Start Your Own Cafe’ workshop is a great place to start planning your cafe. This workshop can help you navigate all the aspects of running a coffee shop.
5. Plan, Execute, Revise, Repeat
There will be a lot of items on your list to build a cafe from scratch, such as quality equipment and suppliers.
Don’t leave anything to chance. You have to be aware of how well (or not) your cafe is doing. Plan your expenses and track your money. Be realistic and smart about your goals and activities.
It takes time for any investment to turn into a success story. We’re in the middle of an exciting new project in Thurles, Co. Tipperary, Deja Brew.
Follow the story with us via the hashtag #dejabrewthurles or dejabrewcoffee15, opening before Christmas, to take a peek into the café setup process.
Although daunting, opening your cafe can be an exciting and rewarding challenge. With proper planning and preparation, you can be a part of the caffeinated movement that is sweeping the nation.
Coffee Culture are the market leaders in creating brand standards for the hospitality industry and training your staff how to deliver each cup with consistency. See their courses HERE.
Coffee Culture is about much more than roasting exceptional coffee. We believe in building open and honest relationships with the best cafés in Ireland, who share our values and passion for coffee. It’s in our nature to share information openly and proactively with those who have a thirst for excellence.
We serve and support cafés, so that together, we can satisfy, delight and nourish our customers.