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10 Things You Should Know Before Opening A Café Business In India

10 things you should know before opening a café. Don't we all love a good café? If you are also keen to enter the café business. Read on to know more

[ If you are also keen to enter the café business, it’s best to consider these ten things you should know before opening a café. Read on to know more.]

Don’t we all love a good café? Many of us have even contemplated opening one when we visit a well-run café. However, being an ex-hotelier myself and having seen my parents run a café of their own, I know that setting up and running a café is not as easy as it looks.

As someone who wants to start a café someday, I have already done my share of research.

Ten things you should know before opening a café.

  • As an owner of a café, you need to be hands-on! 

As an owner, if you have envisioned yourself just sitting at the counter and counting the moolah, you need to think again.

Whether you hire someone to manage things in the café or plan to do it independently, you need to be present to ensure everything runs smoothly.

You will need to know the nitty-gritty of the café operations. In case of a staff crunch or when you are racing to provide orders on time, you will need to clear tables, take orders, deal with demanding customers, work 12-hour long shifts and more.

  • Success will take time to come.

Even if the place you rented or bought is in perfect condition, you cannot start your café immediately. A realistic time frame for opening a café would be about three months or more, but not before that.

You will need to consider the estimated delivery times for new equipment like an espresso machine, customized bar and furniture, microwave, coffee bar accessories etc.

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Research before opening a café

  • You have to do enough research before opening a café

With a café opening in almost every nook and corner, your café must offer something unique. But that doesn’t only mean in terms of the design and interiors.

Your menu, too, should provide something different or even if it’s similar to other cafés, the quality of the dishes should be top-notch. Trying to scrimp and save on your ingredients could lead to an immediate downfall.

Curate a menu with your specialized dishes and ensure you do several food trials to get them perfect.

  • Explore new areas with significant potential instead of sticking to safe and well-established areas

Many areas are already saturated with cafés and may not prove to be viable options for opening a café.

Identify areas that are financially more feasible for you and have the potential to turn into future hip spots in the city, thereby giving you the leverage you need by being one of the first to start a café there.

Rule out those areas where cafés open and wind up soon, as it indicates that they are not places where cafés can be run easily.

  • It would help if you had a knack for dealing with suppliers.

Your supplies cannot appear magically.

Dealing with suppliers is a skill that you will have to master. Sometimes, suppliers will leave you high and dry without showing up. You will have to think on your feet and develop alternate arrangements.

You may end up facing the wrath of customers when you will not be able to offer a dish due to a shortage of ingredients.

Furthermore, you may also have to procure supplies at a higher cost that could result in inflated food costs, which in turn eat into your profit margins.

  • Conduct a market research

Before starting a café, it’s essential to conduct a market analysis. This analysis will include listing the pros and cons of setting up a café.

 Identifying the competitors in the café business, finding ways to increase profit margins without compromising on quality, keeping in mind consumers’ tastes and demands, and liasoning with the best raw material suppliers in the market.

It is an excellent idea to visit your competition and understand the various menus, cuisines and pricing of food items.

Don’t count your chicken before they hatch

  • Don’t expect high profits.

Only some cafés turn out to be successful. Those which do succeed, often have a team of experienced people behind them. It’s best to have realistic expectations before opening a café, or else you will end up disappointed. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t be optimistic.

Successful cafés are often a result of identifying specific trends, realizing the potential of a place, taking advantage of a favourable situation and sometimes just pure luck.

If you want to be popular right from the beginning, then taking the franchise of a famous coffee brand should help.

  • Get all your registrations and licences in place before opening a café

There are several registrations and licences that you may need depending on the kind of café you intend to open. Some of them include

    • Cafés are under the act of food business operators. Hence, the café owner needs to obtain an FSSAI licence.
    • Obtaining an Eating House Licence from the licensing police commissioner of the particular state.
    • Trade licences of health and trade
    • Shop and establishment licence
    • Music licence from the IPRS(Indian performing rights society) if you intend to play music in your café
    • GST and business registrations
    • Fire safety certificate of fire NOC from the fire department of the state in which you plan to open a café.
    • Trademark registration to prevent others from copying your brand
    • A certificate of environment clearance from the ministry of environment is mandatory.
  • Hiring staff may take time and effort.

Hiring experienced, and dedicated staff may be more challenging than you think. Many staff members may come and go, and you may find yourself short-staffed more often than you want to.

When your staff don’t turn up at the eleventh hour, you can lean on agencies that provide staffing or even associate with hotel management institutes where you can hire students as interns for part-time gigs.

  • Be honest about what you do, and people will appreciate it.

We often go back to those places where we find the owner involved in their business with honesty and dedication. Such sites gain popularity through word of mouth. Even if you do not offer fancy cakes, but basic chocolate or tea cakes made with quality ingredients, people are happy to pay for them.

Even for coffee, buying the most expensive equipment is not vital. Getting quality coffee beans is also essential to brewing great coffee. Invest in yourself and your staff.

Focus on constantly upgrading your skills by enrolling for a brewing course or achieving mastery in latte art. Be ready for demanding customers and work on building a loyal customer base.

Bottom Line

Starting a café business is not easy, and you need to be ready to make an adequate investment of time and money to make it sustainable.

While profits and losses are part of every business, don’t let a low phase take you down. Keep your chin up and work consistently to achieve your goals.

Also, by keeping the above-mentioned ten things in mind before opening a café, you will be better equipped to handle the challenges that come with it.

Image source: mimagephotography, and bongkarn thanyakji via pexels, free on CanvaPro

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About the Author

Anjali Paul

I am a mom who works from home and dabbles with writing when time permits.An avid reader since childhood, blogging and writing helps me de-stress.My five year old keeps me on my read more...

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