Business start-up: Open a café with step-by-step instructions

For many people, starting a catering business is the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. The opening of a café is usually planned by people who have the appropriate professional experience, who may have worked in a café as an employee and now want to take the step into self-employment. Often, however, opening a café is also very tempting for so-called career changers, as it can represent an attractive source of income.

Anyone who wants to become self-employed with such a project should include the creation of a business plan as an important part of the planning. The most important steps in this form of business start-up are outlined below.

Open a café – define the range and target group

First of all, you have to define the range of offers you want to move into.

  • What should the range look like, are more classic types of coffee offered or are there some more unusual variants?
  • What other drinks should be offered? For example smoothies, juices, soft drinks or tea varieties
  • What kind of food should be offered to the customers? For example cakes, muffins, waffles, ice cream, soups or breakfast options such as muesli, rolls, pastries
  • In addition to the regular products, should there be a specific to-go product range for consumption outside the premises?

Due to the conditions of the premises, many people do without an overabundant range of larger dishes when starting a café because there is a lack of space and staff to prepare them.

The product range of this business idea must of course be in line with the addressed customer target group. Should families rather visit the café, mothers with children, older people or teenagers and young adults? The range must be coordinated and optimized accordingly.

Opening a café – choosing a location

It is also important to find a suitable location for opening a café. The right location of such a company can make the difference between success and failure in this form of business start-up. Very important factors for the location analysis are:

  • Availability of the target group: is the concept of the café aimed more at younger people, are there (vocational) schools or universities nearby? Should it be more of a mother-child café, are there kindergartens, day-care centers or paediatricians nearby that cater for walk-in customers?
  • Good accessibility: depending on the concept, the café should either be easily accessible on foot or there should be a nearby parking space.
  • Competition: are there already competitors with a similar business model in the immediate vicinity?
  • Outdoor catering: in many catering concepts, outdoor catering is an important part of sales planning. If such a possibility is not yet available, it should be checked whether the operation of outdoor gastronomy can be permitted
  • Internal structure: it is advantageous to already be able to fall back on an existing internal structure, such as ventilation options, toilets, a small storage area, etc.
  • Rental price: Of course, the monthly rent per square meter, which is to be paid to the landlord of the location, and the offered term of the rental contract are particularly important. Of course, this should not be too long or contain a special right of termination for the tenant.

Open a café – create a calculation and business plan

When founding or taking over an existing catering business such as a café, it is important to professionally calculate the expected sales and costs. Here it is important to consider:

  • How high is the monthly rent, how many staff are needed for the operation, how high are the expenses for marketing and sales?
  • What initial investments can be expected? For example, the costs for any renovation and z. B. a counter, the furniture, coffee machines, dishwashing facilities, etc.
  • How high is the cost of goods? How much do the components cost? B. a filled baguette in the shop? Is an offered cake obtained externally from a bakery/confectionery, or baked in-house and at what cost?
  • For sales planning, it is important to first determine the sales prices of all food and beverages and the expected number of daily customers. A relevant key figure here is the per capita turnover. What is the average order per customer?

The recipients of a created business plan are often banks, where you can apply for a subsidized loan as start-up capital. The more professional and detailed a business plan and, above all, a financial calculation, the greater the likelihood of obtaining a loan. The capital requirement plan (divided into investments and working capital), the profitability plan, the planned profit and loss account and a liquidity plan for at least three financial years should be shown in the financial plan. In addition, there is a repayment plan with the term of the desired loan. In the case of state-subsidized loans (see start-up loans), you can apply for one or two start-up years without repayment in order to be able to set up and develop the operation of the café before the loan is repaid.

If you carefully plan the individual steps and work them through one after the other, paying attention to all the details, nothing stands in the way of opening a café.

Would you like to open a cafe? Then you can take advantage of a state-funded management consultancy and get professional support in this important process and in the creation of a business and financial plan. Simply fill out the funding check and benefit from our know-how.