4 Tips for Opening A Café in Australia
It’s a dream of many Australians; open your own café, be your own boss and live life the way you want to every single day. However, unsurprisingly it’s not quite that simple. Opening a café and making it a success requires discipline, tonnes of hard-work and a commitment to continuously adapting to stay relevant in your area. Below are 4 tips for opening a café in Australia, and more importantly keeping it open and profitable long-term:
Focus on Your Weaknesses
Many people get into the coffee business because they drink coffee and enjoy dealing and communicating with people. However, a café is a business and must be treated as one. This means getting your head around the numbers side of things, like business activity statements and profit and loss sheets. It’s not particularly sexy but understanding and being across the finances of the business gives a far greater chance of longevity. Get advice on what costs you can expect to come across week to week, month to month and quarter to quarter and budget for them. There is nothing more horrible than feeling like business is going well, and then seeing the GST and PAYG bill at the end of the quarter is more than you can afford.
Research, Research and Research Again!
Some of the first steps on your café journey will be deciding on a location and whether you want to purchase an existing café or set up a brand new one which will require various types of approval. Once the logistical areas have been addressed, you need to make sure you do tonnes of research on choosing the right coffee beans for your café as naturally coffee will be one of the main products you’ll be offering! Visit different roasteries like Bay Coffee here in Sydney and taste the different beans on offer. Your café will live or die based on the quality of your coffee amongst other things, so you must choose carefully. However, a very common mistake new people to the industry make, is that they cater to their own tastes, rather than what the market actually wants. Sounds obvious, but it’s a common pitfall. Love a particularly dark roasted coffee at home? 95% of your customers may not. Its important to understand that you are trying to serve as many happy people as possible. A lot of thought and work goes into making our main blends into “crowd pleasers”. We want to appeal to most of the people that walk through the doors, not the fringe few.
Passion is Not Optional
You will have to go above and beyond in the short, medium and long term for your café to succeed. This is only possible if you’re super passionate about your business and the happiness you bring to your customers lives. If you’re going down this path purely to make money, a café isn’t the right option to achieve that goal. Its also important to employ staff who are passionate about the coffee and hospitality industries. You can teach them the necessary skills, but passion is something people generally either have or don’t. In many ways, good service is not complicated. Put yourself in the customers’ shoes, and work on making their experience a great one.
About That Menu….
Profit margins are tight when it comes to cafes and one way many businesses eat into these margins is by trying to create an over-ambitious menu resulting in excessive food wastage. A good café chef is worth their weight in gold as they are extremely creative about the best ways to use ingredients close to their expiry date to create mouth-watering daily specials. Your menu is also a great way to create a point of difference between your café and competitors in the local area. Customers usually won’t go well out of their way to grab a coffee regardless of how good it is, but for top-notch food they will flock from far and wide. Top notch doesn’t always mean expensive. Look at what your competitors are doing and aim to create something different so you don’t all race to the bottom for price when you are trying to compete.
Above are just some nuggets of advice for starting a successful coffee business. Here at Bay Coffee in Neutral Bay, Sydney we run a café, a roastery and a wholesale business where we sell our beans to other cafes. Drop by today to taste how good our coffee is for yourself!