The Tyro Blog

29 September 2022 - 6 min read

Business Strategies

10 considerations before opening a cafe

So you want to open a cafe? Before you start dishing up sweet and savoury delights to your customers, there’s a series of steps you’ll need to take to turn your idea into a reality. Read on to learn how to open a cafe, the right way. 

Step 1: Get clear on your cafe idea

With cafes on almost every corner, it’s important to create a unique precinct that stands out from the crowd. Have a think about what you want your cafe to look like when it’s up and running – including the atmosphere and the menu – to really hone in on a specific theme. 

Having a crystal clear vision will help you maintain consistency when building your brand and, ultimately, open a cafe that’s one-of-a-kind.

Step 2: Create a business plan

Once you’re clear on what you want your cafe to be, it’s time to create a roadmap that will get it off the ground. A business plan will help guide you through the different stages of building, running and growing your cafe – so it pays to create a super solid one upfront.  

So you don’t miss anything, here’s how to write a strong business plan.

Step 3: Find a venue 

The next step to opening a cafe is picking a place to run it. Here are some things to consider when scouting out potential locations:

  • Is it the right size? 
  • Is there enough foot traffic to sustain a cafe? 
  • Are there other cafes nearby? 
  • Is it easy for people to get to?

Ultimately, the sweet spot will be somewhere that’s accessible, with enough room for you and your crew to give customers the best possible service. It should also be within your budget so you’re not biting off more than you can (financially) chew.

Step 4: Set up shop

Now that you’ve secured a place to run your cafe, it’s time to fit it out with everything you’ll need to serve your customers, from appliances and plates to EFTPOS systems (lucky for you, we’ve got one to help you process payments speedily and securely: Tyro EFTPOS). 

When setting up your cafe, have a think about how it will flow – where the customers will order, sit, and pay; how the food will get to customers; and the proximity of the kitchen, counter, and dining area. Working all this out will help you create an efficient layout for both customers and staff that makes it easy for everyone to get around. 

It’s also important to deck out the place with furniture and decor that matches your cafe theme, to maintain a cohesive and distinctive aesthetic.

Step 5: Register for licenses and permits

Another important step in opening a cafe is securing all the necessary licenses and permits so you can legally operate. The requirements will vary from state to state, but generally you’ll need to obtain: 

  • business name registration 
  • food business license 
  • on-premises license (if you plan on serving alcohol).

Please be sure to check your local council/state laws on what requirements you’ll need to obtain to legally operate.

Step 6: Create a mouthwatering menu

At the heart of your cafe is your menu, so take the time to make it a good one. Your menu should reflect the theme of your cafe, and cater to customers with different dietary needs so nobody is left out. The key to creating a killer menu is keeping it simple; you’re better off with a handful of solid options rather than a long list of mediocre ones in an effort to please everyone. 

Once you’ve settled on dishes and drinks, you can go ahead and design the physical menu that customers will browse when they sit down. Ensure it visually and tonally matches your brand, to keep everything consistent.

Step 7: Secure suppliers

You’re going to need ingredients to turn your menu into meals. Research suppliers until you find ones that align with your business philosophy, and get those connections secured.

Step 8: Build your team

One of the final steps of opening a cafe is assembling a team to make it operate. Depending on the cafe, you’ll need a manager, chefs, baristas, kitchen hands, waiters, and hosts. Make sure to hire people that will be a good representation of your brand; and remember that while experience is useful, attitude is just as important and isn’t something you can teach.

Step 9: Spread the word 

You’re almost there! Before you officially open your doors, make sure to market your cafe so people know it’s coming. Start off by creating a website, social media accounts, and a Google Maps listing so you pop up when people look for cafes in the area. From here, you can go ahead and make pre-launch posts, send out flyers, and organise features in relevant publications.  

As well as sharing what your cafe is about, when it’s open and what’s on the menu, you could also offer a special treat for the first 100 customers who walk through your doors on opening day. An extra bit of enticement can go a long way! 

When the customers start coming in, make sure to encourage them to follow your social media pages or sign up to your mailing list to stay up to date with your cafe.

Step 10: Open your doors 

After all your hard work, it’s time to open up your cafe to the public. You might want to have a soft launch beforehand to learn the basics before the big day. When you do finally open those doors, make sure to take a moment to pause and celebrate this exciting new chapter. 

When opening day comes to a close, make sure to reflect on what did and didn’t go well. This will help you finetune your menu and service, so it only gets better the longer you’re open.