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I want to open a Cafe - Am i crazy?????

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  • I want to open a Cafe - Am i crazy?????

    Hi guys,

    looking for some thoughts on a small dream of mine.

    I'm in my mid 20s working an office job. I'm earning decent money and a lot of people would kill to be in my position. Trouble is, I have no interest in this job and it's slowly killing me mentally. My interests lie in coffee, food and fashion.

    Would I be crazy to give up what I have to open a cafe? If not, where would I start? I presume working in a cafe for a couple of months to get a feel for things would be essential?

    I already make coffee at home using a breville dual boiler, so I have a little idea of what to do

    For those that own/run a cafe, what were the costs like when you first started and what were your major challenges?

    Just looking for some opinions. Thanks

  • #2

    This thread will help, you may have not seen it.

    I'd suggest more than a few months in a cafe. More like a year and in different roles plus some business and finance experience plus good luck :-)



    • #3

      The good thing is I'm from an accounting/finance background, so anything money related (in terms of theory) i've got down pat


      • #4
        Good luck, sounds like an exciting venture


        • #5
          I wish you every success. The real problem you face is that there are coffee making shops everywhere. Where we live I think it is very close to saturation point. Some make rubbish but many are making very good coffee. So to break into the market you would need to offer something 'worth dying for'. It may need a lot of capital to furnish well and to have good equipment. You would need staff to cover busy times. Customers will only wait so long unless it's worth waiting for. You would need to calculate how many coffees a day you require and how much associated snacks, the margin required to cover outgoings. Location, location, location. Yes it is possible. As suggested above at least a year working in a good coffee shop to gain experience. During this time improve skills and enter barista competitions. I say all this because a very good barista with lots of enthusiasm and what looked like a good business plan when out ....... and fell over. It was sad to watch.


          • #6
            Originally posted by orangemango View Post

            The good thing is I'm from an accounting/finance background, so anything money related (in terms of theory) i've got down pat
            good, that will be useful.
            But, how are your people skills ?
            organising, training, and managing staff, and critically interfacing with customers can make or break an otherwise perfect business plan.
            Good coffee and food is not the only requirement for a Cafe. Some of my favourite watering holes are not the ones with the best coffee, or even the most convenient locations, but the atmosphere and friendly service make them preferable to many other options.


            • #7
              I asked one of my customers what their café experience was like and they said it was similar to a winery - spend a million bucks and break even in three years: pull a wage after 15 months of hard yakka.

              Interesting to note, two of my customers are home builders. They both enjoy the café experience a heck of a lot more than building houses. Major stress, mate.


              • #8
                Thanks for the replies everyone.

                In terms of people skills, I'm quite comfortable. Have been dealing with clients daily in my profession.

                For getting experience, is going to one of the big chains really the only way? I understand specialty stores prefer to hire people with experience?


                • #9
                  If and when you get to the point of considering buying a cafe as a going concern, be doubly careful when relying on their P/L. A lot of cash that did not come from customers can find its way into the till in the months leading up to sale.


                  • #10
                    Follow your dreams! All the best to you.


                    • #11
                      "Follow your dreams! All the best to you."

                      Yes, but best not to do so blindly. Get professional advice, preferably not only from a Coffee Forum where you will be mostly unaware of the credentials of those providing the advice. Do your own due diligence, and walk the talk for a fair while before taking the plunge.

                      I suggest many that are NOT offering you advice on this forum, have been there and know the pitfalls, but wise enough to not say too much, because they have been branded as doomsayers in the past.

                      I have myself tried and failed a long time ago, but a different person could well have succeeded where I did not. Your personality will be as important as your financial or coffee credentials. Keep in mind it's about running a business not making good coffee yourself. You can employ someone to do that.

                      My Second Crack worth.

                      Last edited by GrahamK; 28 August 2015, 06:52 AM.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by orangemango View Post

                        For getting experience, is going to one of the big chains really the only way? I understand specialty stores prefer to hire people with experience?
                        Not necessaarily, some really good roaster cafés/ cafés will prefer someone who is inexperienced but teachable and who doesn't have a 'coffee ego'.

                        Cafés that care about their coffee are the places you should be looking to gain experience.


                        • #13
                          Steps to opening espresso bar?

                          Hi guys,

                          As some of you might recall, I posted a thread about the thought of opening a small espresso bar/cafe.

                          I now decided that this is something I really want to work to and start planning whilst I'm still working full time in an office.

                          So my question is what next? I plan on writing my business plan but the key things I'm missing are:

                          1. Estimated costs of store fitout ( is this possible without even securing a lease first?)
                          2. Estimated costs of overheads ( what's a good way to estimate electricity, water etc)
                          3. Estimated cost of machine lease and beans ( I emailed a popular roaster but they seemed to be only interested in people who are actually already running)

                          I'm looking to open a very small place that can only seat 10 people max. Focus will be on takeaway.

                          also, anyone know any good dark roasters in Sydney? I used to live in perth and Fiori coffee was the choice of many top cafes there. I find perth cafes mainly served a dark roast, as opposed to the light roast trend in Melbourne.

                          Sorry for all the questions.


                          • #14
                            For this type of venture, NEVER be sorry for the questions.

                            So many bases to cover means a heap of questions should help achieve the dream after you digest the answers.

                            Are you based in Sydney at the moment? If so, are you drinking coffee anywhere and like the beans? Maybe an opening there.
                            Also, you may find this thread gets merged with the 1st one.

                            Questions in it are relevant to what you do.

                            Are you also doing anything about getting skills in coffee delivery?


                            • #15
                              Why have you opened a new thread? I had to go find the old thread to see what you have already asked and what answers you got.
                              Oh and don't reply to this post as its not related to starting a cafe :-)