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  • what you look for in a cafe

    looking at buying a cafe in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne and i was just wondering what the coffee snob would be looking for in a new cafe any help would be much appreciated as i am just in the brain storming at this stage

  • #2
    Re: what you look for in a cafe

    Fresh beans.
    Clean equipment.
    Passionate, well trained baristas.

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    • #3
      Re: what you look for in a cafe

      Low entry cost
      Guaranteed foot traffic, year round
      Affordable overheads
      Qualified staff
      Knowledge of the local market
      A comprehensive business plan including financials
      A good account
      And an excellent lawyer

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      • #4
        Re: what you look for in a cafe

        http://www.coffeegeek.com/forums/worldregional/australasia/295422 will be a very helpful thread to read

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        • #5
          Re: what you look for in a cafe

          Thundergods answer is a great one if youre looking for a cafe to drink at, but if youre looking for a cafe to buy, dirty equipment and stale beans might actually lower the purchase price ;P

          Patricks list is great. The most basic thing to do is to think about how many people there are in the area that need food and coffee, where they will go to get it and how you can realistically differentiate yourself from the competition.

          To bring a bit more of a cafe workers perspective - as opposed to a business owner - Id say that you really should consider the cafes layout, how easy it will be for your staff to work in their areas and what sort of work will need to be done to it to get it to where it needs to be for your business model.

          Finally, it would probably be a great idea to talk to some seasoned cafe veterans in person. Youll find that most of them are very approachable!

          Good Luck,

          Luca

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          • #6
            Re: what you look for in a café

            Thanks luca but I was being lazy and not worried about price.
            You are right about buying cheaper but then you have problem of overcoming a bad reputation.
            The customers that such a place still has have settled for poor quality and are unlikely to spread the word to potential new customers.

            My next door neighbour wasnt particularly impressed when I made him his first machiato with fresh beans because it was different to what he is used to.
            Theres a chance that improving the coffee will drive some of the regulars away too.

            So in short I was looking to take over a clean, properly run business.

            Everything you said though was spot on, excellent advice.

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            • #7
              Re: what you look for in a cafe

              Make sure if it does have dirty equipment and you are taking it over announce that it is now under new management. People will then be more willing to give it a go.

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              • #8
                Re: what you look for in a cafe

                Hey eastern suburds, thats down my end!! Its funny that a lot more good coffee is popping up this end!!
                Its hard work this way, heaps of places to get in. Eastern suburds is getting really popular and some big players coming in. Just be carefull were you set up.

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                • #9
                  Re: what you look for in a cafe

                  How long is a piece of string?

                  The coffee question has and will be very well answered.
                  The question of what to buy comes down to a number of very personal prerequesits,

                  Do you need an immediate cashflow?.......then buy a business makeing money that is well established and running ok with a good reputation.
                  DO NOT buy one that is at the top of its class unless you are extremely proficiant,
                  as it may well fail you while you add your personel touch! It is hard to rebuild once you have lost regulars.
                  Cost....premium.

                  Can you manage with limited cash flow?.......purchase a business that is running well but looks shabby and has a reputation for being mediocre,
                  you will find foot traffic keeps it alive, most likely its run by people with little passion
                  and low in costomer service and quality of goods, providing you with with an opportunity to lift it to a level that will provide you with a decent income.
                  Cost....mid range (giving you the oportunity to use your dollars to retrain or employ experienced staff,
                  and to advertise either useing local papers or in shop useing give aways, extras, coffee cards, anything that will get your name into the local community.)
                  growth and profit potential great.

                  Cash flow early not an issue...........Buy run down, be careful here some are run down because they are in an area that has dropped in industry ,
                  developers are moveing in (hense more competition), There is simply too much money to spend to make it profitably right in the area they are.
                  Of course there are those that are just plain run down,cheap to renovate,
                  and in positions that will leave you breathless with profit when you build the business proffessionally 8-).
                  These business provide you with a blank space to do your thing, just do your research to make sure it is also the local needed thing,
                  costomers do not always have the same thoughts as yourself!

                  All (except those flashiest and most expensive of places or those at the top of their market)
                  should cost about the same by the time you have finished with renovating,training and advertising,
                  though I say this with an adendum........
                  Mostly the flashiest and dearest shopfittings will look good in a catologue or in a showroom,
                  source second hand warrantied items from bonafide business that back up what they sell,
                  it will save you a fortune and there is plenty to choose from!
                  Decor needs to reflect a little of you so you are comfortable in your own business(you will be spending looooooooooong hours in there)
                  it does not have to cost a fortune to look great.....it takes a lot of coffee and food sales to recupe 000s and 000s of $$ in fitout,
                  see a realistic interior decorator or cafe development expert but keep your dream your own.

                  Above all smile, never have a bad day in front of costomers,
                  train your staff and keep them refreshed,
                  keep your freshness and quality as high as you possibly can within the market you are aiming for,
                  and provide stunning service...........it is crucial.

                  Heck that went for longer than i intended :-X


                  Good luck is for wannabes,
                  make your luck by working smart.

                  Craig.

                  P.s. there are soo many more things to factor in,
                  but often it is the basics that will lead you to a successful business.

                  Watch for parking and foot traffic issues!



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                  • #10
                    Re: what you look for in a cafe

                    Ive been thinking about owning a cafe for a few years now.. One major thing Ive noticed is this .. full size cafes that have dine in areas and food service are expensive to maintain and keep viable.

                    If I decided to own a cafe it wouldnt be so much a cafe .. Id rather buy a cibo style place where you basically just line up for coffee .. there might be a handful of seats but thats about it.. just two or three staff making coffee not stop .. maybe sell a few sandwiches and muffins to go with it but thats about it. Its all about low overheads.. less staff means more profits.

                    Naked coffee in the brisbane city and expess esspresso in the valley are perfect examples of this model. If you use good beans and make quality coffee youll quickly gain regulars. It only took two weeks for express esspresso to start to have pretty serious line ups in the morning and afternoon. And they are half a block from a Gloria Jeans. So yeah .. thats the way Id go if I had the money.

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                    • #11
                      Re: what you look for in a cafe

                      i wouldnt open a cafe now. Food cost are high and a lot of cafes are going broke. Its really hard at the moment.

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                      • #12
                        Re: what you look for in a cafe

                        All the places making coffee in North Sydney between the station exit and the street have long lines of regulars every morning.

                        That doesnt mean the coffee is good, just handy.

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                        • #13
                          Re: what you look for in a cafe

                          Food costs are tipped to go through the roof, especially meat and seafood.

                          Everything is expensive, and covers are generally down in a lot of places. The top end of town will usually survive, but suburban cafes/restaurants will have it tough for a while to come.

                          Sometimes streamlining the menu is essential to survival, especially if it involves losing lower margin dishes. Keeping your fingers on the pulse of seasonal produce not only gives your menu a bit more variety, but it also helps with the bottom line.

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