Home – New Forums New here? Share your story Hi….need support/advice for new cafe venture!

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  • #987232
    Petar
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    Hi all

    I’m so glad I stumbled across this forum through my extensive research on the topic!

    To give you a bit of background, I have a degree in business and have worked in Human Resources since qualification (approx. 6 years).

    For a while now I’ve realised it’s not for me and not the reason I got into business. I’m creative by nature and really enjoy customer service and building meaningful relationships.

    I’ve wanted to get into my own business for a long time, but never been in a good position to take the risk. My vision was always a cafe type establishment. A few weeks ago I received a bit of a push to investigate further, and an opportunity has come up.

    The place is an existing cafe, across from a train station, local shops, and residential properties. It’s fully furnished with nice decor and comes with all that is currently in there – coffee machine, dishwasher, oven, cutlery, tables, chairs, etc. It’s ready for someone to basically take over and the landlord is only looking for someone to come in and take over and rent the space and she’s happy to leave all that is in there. She wants nothing to do with the cafe any longer as she’s a hairdresser on the property (hidden and out of the way) and wants to focus on that only. She’s in a bit of a ‘bitten off more than she can chew’ situation.

    There is only one other cafe in the vicinity, and the times i’ve visited is always full with people coming and going.

    I have no experience in the industry, but this seems to be a relatively low risk way to venture into it. I’ve done my research and costings and know what the approximate outlay will be. I’ve scoured other cafes and understand what works, why, and what wouldn’t, and also have my own unique ideas. My plan would be to do barista training and explore the opportunity to work in the cafe with the current owner before taking over. I know I’m facing some really long days and am prepared to dedicate my time and energy to make this a success.

    I’ve inspected the property and all seems fantastic and has some real potental, including a beer garden area (that needs some work as it has been neglected).

    However I’m slighty apprehensive given I have no experience in the industry and am looking for any advice or ideas you may have. Would it be an almost impossible venture for someone in my position with no cafe/hospitality experience to commit and make this a success? Now that this is starting to come closer to potential reality, I really want to ensure as much as possible that I’m making the right decision.

    Sorry for my ramblings :)….Eagerly awaiting your feedback guys. Thanks for all your help!

    #1161738
    Dave Gillen – Former FS Concierge
    Keymaster
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    Hi Petar,

    Welcome to Flying Solo and best of luck with the cafe!

    It sounds like you’ve put some time into research and I have no cafe experience myself, but I would just add the following ideas:

    • Make sure the books/numbers/dollars all add up
    • Find an impartial person with experience (someone who has owned/run/managed a cafe) and talk them through your plans (and take them through the cafe). They can help point out anything you’ve overlooked.
    • Consider hiring them casually to help you in the initial stages, even if it’s a half day or a couple of hours per week.

    Good luck!

    Dave

    #1161739
    Tony Manto
    Participant
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    Hi Petar, Richard Branson does not fly planes…

    The meaning behind my headline is you don’t have to know everything you just have to find someone that does!

    I have coached many different business owners and to me they are all have the same with the same goal in mind. Make Money!

    I would recommend you hire someone with experience or even find someone in the cafe industry that offers training to help you.

    I understand as a new business you many not have the funds to hire someone, but I would consider this move as a business expense or should I say an insurance expense.

    Good advise early on, will not only help you find your feet, but stop you from making costly mistakes that might destroy your chances in the future.

    Customers are not very forgiving.

    #1161740
    Petar
    Member
    • Total posts: 7
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    Tony Manto, post: 186947 wrote:
    Hi Petar, Richard Branson does not fly planes…

    The meaning behind my headline is you don’t have to know everything you just have to find someone that does!

    I have coached many different business owners and to me they are all have the same with the same goal in mind. Make Money!

    I would recommend you hire someone with experience or even find someone in the cafe industry that offers training to help you.

    I understand as a new business you many not have the funds to hire someone, but I would consider this move as a business expense or should I say an insurance expense.

    Good advise early on, will not only help you find your feet, but stop you from making costly mistakes that might destroy your chances in the future.

    Customers are not very forgiving.

    Hi Tony

    Many thanks for your post, and the Richard Branson analogy…..gives me a degree of reassurance!

    My plan was to undergo barista training and employ an experienced cafe worker as Assistant Manager – not only to oversee and assist with day to day duties, but to also upskill me and give me the opportunity to learn from them.

    I’ve almost completed my business plan, and identified this as one of my opportunities.

    I’m definitely open to any and all advice to avoid making the costly mistakes you mention.

    Thanks

    Petar

    #1161741
    Tony Manto
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    Feel free to shot me an email, if you ever want to brainstorm.

    #1161742
    Anonymous
    Guest
    • Total posts: 11,464
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    Hi Petar,

    Exciting times for you!

    This post includes links to a whole swag of threads here on the forum regarding opening and purchasing cafes, so I encourage you to read through those.

    And while I too love Tony’s Richard Branson comment, I’ll take the role of devil’s advocate on this occasion and let you know that the advice experienced cafe owners around here seem to share with prospective newbies most commonly is, ‘Go get some experience before investing your money’.

    Just another side of the coin to consider!
    Jayne

    #1161743
    Petar
    Member
    • Total posts: 7
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    FS Concierge, post: 186982 wrote:
    Hi Petar,

    Exciting times for you!

    This post includes links to a whole swag of threads here on the forum regarding opening and purchasing cafes, so I encourage you to read through those.

    And while I too love Tony’s Richard Branson comment, I’ll take the role of devil’s advocate on this occasion and let you know that the advice experienced cafe owners around here seem to share with prospective newbies most commonly is, ‘Go get some experience before investing your money’.

    Just another side of the coin to consider!
    Jayne

    Hi Jayne

    Really appreciate and welcome any devils advocates! Helps in my prepatation and consideration :)

    I absolutely understand where people are coming from when they suggest working in the industry. It’s another way to mitigate risk, and the way I would normally operate.

    However in the instance, I have an opportunity to take over an existing cafe, paying only (reasonably cheap!) rent. No costs in acquiring the business or equipment – it’s all included and fully furnished.

    I feel the risk is greater in letting this opportunity pass and working in a cafe at a lower income while I wait for another ideal opportunity come up.

    And also – is working as a barista in a cafe really a true reflection on owning and managing a cafe?

    Happy to be corrected and my thoughts realigned! Really appreciate the posts.

    Thanks

    Petar

    #1161744
    redleaftea
    Member
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    It all sounds too good to be true from what you’ve written which always brings out the pessimist in me. I’d be very worried, especially as you don’t the experience in the industry, that there may be something horrid lurking somewhere.

    My advise would be to have a good accountant check over the books, a good lawyer check over the contract, make sure all the existing contracts and obligations that exist get thoroughly checked (supplier agreements, equipment leases, etc)

    Nothings would be worse than finding that your dream has become a nightmare.

    BTW when it comes time to find a tea supplier you know who to ask :)

    #1161745
    Petar
    Member
    • Total posts: 7
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    redleaftea, post: 187193 wrote:
    It all sounds too good to be true from what you’ve written which always brings out the pessimist in me. I’d be very worried, especially as you don’t the experience in the industry, that there may be something horrid lurking somewhere.

    My advise would be to have a good accountant check over the books, a good lawyer check over the contract, make sure all the existing contracts and obligations that exist get thoroughly checked (supplier agreements, equipment leases, etc)

    Nothings would be worse than finding that your dream has become a nightmare.

    BTW when it comes time to find a tea supplier you know who to ask :)

    I agree….I’ve been speaking to the real estate agent on an almost daily basis to determine any traps and am constantly trying to come up with things to investigate. I’m especially nervous because I don’t have experience and don’t want any rude shock – which is why I appreciate all posts, optimistic, pessimistic and realistic.

    I’m trying to obtain any sort of turnover information, but that’s proving difficult as apparently she runs all hairdressing and cafe books as one, so she can’t separate. Apparently it’s all too much for her so she just wants to get rid of the cafe. She’s not actually selling the business – which correct me if i’m wrong, but she’s not obliged to provide any information on the books? She’s only renting the space and all equipment included in that space – which we can take or leave, no obligation. I’ve been told the contract which she has we are not obliged to take on, which includes a drinks fridge.

    I’ll be going to the accountant and solicitor once we get a copy of a lease agreement. I’ll also be looking to arrange a council inspection of the establishment to determine if there are any deficiencies in the building which could prove costly.

    It seems like a too good to be true scenario, which is why I’m nervous. But the way the situation has been put to me is that she’s running her hairdressing business out back (out of visibility from the cafe space), business is doing well and she doesn’t want any more to do with the front part of the business.

    If it comes to looking for a tea supplier, you’ll be first point of call!

    Thanks

    Petar

    #1161746
    Prom N
    Member
    • Total posts: 16
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    Hi Petar

    I’m not a cafe owner myself but I’ve worked as a designer with many cafe owners.

    One point that determine the successful of a cafe other than the location and bookkeeping is experienced staff that you can trust and make good coffee.

    Second thing you might consider is a good concept for your shop. It’s kind of first impression that attract new customers. Why would people choose to come to your shop rather than a competitor in this case can be the existing cafe in your area.

    Also it’s a good idea to regularly update your menu. Test which menu is the best selling. Promote a seasonal products and loyalty program would also help. This is just little ideas/details that could help your business.

    And good luck on your journey!

    #1161747
    Petar
    Member
    • Total posts: 7
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    Just an update for those interested!

    I won’t be proceeding with this location, but am focused on getting into the hospitality industry, so will continue and have been continuing to search for the right place. I’ve started putting feelers out for suppliers so when the time comes I’m ready to go.

    Thanks to all who contributed, and feel free to continue to add any advice.

    Now that I’ve found this forum, I’ll be sure to pop into other posts and remain active!

    Cheers

    Petar

    #1161748
    Petar
    Member
    • Total posts: 7
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    Hello again

    I’m back to revive my post as I have since leased a premises and opened my business! We’ve been open just over a month, I have been here every day, working 12-15 hour days (not including the hours before doors opened!) and couldn’t be happier. It’s a world away from what I used to do in the corporate world, but I feel I’ve taken to it quite well.

    We’ve had what I consider quite a successful initial period. People are coming through the doors and not only returning themselves, but also bringing others and word of mouth is spreading. Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. I set no expectations for the start as I had nothing to benchmark and know most businesses struggle in the beginning, but I’m happy with how we’ve started and hope it continues to grow from here. I’m genuinely grateful to be able to serve my customers for a living, make people happy and deliver a quality product I take extreme pride in.

    It was always going to be a risk, but I feel justified in what I’ve done – if only for the self discovery. I wanted to share this with the forum, because this forum helped me with my research and I wanted to give a little back in the hope it may help others. Many thanks to those who responded to this thread and also private messaged me.

    Quick plug!

    It’s a health based cafe called Crimson Bear, and we’re located in Williamstown, Melbourne. You can find us on Instagram and Facebook.

    Thanks again Flying Solo for the service you provide, it’s much appreciated. If anyone has any questions or wants to know more about my experience, just let me know! ☺️

    #1161749
    Anonymous
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    Congratulations Petar – that’s fantastic news :)

    You must be in seventh heaven!

    Thank you for coming back to share your updates with us – please keep dropping in with the latest news because I know your experiences will inspire many others around here.

    Good luck with it all,
    Jayne

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