Home Forums Starting your journey Planning and Permits required for new cafe

  • This topic is empty.
Viewing 3 posts - 1 through 3 (of 3 total)
  • Author
  • #993279
    • Total posts: 13


    We are looking at the idea of starting up a cafe in Melbourne which caters to parents and their pre-school aged children. (0-6 years). It will not be a traditional play centre. More like a cafe with some excellent toys and a great play space encouraging imaginative play (think animal hospital, toy kitchen etc..). The parents would be responsible for the children at all times. It’s just an idea at the moment but in order to write the business plan, I need to find out what kinds of permits I will require and how to get these.

    What is the best way to get registration from the council? Can I deal with the council directly or is this not recommended? (I have never run a cafe before).

    I called the council and they said that I could get somebody out to look at the premises before signing a lease to tell me what needs to be done but that I also have to speak to the town planning and building department as well. I understand that I have to submit plans and have downloaded the food premises design and construction specifications but am wondering who should I have on my team to do all of this?

    If the building is not an existing cafe then there may well be a need for a change of class permit. Which I will require a building surveyor.

    It seems the more I look into this and the more people I speak to from various departments, the bigger the tangled web becomes.

    Can anybody explain the process to me?

    I am also just looking on realcommercial.com.au at present for places for lease in Melbourne but there are not that many and hardly any existing food businesses. Should I be looking elsewhere as well?


    • Total posts: 78

    Hi Emily,

    Ok, I see things a little differently and will start the other way around.

    You have zero experience in running a cafe and hospitality business and this really should be your first worry.

    Don’t worry about the paperwork just yet, there are plenty of people that can assist you with this for a small fee.

    Unfortunately, there are a lot of failing hospitality owners out there because they under estimate the amount of work involved in running a cafe/restaurant.

    My first question to cafe owners is always the same: Can you make a good cup of coffee? If your answer is no then the first thing you need to do is book yourself in a barista course.

    What is you experience with customer service? Let me tell you, breakfast shift is the most challenging of all in hospitality industry, guests are 3 times more demanding in the morning. They don’t want to wait more than 10 mins for a coffee or for their “scrambled eggs on gluten free toast with butter on the side plus extra mushroom and chopped chilies on the side”….

    Regarding you initial question, most renovations will require a DA approval, a builder and planning surveyor. The plans can be done by an architect.

    You could also buy a renovated cafe and not have to worry about all of these.

    I’m guessing you are not planning on serving any liquor?

    • Total posts: 61

    Hi Emily,

    To start one from scratch without any experience will not be easy. Then again, nothing is easy in life. On top of all the potential problems that Damien has suggested, you need to set aside a lot of time, money and energy to get it up and running.

    Before you sign your lease, you have to make sure that the premises is suitable for what you want to do. Ask the landlord for rent free period (3- 6 months if you can), fit out contribution, check if there’s any facelift clause at the end of the lease etc. The most important thing is the rent free period, as you won’t know how it will take to get your application through council. Then there’s the construction phase, it usually takes twice as long as you had planned. Then there’s the certifier, who you want to engage as soon as you have your plans ready to lodge. You don’t want to have to make major changes to your plans. One would think that if your plans are passed through council, they should be fine. Think again! Ask around for a good certifier, one that is firm but helpful. Trust me, they’ll drive you crazy, if you get the wrong one.

    If anything, why not just buy yourself an existing café and start from there. It will save you a lot of sleepless nights.

    Good luck with your venture,

Viewing 3 posts - 1 through 3 (of 3 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.