Home – New Forums Starting your journey Starting a small takeaway cafe shop soon – please need some advise.

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  • #966292
    Ady
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    Good Day All,

    I am planning to open up a small takeaway cafe shop soon, while I do not have a background in cafe industry, I am a coffee drinker occasionally and having done a Barista course recently.

    I may have found the location for my future small business will be, but apart from that, I am still in a search of many things related to it, such things are fit out, equipments (fridge, coffee machine, etc), good coffee beans, food suppliers, and so on.

    There are some information I could gathered in relation to the equipment (coffee machine) and coffee beans as I think those two are the most important ingredients for a coffee shop.

    I have been trying to contact some good coffee beans suppliers (from my point of view) such as Campos, Piazza D’oro, and Danes, but none of them has come back to me with a thorough answers to the questions I asked.

    I also have done a research with coffee machine, and found these two brands San Marino and La Marzocco espresso machines, but I am yet to find out which one is suitable for my needs.

    I also have done a bit of a research about the surroundings area of my future cafe shop will be, and found that only a handful of cafe shops/restaurants (much larger than mine) are available. Since the location of my cafe shop is actually inside the food court, I have the assumption with the traffic I have observed during morning and lunch time, it will sufficiently to say it is enough to keep the business going if not growing in the future, needless to say all the high rise office buildings surrounding.

    There are few things I would like to ask for anyone inputs or advises in this forum in regards of my situation above.

    Firstly, In terms of the location versus asking price, I wonder if anyone knows if there is a formula to it, for example, the empty location (never been occupied) I have kept my eyes on is about 20sqm with asking price $30k, honestly I do not know what is the good price I should make as an offer.

    Secondly, in terms of the fit out and equipments, I am still having difficulties in terms of finding someone who can design the fit out and supplier who supplies the fridge, coffee machine, etc. I wonder if anyone has some kind of information where to find them or is there a specific websites I could go into?

    Thirdly, with the cafe menu, I guess by enrolling in one of the quick hospitality courses would help a lot, but looking at the timing I have, I wonder if I was wise enough just to create the menu myself and having paid mentor by someone who is an expert of making the foods on the menu?

    I really much appreciate for anyone inputs or advises in relation to the above. Thank you so much.

    Kind Regards,
    Ady

    #1017262
    [Former] FS Concierge
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    Hi Ady,

    Welcome to Flying Solo.

    It might be worth your while to contact our forum member Craig Reid, who is a cafe consultant. You can find his contact details here:
    http://www.thecafeninja.com/

    Congratulations on your new business!
    All the best,
    Jayne

    #1017263
    Karen Wardle
    Member
    • Total posts: 363
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    Hi Ady

    Firstly, congratulations on your plans for business ownership. It is great when you can start something from scratch and through creativity and hard work, watch it grow into a success.

    I am planning to open up a small takeaway cafe shop soon, while I do not have a background in cafe industry, I am a coffee drinker occasionally and having done a Barista course recently.

    You are off to a good start. You have come to Flying Solo, you will find a wealth of knowledge here and it is one of the friendliest forums around. I have no doubt that there are many people here who can help you with the specifics of the industry that you wish to enter. And Jayne has given you a great contact.

    Ady, if I can be honest with you, I think that you would benefit from conducting some further research before you jump in. You seem very passionate about what you are doing and that is great though sometimes it means that we can act without thinking things through properly.

    I do think that there are still some gaps in your research which is to be expected when you are entering an industry that you are not experienced in. It is a competitive industry that you will be entering, what is going to put you ahead of your competition?

    Firstly, In terms of the location versus asking price, I wonder if anyone knows if there is a formula to it, for example, the empty location (never been occupied) I have kept my eyes on is about 20sqm with asking price $30k, honestly I do not know what is the good price I should make as an offer.

    I don’t think it is possible to give you an accurate answer in relation to the asking price of the premises. In depends on many variables, including the location, foot traffic etc. 30k is a lot of money to part with, especially to set up a business that you are not experienced in. I would also suggest seeing an accountant he/she may suggest that leasing premises would be better for your situation. (I am not saying that it would but an accountant would tailor there recommendations to fit your particular business and financial circumstances)

    Thirdly, with the cafe menu, I guess by enrolling in one of the quick hospitality courses would help a lot, but looking at the timing I have, I wonder if I was wise enough just to create the menu myself and having paid mentor by someone who is an expert of making the foods on the menu?

    Some of your comments indicate that you are pressed for time. Why is this? Ady, don’t rush your decision. I don’t want to sound like a ‘dream killer’, I believe that we should all try to earn a living doing something that we love. $30k is a great deal of money to be investing without thorough research. You will give your business far greater chance of success if you build it on a solid foundation and have a plan mapped out before you start.

    Is it possible for you to invest some time in a related course that deals with the specifics of the industry. Often when we are excited about a new venture we just want to get going with it. Take your time. Harness your energy into learning as much as you can before you start.

    Jayne has given you an email contact and I am sure that Craig will be able to offer you some great advice.

    Good luck

    Karen
    http://www.you-can-start-business.com

    #1017264
    Accounts Studio
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    • Total posts: 516
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    Hi Ady
    You should contact Susie or Dave at Cater Shop on 0438 600 276 or 0418 808 557. They are a business which does fitouts for cafes, restaurants etc and have been around for years and have a lot of experience. They can tell you which equipment would suit you best, prices, etc – they also have a lady who does the design fitout who specialises in cafes – so she would be able to tell you where you need certain equipment to go etc.

    #1017265
    The Cafe Ninja
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    • Total posts: 124
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    Karen Wardle, post: 19791 wrote:
    Hi Ady

    Firstly, congratulations on your plans for business ownership. It is great when you can start something from scratch and through creativity and hard work, watch it grow into a success.

    You are off to a good start. You have come to Flying Solo, you will find a wealth of knowledge here and it is one of the friendliest forums around. I have no doubt that there are many people here who can help you with the specifics of the industry that you wish to enter. And Jayne has given you a great contact.

    Ady, if I can be honest with you, I think that you would benefit from conducting some further research before you jump in. You seem very passionate about what you are doing and that is great though sometimes it means that we can act without thinking things through properly.

    I do think that there are still some gaps in your research which is to be expected when you are entering an industry that you are not experienced in. It is a competitive industry that you will be entering, what is going to put you ahead of your competition?

    I don’t think it is possible to give you an accurate answer in relation to the asking price of the premises. In depends on many variables, including the location, foot traffic etc. 30k is a lot of money to part with, especially to set up a business that you are not experienced in. I would also suggest seeing an accountant he/she may suggest that leasing premises would be better for your situation. (I am not saying that it would but an accountant would tailor there recommendations to fit your particular business and financial circumstances)

    Some of your comments indicate that you are pressed for time. Why is this? Ady, don’t rush your decision. I don’t want to sound like a ‘dream killer’, I believe that we should all try to earn a living doing something that we love. $30k is a great deal of money to be investing without thorough research. You will give your business far greater chance of success if you build it on a solid foundation and have a plan mapped out before you start.

    Is it possible for you to invest some time in a related course that deals with the specifics of the industry. Often when we are excited about a new venture we just want to get going with it. Take your time. Harness your energy into learning as much as you can before you start.

    Jayne has given you an email contact and I am sure that Craig will be able to offer you some great advice.

    Good luck

    Karen
    http://www.you-can-start-business.com

    Fantastic advice Karen! I totally agree with everything you’ve said.

    #1017266
    The Cafe Ninja
    Member
    • Total posts: 124
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    Ady, post: 19765 wrote:
    Good Day All,

    I am planning to open up a small takeaway cafe shop soon, while I do not have a background in cafe industry, I am a coffee drinker occasionally and having done a Barista course recently.

    I may have found the location for my future small business will be, but apart from that, I am still in a search of many things related to it, such things are fit out, equipments (fridge, coffee machine, etc), good coffee beans, food suppliers, and so on.

    There are some information I could gathered in relation to the equipment (coffee machine) and coffee beans as I think those two are the most important ingredients for a coffee shop.

    I have been trying to contact some good coffee beans suppliers (from my point of view) such as Campos, Piazza D’oro, and Danes, but none of them has come back to me with a thorough answers to the questions I asked.

    I also have done a research with coffee machine, and found these two brands San Marino and La Marzocco espresso machines, but I am yet to find out which one is suitable for my needs.

    I also have done a bit of a research about the surroundings area of my future cafe shop will be, and found that only a handful of cafe shops/restaurants (much larger than mine) are available. Since the location of my cafe shop is actually inside the food court, I have the assumption with the traffic I have observed during morning and lunch time, it will sufficiently to say it is enough to keep the business going if not growing in the future, needless to say all the high rise office buildings surrounding.

    There are few things I would like to ask for anyone inputs or advises in this forum in regards of my situation above.

    Firstly, In terms of the location versus asking price, I wonder if anyone knows if there is a formula to it, for example, the empty location (never been occupied) I have kept my eyes on is about 20sqm with asking price $30k, honestly I do not know what is the good price I should make as an offer.

    Secondly, in terms of the fit out and equipments, I am still having difficulties in terms of finding someone who can design the fit out and supplier who supplies the fridge, coffee machine, etc. I wonder if anyone has some kind of information where to find them or is there a specific websites I could go into?

    Thirdly, with the cafe menu, I guess by enrolling in one of the quick hospitality courses would help a lot, but looking at the timing I have, I wonder if I was wise enough just to create the menu myself and having paid mentor by someone who is an expert of making the foods on the menu?

    I really much appreciate for anyone inputs or advises in relation to the above. Thank you so much.

    Kind Regards,
    Ady

    Ady – I won’t leave a really long comment here as there is just too much to tell you, but please do get in touch as I can help you to avoid making some critical mistakes.

    Some quick comments:

    – Starting up from scratch is both very costly (fit-out) and very difficult if you are inexperienced. I’d recommend you buy an existing business instead
    – If you require finance, you will struggle to get it for a start up
    – You should take the previous advice and get experience – I can help you find somewhere but I’d recommend you offer your services for free to start with to build up your skills
    – The cafe industry is very hard work so be prepared for that!
    – Don’t buy a coffee machine – the coffee company will supply that for you free if you are doing reasonable volumes (as well as grinder, cups, umbrellas, aprons, signage, etc)

    Please drop me a line: [email protected] or call me on 0400731029

    Regards,

    Craig

    #1017267
    The Cafe Ninja
    Member
    • Total posts: 124
    #1017268
    Gordon Akman
    Member
    • Total posts: 229
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    Hi Ady,
    Good luck working for yourself. Starting a business of your own and making a good living out of it is the most rewarding thing I have ever done.

    Here is some information that I hope helps.

    You have chosen a very competitive industry with low margins.

    The hours will be long and the work often mentally tiring.

    Choosing the right location and negotiating the best lease you can will be a critical factor determining whether your business is a success.

    Be EXTREMELY DISCIPLINED with how you spend your start up money. One of the most common reasons I see for new businesses failing is they spend too much money early on: Rent; Equipment; Furniture etc.

    Seek advice when buying your coffee machine. Go around other coffee shops and ask them for their advice about buying a coffee machine (obviously say you plan to open a coffee shop somewhere far away from their shop so they don’t think you will be competition).

    If you sell meals make sure your menu is VERY SIMPLE. You do not want to be mucking around making food when you get really busy.

    You may be able to sell your coffee for between $3-$4. Just think how many coffees you will have to sell just to pay your rent. You will notice successful coffee shops sell expensive high quality sides to coffee: cakes, cookies, pastries, juices etc. You may be able to sell these for between $3-$5 each. Your success at Up Selling customers these products will be key to determining whether your Coffee shop is profitable.

    Negotiate the best deal with the cold drink suppliers you can. Coke or Pepsi etc will supply a full range of products. They will also supply the fridge. Also, there are some excellent fresh juice suppliers. These products are high quality and people will pay a premium for them (another chance to build some margin into your sales).

    Create a loyalty program e.g. Customers get a card that gets stamped and get their 6th coffee free (make your offer reasonably generous or it will not work).

    Think about your own coffee shop consumption patterns. 1. You go to a coffee shop close to your work. 2. The staff member is polite and the coffee is good. 3. You go everyday. 4. One day you get bad service or the coffee is bad. 5. The next day you go somewhere else and start back at step 1. DO NOT LET THIS BE THE EXPERIENCE FOR YOUR CUSTOMERS OR YOU WILL FAIL.

    Keep things relatively simple. Focus on: Good value, Great Coffee/Food/Drinks, and Excellent Service.

    Finally, one of the biggest reasons any type of Food/Beverage/Hospitality business fails is their owners think it is about them. It is THEIR Coffee shop. They are going to do things THEIR way. WRONG. It is your CUSTMOERS Coffee Shop. You sell products and provide service they want – not what you think is good/how things should be done.

    Good luck.

    #1017269
    Karen Wardle
    Member
    • Total posts: 363
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    Hi Craig

    Thanks for your comment. I have just had a very quick look at your Planes, Pains and Automobiles article. I like your writing style. It made me laugh. I am about to go out but am looking forward to reading it all later on today.

    Gordon said

    Be EXTREMELY DISCIPLINED with how you spend your start up money. One of the most common reasons I see for new businesses failing is they spend too much money early on: Rent; Equipment; Furniture etc.

    Gordon I agree totally. Many new start up expenses are, dare I say it, ego purchases.

    Karen
    http://www.you-can-start-business.com

    #1017270
    Ady
    Member
    • Total posts: 7
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    Hi Jayne,

    Thank you so much for your info, will do contact Craig.
    Thank you

    Kind Regards,
    Ady

    FS Concierge, post: 19787 wrote:
    Hi Ady,

    Welcome to Flying Solo.

    It might be worth your while to contact our forum member Craig Reid, who is a cafe consultant. You can find his contact details here:
    http://www.thecafeninja.com/

    Congratulations on your new business!
    All the best,
    Jayne

    #1017271
    Ady
    Member
    • Total posts: 7
    Up
    0
    ::
    Karen Wardle, post: 19791 wrote:
    Hi Ady

    Firstly, congratulations on your plans for business ownership. It is great when you can start something from scratch and through creativity and hard work, watch it grow into a success.

    You are off to a good start. You have come to Flying Solo, you will find a wealth of knowledge here and it is one of the friendliest forums around. I have no doubt that there are many people here who can help you with the specifics of the industry that you wish to enter. And Jayne has given you a great contact.

    Ady, if I can be honest with you, I think that you would benefit from conducting some further research before you jump in. You seem very passionate about what you are doing and that is great though sometimes it means that we can act without thinking things through properly.

    I do think that there are still some gaps in your research which is to be expected when you are entering an industry that you are not experienced in. It is a competitive industry that you will be entering, what is going to put you ahead of your competition?

    I don’t think it is possible to give you an accurate answer in relation to the asking price of the premises. In depends on many variables, including the location, foot traffic etc. 30k is a lot of money to part with, especially to set up a business that you are not experienced in. I would also suggest seeing an accountant he/she may suggest that leasing premises would be better for your situation. (I am not saying that it would but an accountant would tailor there recommendations to fit your particular business and financial circumstances)

    Some of your comments indicate that you are pressed for time. Why is this? Ady, don’t rush your decision. I don’t want to sound like a ‘dream killer’, I believe that we should all try to earn a living doing something that we love. $30k is a great deal of money to be investing without thorough research. You will give your business far greater chance of success if you build it on a solid foundation and have a plan mapped out before you start.

    Is it possible for you to invest some time in a related course that deals with the specifics of the industry. Often when we are excited about a new venture we just want to get going with it. Take your time. Harness your energy into learning as much as you can before you start.

    Jayne has given you an email contact and I am sure that Craig will be able to offer you some great advice.

    Good luck

    Karen
    http://www.you-can-start-business.com

    Hi Karen,

    Very valuable advice you have made, thank you so much for that.
    In terms of your comments that coffee shop is a very competitive industry, and what is going to put me ahead of the competition, that is something that still in my top of the list search list, and maybe enrolling quick hospitality course is the best idea, in relation to the pressured time I have, I think mainly because I have been out of job for a while, and needs the money to keep on rolling back again to support family economy, so my short thinking now is that I should not waste more time and put a delay on the plan I have now. But you are right that I should give it more time so that everything is lays prepared in front of me and all the plans are mapped out open wide ready to run effectively.

    Once again, thank you for your kind advice.

    Kind Regards,
    Ady

    #1017272
    Ady
    Member
    • Total posts: 7
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    Ideas Book, post: 19875 wrote:
    Hi Ady
    You should contact Susie or Dave at Cater Shop on 0438 600 276 or 0418 808 557. They are a business which does fitouts for cafes, restaurants etc and have been around for years and have a lot of experience. They can tell you which equipment would suit you best, prices, etc – they also have a lady who does the design fitout who specialises in cafes – so she would be able to tell you where you need certain equipment to go etc.

    Hi Sophie,

    Thank you so much for your info, will do contact Susie or Dave with contact numbers you have provided above. Thank you

    Kind Regards,
    Ady

    #1017273
    Ady
    Member
    • Total posts: 7
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    0
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    Gordon Akman, post: 19994 wrote:
    Hi Ady,
    Good luck working for yourself. Starting a business of your own and making a good living out of it is the most rewarding thing I have ever done.

    Here is some information that I hope helps.

    You have chosen a very competitive industry with low margins.

    The hours will be long and the work often mentally tiring.

    Choosing the right location and negotiating the best lease you can will be a critical factor determining whether your business is a success.

    Be EXTREMELY DISCIPLINED with how you spend your start up money. One of the most common reasons I see for new businesses failing is they spend too much money early on: Rent; Equipment; Furniture etc.

    Seek advice when buying your coffee machine. Go around other coffee shops and ask them for their advice about buying a coffee machine (obviously say you plan to open a coffee shop somewhere far away from their shop so they don’t think you will be competition).

    If you sell meals make sure your menu is VERY SIMPLE. You do not want to be mucking around making food when you get really busy.

    You may be able to sell your coffee for between $3-$4. Just think how many coffees you will have to sell just to pay your rent. You will notice successful coffee shops sell expensive high quality sides to coffee: cakes, cookies, pastries, juices etc. You may be able to sell these for between $3-$5 each. Your success at Up Selling customers these products will be key to determining whether your Coffee shop is profitable.

    Negotiate the best deal with the cold drink suppliers you can. Coke or Pepsi etc will supply a full range of products. They will also supply the fridge. Also, there are some excellent fresh juice suppliers. These products are high quality and people will pay a premium for them (another chance to build some margin into your sales).

    Create a loyalty program e.g. Customers get a card that gets stamped and get their 6th coffee free (make your offer reasonably generous or it will not work).

    Think about your own coffee shop consumption patterns. 1. You go to a coffee shop close to your work. 2. The staff member is polite and the coffee is good. 3. You go everyday. 4. One day you get bad service or the coffee is bad. 5. The next day you go somewhere else and start back at step 1. DO NOT LET THIS BE THE EXPERIENCE FOR YOUR CUSTOMERS OR YOU WILL FAIL.

    Keep things relatively simple. Focus on: Good value, Great Coffee/Food/Drinks, and Excellent Service.

    Finally, one of the biggest reasons any type of Food/Beverage/Hospitality business fails is their owners think it is about them. It is THEIR Coffee shop. They are going to do things THEIR way. WRONG. It is your CUSTMOERS Coffee Shop. You sell products and provide service they want – not what you think is good/how things should be done.

    Good luck.

    Hi Gordon,

    Thank you so much for your invaluable advice above, I am aware so many things to do when you setting up your own business from the scratch. I just have this idea that if someone want to be successful, they have to do it themselves from the scratch. I just do not like the idea having franchise with all those fees that at the end of the day only small percentage of profit left, looking at all the effort you have done to your business.

    Just about your comment about going into this very competitive type of industry with low margins, I have also read articles that majority coffee shop businesses fail within the first year, this is something that makes my self doubt lately whether I still want to pursue it or look at another business within other type of industry.

    I think the same principles I have go with the one you have mentioned above;

    • Location is always my priority of list when setting up this business
    • Sourcing quality equipment by shopping around to have the best quote
    • Simple Menu but quality with healthy choices
    • Sourcing quality coffee beans means good coffee to consume, not just selling “a coffee”
    • Always look happy, since customers do not want to buy something from a person who looks grumpy
    • High customer service level
    • Reward Program benefits customer but should not put the business in losing profit situation

    I am totally agree with your last point that it is CUSTOMER’s Coffee Shop not MY Coffee Shop, at the end of the day, those who understands customer needs will survive and thrive.

    I hope I could have more discussion with you further in regards of my situation. Once again thank you and really appreciate for your advice.

    Kind Regards,
    Ady

    #1017275
    The Cafe Ninja
    Member
    • Total posts: 124
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    Hi all, just to let you know that my book is now finished and available for purchase at my website.

    #1017276
    PlantationCoffee
    Member
    • Total posts: 22
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    Welcome Ady,

    La Marzocco’s are very very good machines and are built to last both a long time as well as handle under pressure when your orders have gone through the roof , Mazzer grinders are about the same too – very reliable and very robust.

    La Marzocco 2 group machines go from around about $12000 up and if it was me id go with their Linea model. mazzer major grinders from around $700

    if you went with sayy a WEGA 2 group machine and a commercial grinder youd probably spend close to $6000

    Straight out –
    skills
    my advice is first of all is to do with your skill levels , get some basic training- but the learning doesnt end there, id advise you to keep improving your skill at steaming milk and making good espresso’s

    Your supplier
    There are big brand suppliers out there who WILL put you on a contract and give you machines etc.
    too bad you cant make a name for yourself with these guys.
    if you just want to be an ordinary place selling ordinary coffee then go for these guys

    There are alternatives to them like INDEPENDENT roasters who will supply you with far better coffee and give you far better advice and most will be happy to coach you into skills.
    Yes the machine and grinder might cost you dollars but at least thats better than giving most of your profits to your supplier , if you think that all that is for free (machine,umbrella,banners,grinder,cups) then your living in disneyland NOTHING COMES FOR FREE. So please dont be fooled.

    Food
    Most times your cafe will have to be serving good food , it pulls people in to your place weather outdoor cafe or in shopping centres.

    Pricing
    most people do not realise that a reasonable price is important , you can typically make around 100 cups from 1kg of coffee if you didnt waste much.
    so for every shot you make e.g @ $25/kg = $0.25 /cup plus about 40c/cup milk – roughly 65cents per cup is your cost. a reasonable price is probably around $3.20 /cup of coffee.

    bundle that with a meal deal / muffin deal – it works wonder trust me.

    now to get your customers really hooked into your cafe you are going to have to turn your place into a destination for great coffee , food and service(as mentioned by others)
    my advice – start off with a lower end machine / grinder and work on your skills untill you are ready to use a high end machine because you can have the most expensive machine but dont know how to make coffee properly and youl have ruined it.

    start off small and build your clientelle consistently.

    please let me know if you need more detailed info on la marzoccos etc.

    cheers
    Shaf

    Plantation Coffee Roasters
    Brisbane QLD 4112

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