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Must-Know Tips for Running a Successful Café

  • October 20, 2021

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Must-Know Tips for Running a Successful Café

As coffee drinkers, we love finding subtle ways to flex our love for our favorite brews. We have coffee mugs that threaten loved ones with bodily harm if they talk to us before our first cup, we brag about how many cups we have to drink every day, and we laugh in the face of those complaining about the Western world’s caffeine addiction (all while knowing it’s true).

Even so, those whose love of coffee extends to making a living selling it are a completely different class, and you need more than a caffeine addiction to enroll in it. If you want to become a coffee centurion over your legion of baristas, follow these must-know tips for running a successful café.

Create a Business Plan

As much as cafés are about coffee, at their heart, they’re still businesses. And no business is complete without a business plan. Before you even think about moving forward with opening your business, assess all the potential start-up costs, including:

  • Menu costs
  • Equipment
  • Interior décor
  • Licensing
  • Building rent and utilities

These costs can total hundreds of thousands of dollars for the average sit-down coffee shop, so take a sober look at them before moving forward. From there, develop your working budget.

Keep On Top of Equipment Maintenance

It doesn’t matter how organized or hardworking you are, equipment breaking down can bring even the most efficient café operation to a screeching halt. Not to mention, doing things like not cleaning out your ice maker enough can lead to tainted products for your customers. An efficient maintenance program is the best way to save yourself a whole lot of heartache. A good maintenance schedule should include:

  • Equipment inspections
  • Replacing filters
  • Cleaning out refrigeration coils
  • Wiping down equipment exteriors

Training your new employees about how to properly use equipment is another essential step in making sure your equipment is treated right. That way, it will need less maintenance in the first place.

Create a Killer Menu

This is the fun part for any food business, cafés included. Your menu is what’s going to keep people coming back to your shop for more, so it’s one of the foundations to running a successful café. Here are a few principles to keep in mind:

  • Choose a variety of high-quality coffees (obviously).
  • Have options for the (misguided) customers who don’t like coffee, such as tea and hot chocolate.
  • Develop specialty drinks customers can’t find in other stores, such as seasonal and themed drinks.
  • Keep people who have allergies or dietary restrictions, like gluten and dairy allergies, in mind when making your menu
  • Offer food options for those coming for breakfast and lunch, like pastries, charcuterie boards, and sandwiches.

For food, teaming up with local businesses, like candy shops or bakeries, is a great way to buff up your menu while creating solidarity with your community. And for a local café, your solidarity with your community is everything.