Coffee and Cheesecake Cafe

coffee and cheesecake business

Thinking of opening a Coffee and Cheesecake Cafe?

Opening a cafe specialising in cheesecake and coffee sounds great in theory, but it takes a lot of planning, money, and physical effort upfront. 

The good news is that opening your own café can be an exciting and rewarding experience.  

The bad news is that it will not be all ‘beer and skittles’; life as a cafe owner/operator will most likely not be easy, fun, or carefree; it will be full of challenges, difficulties, and very serious learning moments that will make you want to give up occasionally.  

What to expect with setting up a Coffee and Cheesecake Café from scratch.

Below are some factors to consider, some of which could be classified as negative aspects you may encounter as a coffee and cheesecake cafe owner:

1.    Financial Risk:

a.    Initial Investment: Opening a cafe requires significant capital for equipment, furnishings, and renovations.  There will be significant ongoing operating costs.

b.    Profit Uncertainty: It may take quite a long time to break even and start making a profit.

2.    Long Hours and Hard Work: Early Mornings and Late Nights are pretty much your daily routine as most Cafes will open early and close late to attract the shift workers. 

3.    Physical Demands: Running a cafe involves a lot of standing behind the counter, lifting, and multitasking.  You need to wear comfy shoes to support being on your feet all day long.

4.    Competition – Saturated Market: Cafes are popular, especially in urban areas. Standing out can be challenging.

5.    Changing Trends: Keeping up with customer preferences and food trends is crucial.

6.    Staff Management: Recruitment and Training: Finding reliable staff and training them effectively.

7.    Turnover: High staff turnover can disrupt operations.

8.    Regulations and Compliance: Health and Safety Standards: Strict adherence to hygiene and safety regulations.

9.    Licensing and Permits: Obtaining necessary licenses for food handling and music.

10. Customer Expectations: Consistency: Customers expect consistent quality, service, and ambiance.

11.  Handling Difficult Customers: Dealing with complaints and maintaining a positive image.

12. Supply Chain Challenges: Ingredient Sourcing: Ensuring a steady supply of fresh ingredients.

13. Inventory Management: Balancing stock levels to avoid wastage.

14. Marketing and Branding: Visibility: Promoting your cafe effectively to attract customers.

15. Online Presence: Managing social media, reviews, and online orders.

16. Emotional Investment: Stress and Pressure: Owning a cafe can be emotionally draining.

17. Personal Sacrifices: Time away from family and friends, not being able to get away from work due to staff not turning up for their shifts and probably forget ever being able to take holidays for a couple of years

18. Seasonal Fluctuations:  Weather and Holidays: Cafes experience variations in foot traffic based on seasons and holidays.

19. Operating costs: Having never-ending monthly expenses, regardless of how profitable your business has recently been, can sometimes ruin a good day/week/month/year.  There will be many ongoing operating costs to consider, as follows:

a.    Rent or Mortgage: The cost of leasing or owning your cafe’s space. Rent varies depending on location, size, and amenities. As a general rule, rent should not exceed 15% of your anticipated average sales. 

b.    Parenting Provisions: It might also be a good idea to provide Baby Changing Stations in the female toilets for the mothers; alternatively, you could have a separate room for parents with young children to feed them, nurse crying babies, change nappies, and so on.

c.    Insurance: Protecting your cafe against risks such as property damage, liability, and employee-related issues. The cost varies based on coverage and location.

d.    Loan Repayment (if applicable): If you’ve taken out a loan to start your cafe, you’ll have monthly repayments.

e.    Staff Costs: This includes payroll, taxes, benefits, and payroll accounting services. Staff costs should ideally stay under 35% of projected sales.

f.    Other Fixed Costs: These may include licenses, permits, and fees required by local authorities. For example:

                                         i.    Council Rates: These are local government charges for services like waste collection, street maintenance, and infrastructure.

                                        ii.    Strata Fees: If your cafe is part of a strata-titled building, you’ll contribute to shared costs like building maintenance and common areas.

g.    Coffee Centric Machinery, Equipment & Other costs:  You will naturally need to purchase items such as coffee machines, espresso machines, grinders, furniture, and barista uniforms. These are one-time purchases, but regular maintenance and replacement are required.

h.    Utilities (Power & Water): Running a cafe requires electricity and water. These costs are constantly rising and are critical for running your business. They include electricity bills and water charges. Because electricity charges can nearly bankrupt you in countries like Australia, it’s a good idea to see if you can cover your roof with solar panels to cut your electricity costs.

i.     Utilities (Toilet Areas): Operating a cafe with restroom facilities involves several costs. Let’s look at what you might expect with a fairly standard situation where your café has two toilet blocks in your café (1 x Male, 1 x Female):

1)    Construction and Installation:  Plumbing and Fixtures: This includes installing pipes, sinks, toilets, urinals, and other plumbing fixtures. Costs vary based on the complexity of the plumbing system and the quality of fixtures.

2)   Cubicles and Partitions: Constructing separate male and female toilet cubicles with privacy partitions is essential. The cost depends on materials (e.g., stainless steel, laminate, or wood) and design.

3)   Hand Dryers or Paper Towel Dispensers: Providing hand-drying options for patrons.

4)   Maintenance and Repairs:  Regular Cleaning: Regular cleaning services to maintain hygiene and cleanliness.

5)   Plumbing Repairs: Fixing leaks, clogs, or other plumbing issues.

6)   Restocking Supplies: Replenishing toilet paper, soap, and other consumables.

7)   Fixture Maintenance: Repairing or replacing broken fixtures.

8)   Water Usage: Cafes with restrooms consume water for flushing, hand washing, and cleaning.

9)   Electricity: Lighting, ventilation, and hand dryers contribute to electricity costs.

10)Compliance and Licensing:  Health and Safety Regulations: Ensuring compliance with local health and safety standards.

11) Building Permits: Obtaining necessary permits for restroom construction and operation.

12)Annual Inspections: Some jurisdictions require regular inspections.

13)Supplies and Amenities:  Toilet Paper and Soap: Regularly restocking these essentials.

14)Feminine Hygiene Disposal Units: Installing and maintaining receptacles for female personal hygiene items.

15)Air Fresheners: Keeping the restrooms smelling pleasant.

16)Cleaning Supplies: Mops, disinfectants, and other cleaning materials.

17)Accessibility Features: Your café should be able to cater for people with people with health conditions or impairments you will need to consider the following:

a.    Dedicated accessible toilets with wider doors, grab bars, and appropriate signage.

b.    Wheelchair and/or mobility scooter access into your café and for moving freely around your café.

c.    There are specialised adjustable tables that are designed for people to drive wheelchairs straight into.

What Security Actions Should Be Taken?

Ensuring the security of your standalone cafe building is critical for protecting you, your business, employees, customers, and all of your expensive assets.

The following are some of the typical security actions that you should consider implementing:

Security Systems and Technology.

Surveillance Cameras: Install high-quality security cameras inside and outside the building. Place them strategically to protect vulnerable areas like entrances, cash registers, and storage spaces.

Alarm Systems: Invest in security systems that detect unauthorised entry, glass breakage, or motion. These systems can notify you and relevant authorities in the event of a security breach.  You can subscribe to 24/7 monitoring of your building via security companies.

Lighting: Ensure that the building is properly lit, particularly at night. Well-lit areas deter crime and increase overall safety.

Cash Management: Minimize the amount of cash you keep. Regularly deposit cash in a secure bank account to reduce the risk of theft.

Install a Quality Safe: Install a secure safe for storing cash overnight, important documents and other valuable items.

Staff Safety – Training: Train your staff on security protocols. They should know how to handle emergencies, respond to threats, and report suspicious activities.

Staff Safety – Emergency Procedures: Develop clear emergency procedures for incidents like robberies. As difficult as it might be to discuss such situations, ensure that staff members know what to do in dangerous situations like this.,

Cybersecurity: Protect your business data by implementing robust cybersecurity measures. Purchase quality anti virus software like Norton 360, Total AV, Avast, McAfee or Scanguard.  Regularly update your computers operating system software, use strong passwords, and educate staff about phishing and malware risks.

Data Backups: Regularly back up critical data either onto a removable hard drive or onto a cloud to prevent loss due to cyberattacks or system failures.  You can set auto-backups to happen at a certain time of night.

Physical Security: Reinforce doors, windows, and glass panels. Consider laminated or shatter-resistant glass to prevent break-ins.   It is probably worth getting a security company to do an assessment on this stuff.

Visible Deterrents: Display signs indicating the presence of security systems (e.g., “24/7 Surveillance”). Criminals are less likely to target well-protected premises.

Landscaping: Trim bushes and trees near windows to eliminate hiding spots for potential intruders.

Neighbourhood Watch: Collaborate with neighbouring businesses and residents to create a safer environment. Look out for each other and report suspicious activities.

Develop a comprehensive business continuity plan. Identify potential threats, assess risks, and outline steps to respond and recover during and after incidents.

Conduct a risk assessment to identify security vulnerabilities specific to your cafe building.

Remember, proactive security measures can significantly reduce the likelihood of incidents and help protect your investment.

Stay informed about local crime trends and adapt your security protocols accordingly. I think consulting with a professional security expert is best, they will tailor solutions to your cafe’s unique needs.

There is a lot to think about prior to opening the doors of a New Café.

I’m not sure about you, but I’m exhausted just thinking about the effort required to get a café up and running, with no guarantees that it will turn out even close to what you hope.

The goal of discussing the initial challenges you’ll face (bad news) so early in this article is not to scare people away; rather, I believe that people should learn about the risks versus rewards details of café ownership early on, before they become too committed towards the idea. 

Running your own cafe has both positive and negative aspects, and I believe it is critical to be aware of the obstacles you may face.

In any event, now that we have discussed the potential hurdles/challenges of owning your own coffee and cheesecake café, let’s now focus on some of the advantages (good news).

What to look forward to with having your own Coffee and Cheesecake Café.

1.    Creativity and Expression: Your café will be the product of realising your ideas and dreams.

a)   Menu Innovation: You can showcase your culinary creativity by creating inventive dishes, desserts, and drinks.

b)   Interior Design: You can create a warm, welcoming space that embodies your vision and personality.

2.    Community Connection:

a)   Regular Customers: You can cultivate relationships with regulars who value your cafe’s atmosphere and menu.

b)   Local Engagement: You can become a vital part of the community by organising events, promoting local artists, and working with surrounding businesses.

3.    Positive Atmosphere & Experience:

a.    Satisfied Customers: Seeing smiles and receiving compliments.

b.    Creating Memories: Cafes often serve as a backdrop for special occasions like first dates, catch-ups, and celebrations.

4.    Passion and Purpose:

a.    Living Your Dream: Transforming your passion for food and hospitality into a successful business.

b.    Daily Satisfaction: Enjoying serving delicious food and beverages to appreciative guests.

5.    It’s Your Life and Your Business:  You’ll have flexibility and autonomy in business decisions, including control over menu changes, promotions, and cafe policies.

a.    Work-Life Balance: Although owning a cafe requires hard work, you can control your schedule to some extent.

b.    Continuous Improvement:  You will learn from your mistakes, adapt to customer feedback, and evolve your offerings.

c.    Professional Development:  You’ll develop business skills, including management, marketing, and financial planning.

6.    Aesthetic Pleasure: It’s nice when your beautiful presentation is noticed.  Seeing your strikingly plated dishes and desserts delight your customers.

7.    Interior Details: Noticing how customers are enjoying the cosy corners, artwork, and decor you’ve created for them.

8.    Legacy and Impact: Your cafe leaves a mark on local culture and history.

9.    Supporting Others: Creating jobs and contributing to the local economy.

Without a doubt in my mind, the most rewarding aspects will derive from bringing your unique vision and dreams to life and the unconditional love you will pour into your café.

Remember that while there are challenges, running your own cafe can be extremely rewarding. Don’t let adversity shape your life; instead, let your passion, dedication, and adaptability carry you through it. 

Your strengths and desire to succeed are critical to overcoming these obstacles and establishing a successful Coffee and Cheesecake Café.

What are some of the most critical factors to consider before opening a café?

1.    Café Layout and Design:

a.    Effective Layout: A well-planned layout is essential to success. It influences customer flow, space utilisation, and overall ambience.   

·        Consider designating separate areas for different activities within your shop (such as ordering, seating, and socialising).

·        Create comfortable reading nooks, lively social areas, and quiet workspaces. 

b.    Furniture placement: Use furniture strategically to create zones. Comfortable reading couches, communal tables for socialising, and individual tables for business meetings. 

c.    Traffic Flow: To ensure smooth movement between zones of your shop, leave as much space as possible.

2.    Know your Audience/Customers:  Identify your target audience, including their location and activities.  Determine your target customers, whether they are students, professionals, or families, and then tailor your design to their needs.

a.    Monitor customer interactions within your premises.  Do they prefer communal seating or private areas? Adapt accordingly. 

b.    Personalisation and atmosphere:  Design your cafe to elicit specific emotions from your customers; this can be accomplished with soft lighting for a relaxing atmosphere, vibrant elements for a younger audience or cosy corners for readers. 

c.    Aesthetics: Select colours, decor, and music that are relevant to your brand and target audience. 

3.    Selecting the Right Location

a.    Foot Traffic: Look for high-traffic areas, such as those near schools, offices, or shopping centres.

b.    Visibility: Choose a visible location with good street presence. Passers-by should be able to see your cafe easily.

c.    Competitors: Look into existing cafes nearby. Prevent over saturation in the same area.

d.    Parking: Ensure that customers have convenient parking options off street if possible. 

·  Avoid constructing or purchasing a café in an area that will be ignored since the closest parking is too far away. 

·  Be sure to make the most of your available parking area if you are fortunate enough to have one. 

·  Customers will be much happier if they can almost always count on a safe parking spot on your property; they will not be too happy about you planting lush gardens in spots that could be used for safe off street parking.

4.    You & Your cafe’s business plan: Choose between building, purchasing, or renting.   

a.    Do more than just think about what those expenses might be, get firm quotations, not vague estimates.

b.    Understand every bit of detail: Explore and fully understand all terms of any rental lease that is presented to you and refrain from signing any documentation that suggests the lease arrangement is too far from you ideal needs.

5.    Coffee and Cheesecake Café Tools, Equipment and Materials:

a.    If you want to make lovely tasting coffee and have your customers rave about their experience at your shop, invest in a good espresso machine and the best quality coffee money can buy. 

b.    Baking/Cooking Expenses:  These costs include ovens, mixers, refrigerators, display cases, pots, pans, trays, various sizes of mixing bowls, silverware, and standard baking and cooking implements.

6.    Specific Cheesecake related Items might include:

a.    Stand Mixer or Hand Mixer: Essential for blending cream cheese, sugar, and other ingredients.

b.    Spatulas and Whisks: For smooth mixing and scraping.

c.    Measuring Cups and Spoons: Precise measurements are crucial.

d.    Food Processor: Useful for crushing graham crackers for crusts.

e.    Springform Pans: These allow easy removal of cheesecakes without damaging them.

f.    Cake Pans: For baking cheesecake layers.

g.    Baking Sheets: For crusts or cookie bases.

h.    Cooling Racks: To cool baked cheesecakes evenly.

i.     Parchment Paper: Prevents sticking.

j.     Oven and Refrigeration:

k.    Convection Oven: Even baking is essential.

l.     Refrigerator and Freezer: For chilling and setting cheesecakes.

m.   Thermometer: To monitor oven and fridge temperatures.

n.    Food Storage Containers: Keep ingredients fresh.

o.    Refrigerator Shelving: Organize ingredients efficiently.

p.    Presentation and Serving:

q.    Cake Stands: Showcase your cheesecakes.

r.    Cake Slicers: For neat portions.

s.    Decorating Tools: Piping bags, tips, and spatulas for finishing touches.

t.    Dishwashing Sink: Properly clean utensils.

u.    Sanitizing Solutions: Maintain hygiene.

v.    Aprons and Gloves: For food safety.

7.    Buy a quality Coffee Grinder: Improves the flavour of freshly ground coffee. 

8.    Unique Interior Design: Try your best to purchase unique looking furniture:  This includes tables, chairs, and comfortable seating. 

9.    A quality POS System: Simplify the purchasing process for your customers with a quality Point Of Sale System.

10. Signage and Decoration: Increase the cafe’s aesthetic appeal.

11.  Presentation to the public – Branding: Create a cohesive brand identity. The logo, menu design, and signage should be consistent.

12. Presentation to the public – Social Media: Utilize platforms like Google Business,  LinkedIn, Instagram, X, Reddit, Tumblr, Quora, YouTube and Facebook to showcase your offerings.

13. Opening Event: Host a grand opening to attract attention.

14. Customer Service: Friendly staff and excellent service leave a lasting impression.

In Conclusion.

Lastly, if you do go down the tricky and risky path of starting up your own café, it’s worth reminding yourself occasionally to take a step back from the issues and write them down.  

The first thing is to capture the issues; you’ll have time to work out how to address them later on.   Find a problem solving technique that you like and use this to work through any problems you encounter.

Remember that successful cafes focus on quality, consistency, and creating memorable experiences for their patrons. 

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