Own a Café – Don’t Let it Own YOU!
Quitting your job and finally being independent. Creating a space that welcomes everyone from lonely writers to large families. Becoming a neighborhood landmark. No wonder when people talk about starting their business, many of them talk about owning a restaurant or café. But what’s better, opening a café from scratch or investing in a café franchise from a growing national brand?
If you’re leaning toward opening an independent restaurant, you should have a clearer idea of the pressures of the job. You should be aware of the lack of work-life balance that comes with opening an independent café versus owning a café franchise location in your community. If you’re thinking about opening a café, this guide will reveal the true picture of the challenges that await you.
Thinking of opening a café? Here’s what you need to know
Most people want to own a café because they think about it from the consumer’s point of view. Everyone likes spending time at cafés. Everything from the ambiance to the music to the food can be delightful. But before you conjure too many Central Perk-type images in your head, it’s important to know that the fantasy of owning or running a café can be wildly different from its day-to-day reality. Here’s how.
It will take its time
Remember that the success of a café disproportionately depends on its location. Even with the best of product and service, it would be difficult to run a café from the wrong place. Searching for real estate means constantly having to deal with agents, property managers, and other people who may be trying to sell you a spot that just won’t work for your business.
Just because a space is available doesn’t mean you should rush to open your café. You need to understand whether the spot will get the right foot traffic and whether it has parking space nearby. Then you need time to develop a menu, source the necessary equipment and furnishings, find vendors, and get all your electrical and plumbing work done.
Hiring staff isn’t easy, as restaurant owners will tell you. Getting regulatory approvals will also take some time. Not to mention the time you would need for interior decoration. Considering the number of things you’ve got to get done, it might take anywhere from three to nine months or more to get your café running. For these months, you’ll be busy with work with little time for family and friends.
You need to develop the right product (and market)
There’s a golden rule in the restaurant industry that newcomers should know about: What you like or what you’re good at may not translate to a viable business. What you like to eat, serve, or what you believe you can create well may not find a market. Most restaurant entrepreneurs lose a lot of time and money learning this lesson.
For any restaurant to attract customers, it would need a unique proposition. Unless what you offer is distinct, there will be no reason for anyone to walk into your café. You might be confident of your ambiance but it’s always secondary to your primary product and that’s the food and drinks you serve.
Your menu must find a need-gap in the market. To put it simply, there should be an existing customer group that’s looking forward to your concept. As Franchise Owners of Toastique have found out, with a unique yet market-ready menu, everything falls into place easily. Without it, there will be unnecessary expenses, losses, and headaches.
It takes a lot of money to open and run a café
When people think of investing in a restaurant business, they usually think of the initial costs. These include expenses for lease, renovation, equipment, hiring, interior design, furniture, crockery, cutlery, marketing, etc. While these are significant investments, this is only a part of what you would be expected to spend.
If you don’t have a unique proposition and an eager customer base, it would take time for your restaurant to build a regular clientele. Until you break even, you will have to pay salaries, utility bills, and your vendors. To get customers, your café will also have to spend on marketing. Building brand equity takes time and money for new entrants.
You have to wear many hats
The primary reason running an independent café can damage one’s mental health is the number of roles you have to play. You have to develop the right product, constantly supervise your vendors, manage your staff and discourage them from leaving, and take care of customer queries and complaints.
These translate to long nights and weekends spent at the restaurant. With such pressures and no viable timeframe for success, entrepreneurship might turn out to be an exceptionally difficult journey.
The restaurant that you wanted to own would now own you. With never-ending responsibilities and uncertainty, that dream of freedom through your own business might become an inescapable burden.
Toastique: A superior alternative
Almost all the problems associated with starting an independent café can be solved when you become a Franchise Owner of Toastique. To begin with, it’s a proven concept. So, you already have a market. This also means that the healthy toasts and cold-pressed juices will fly off your shelves quickly, helping you break even faster.
Importantly, you have multiple streams of revenue, not to mention less need to advertise since the brand already has a steady following on social media and a good deal of word-of-mouth buzz. What’s more, our inviting atmosphere and beautifully-crafted menu offerings bring people in right off the street, making them want to live the Toastique lifestyle! Click here to learn how you can be a successful entrepreneur with Toastique while living a well-balanced life.