You’ve had the fantastic idea to open a café. You’ve made your business plan, done your market research, selected the perfect location (and now have the keys!), and now you’re ready to really get going and open to all your lovely new customers. But you need to make sure that all the smaller details are ticked off – all those things which can easily be overlooked in the chaos, excitement, and organisational challenge of opening a new café. So here are a few things you should have in place before you open.
Insurance is incredibly important, and you should get all the relevant policies up and running as soon as possible, preferably before moving into your premises. Moving in anywhere is chaotic, and that’s when accidents happen. You also might be moving into a space that hasn’t been used for a few months – turning on heating and water could flag up faults or problems. Even if you are not responsible for fixing all of these, it could mean a delay in opening, which is a delay in profits that could impact loan repayments and so on.
Leading on from this, you need to make sure that your utilities are ready to go from the date you move in. You don’t want to get the keys and then find you need to wait two weeks for internet, for instance. It might not seem as important a utility as water or gas, but you need the internet to manage your business; finance, your online presence, your ordering, phone calls – all of this is likely to rely on the internet these days. Even card machines to take payments will need some form of internet connection.
Before you open feels incredibly busy and fast-paced, but now is the right time to properly organise any supplies, particularly extra ones known as backstock. You need to have everything clearly labelled and in the correct ‘reach to’ areas so that whoever is working in that area knows exactly where things are. If you use clear boxes for storage, you can easily see where an item is and whether you need to replenish stock.
Take Away Containers
You might be planning on only being a sit-down-to-eat and drink location, an oasis of calm during a busy workday, but having ‘to go’ packaging options will always be handy. Having some handy boxes or a double wall cup ready to go when a customer needs to rush back to a meeting will really make the difference in your customer satisfaction. You’ll get bonus points as well if you use eco-friendly versions!
Staff guidelines are something which may change over time, and new ones will need to be written. But if you have any staff members for your new café, you will need to make sure that all the policies you expect them to follow are clearly written down and are easily accessible. Training will cover all of this in practice, but there needs to be a formal document that you and they can refer back to when needed.
When opening up your new café, you’re naturally going to be wanting to make sure everything front of house looks amazing, but make sure that it is fully functional behind the scenes too. Go through your workflow and ask other people to ‘work’ in your space as well to make sure that nothing has been overlooked or overly focused on your style of working.