HomeGetting StartedThe Ultimate Guide To Opening A Cafe Business In India

The Ultimate Guide To Opening A Cafe Business In India

There is more to a cafe than just a location for coffee and food. If you open a cafe at the right location with a good strategy, it can serve as the most trending and go-to place in town. Gatherings, meet-ups, dates, hangouts, and more; a cafe business provides people with a place to relax and recreate.

Are you planning to start your cafe? Well, you have taken upon yourself a difficult (but not impossible) task. But worry not! Here’s a step-by-step guide to opening a cafe and making it a thriving business. 

Step By Step Guide To Open A Cafe  

1. Know The Market  

Before you open a cafe, you need to do detailed research about the existing cafe market in your area. Since you will be investing a significant amount of money and time, it is better to learn what it takes to run a cafe business from someone who is already doing it.

Visit local cafes, observe what they offer, and analyze the problem areas which you can fulfil. Spend some time in the cafes to understand the kind of audience they get according to the menu and the interiors they offer.

This will allow you to recognize how to stand out from the crowd and beat the competition. 

How do I start a successful cafe? - A guide to open a cafe in India
Go to local cafes and observe what they are doing and the people they attract

2. Draft A Business Plan 

Start by defining a budget. How much are you willing to invest over a defined period? What should be the profit forecast for the first year?

Once you have a rough idea of the budget, think of the actual cafe location. Do you want to rent or lease? Do you own the place? Will you need to hire an architect and an interior designer?

You also need to identify the format of your cafe business. Will you be a rooftop cafe or prefer an indoor setting? Your cafe’s structure will define which type of licenses you’ll be requiring. Once you have a definite business plan, opening a cafe will become easier

3. Select The Ideal Location 

Any cafe business’s overall success depends on its location. Spend some time in the neighbourhoods you are considering before you make you finalize. 

While you plan to open a cafe, pay special attention to the density of people and the amount of parking that is offered. Is the place sufficiently visible? Is there enough public access for your cafe’s attraction? What does the area’s demographic significance mean? 

What types of activities does the neighbourhood enjoy? Are you in a large area with several cafés or on a small, private lane? You need to understand what the people like and dislike in that area. For instance, if it is a highly residential location, people might not be happy with the amount of traffic generated because of the cafe. 

Tips to open a successful café business in India
A good location is the first selling point of your cafe business

4. Get The Necessary Licenses

This is a step you cannot miss at all! Before opening a cafe for business, you must procure certain licenses per the rules and regulations.

From a health and safety license to an FSSAI license, there is a long list which you need to fulfil and apply for. If you are confused and overwhelmed about licenses, click here to learn all about the shop and establishment license you will need to open a cafe.

5. Get A List Of Suppliers 

You will need a group of trustworthy suppliers who can provide you with high-quality products without burning a hole in your pocket. Here are some essentials which every cafe business needs: 

  • Milk 
  • Coffee
  • Groceries 
  • Fresh Vegetables 
  • Crockery 
  • Napkins 
  • Cutlery 

These are perishable items that you will need regularly. Get a quotation from multiple suppliers and create a comparative analysis. Depending on the type of cafe, there are many other essentials like syrups, bakery goods, stirrers, pots, etc., which you will need.

If you are looking for a one-stop solution for your billing, cafe inventory management, and suppliers needs, you need to worry not and give Petpooja a shot! Petpooja offers you the best billing software and access to Suppliers Hub. A platform that connects you to over 8000+ suppliers from all over India who can give you the best quality product at the best price!

6. Get The Necessary Equipment 

When opening a cafe, you need a fully equipped kitchen with everything your staff will require. You can either buy new equipment, get a second hand or even rent some things. Here is some cafe equipment that you must have in your kitchen:

  • Preparation Equipment: Ovens, mixers, toasters, blenders, etc 
  • Coffee Machines: Brewer, espresso maker, grinders, drip machines, etc 
  • Storage & Refrigeration units: Display case, walk-in freezers, etc 
  • Ventilation Systems 
  • Service Ware 
  • Utensils 
  • Safety Equipment 
  • Consumable & Disposable Goods: napkins, tissues, lids, boxes, cups, etc 

Apart from this, the equipment you need will also depend on the type of cafe you want to establish. For instance, if you plan on serving desserts, you will also need some bakery equipment. 

Every equipment you need to open a café
The right equipment makes the life of your staff easier and helps you serve the customers better

7. Build Your Cafe Interiors 

Now is the time for the fun part of the cafe business. Your café’s interior and aesthetic appeal is key in attracting guests and encouraging them to return. Your target audience will determine the concept of your cafe business to a considerable extent. Before starting the layout, keep the furniture, lighting, signage, and storefront decor in mind. 

RECOMMENDED READ  7 Easy Steps To Open A Coffee Shop In India

Do you want a classy Parisian theme? A retro ambience? Maybe a co-working space or a quiet place for book lovers? Recognize the preferences of your clientele and design your café around them. Don’t strive to please everyone at once; sticking to one theme will result in a stronger identity.

Before your open a cafe, analyze the layout’s effectiveness from both the employee’s and the customer’s standpoint. Can the barista efficiently work in the available space? Can your staff move around the room quickly? When customers walk into your coffee shop, will they understand the arrangement and be comfortable? 

It might seem like an additional cost, but hiring an experienced interior designer can help tie everything together. An excellent environment and a smooth workflow are essential, and a skilled designer may make all the difference for your cafe interior

How to open a café on a low budget
Choosing an aesthetic will determine the brand that your cafe will build

8. Create An Irresistible Cafe Menu 

The vision and the theme of your cafe will be enhanced by the menu you create. From design, colour, and fonts to the plating of the food, you need to consider all factors when designing the cafe menu. 

Your menu will help you stay ahead of the competition. Keep things simple; trying to please everyone is one of the biggest mistakes that cafe operators make. You can end up with dozens of rarely ordered things as a result and a list of expensive inventory.

Include 15-20 classic dishes and beverages, including vegan and vegetarian options. You can also analyze the preferences of your TG and the location. Are there more health-conscious people in your area? Do you have a TG who would prefer teas included in your cafe menu? Keep these factors in mind when creating the cafe menu. 

Additionally, your menu must be economical. Determine the margin and cost of each item’s ingredients.

To get you started, a general guideline is that the ingredient prices shouldn’t be greater than 35% of the selling price (excluding GST).

Checklist to café business
The menu needs to be profitable for you and exciting for the consumer

9. Hire And Train The Staff 

Finding and retaining excellent workers is one of the biggest challenges every business faces in this retail food industry. While most people search for experience, attitude and soft skills are essential criteria because most of your staff needs to interact with people daily. 

Not only do you need to hire people with the basic skills but also someone who can easily blend in the culture that you are trying to build for your cafe business, so be sure to put in the time to locate candidates who are the best fit for you.

Don’t just focus on hiring; train and retrain them when needed. Pay close attention to the feedback your customers give your staff; those are your parameters to know how well your employees are working.

Manage your time, customers, and staff’s time efficiently. Forcing your staff to overwork will not improve their productivity. Instead, from the very beginning, empower them with smart technology and guide them to quickly handle their mundane tasks efficiently.

What is most important in a cafe?

10. Get A POS Software

Smooth operations and easy management are essential to the success of your cafe. One thing that will help you when you open a cafe is getting POS software. From billing to inventory management, reporting and keeping track of your customer data, a cafe POS system will take care of all your needs. You can even keep track of employee performance and effectively manage your staff with the help of POS software.

11. Market Your Cafe 

The period before the opening of your cafe is the time you need to utilize the most. Get the word out about your cafe and start building a network. This can be done by deriving an effective social media or influencer marketing strategy. Marketing your cafe helps in informing and generating curiosity about your new cafe.

You must build a presence on social media platforms like Instagram as well. Instagramers adorn aesthetic cafes! It has evolved into a platform for spreading awareness but doesn’t end there. Through cafe promotions on Instagram, you can increase your reach and target people as per specific demography.

To appear in local searches, make sure you claim your Google Maps listing. You should also consider creating your cafe’s ID on other review sites like Magic pin, Zomato and Swiggy so you can respond to comments quickly. Create personalized content, interactively engage with the audience, and ensure that you provide online promotions. 

How to market a cafe business?
The more visible you are on social media, the more reach you will get from new customers

To open a cafe, you need to be dedicated and passionate about your vision and take steps in the right direction. Without the right knowledge and guidance, you are setting yourself up for failure, so it is best to be thorough with research before you open a cafe business.

We hope this article helped you gain some insight and will be useful when you start your own cafe business. For more content like this, follow us on Instagram!

Anukriti Singh
Anukriti Singh
A strategist by the day and writer by night, I find solace between books and coffee cups. A firm believer that words are the most powerful tool of the humankind


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