A complete business plan to open a small café


Creating a new café business plan from scratch might not be everyone’s cup of tea. But if it’s yours, we have got your back.

Do you intend to start a café? Have you wanted to accomplish it for a while and are now in a situation to finally turn your dream into a reality?

No matter how much time you spend developing your idea and studying the market, your restaurant is certain to fail without adequate preparation.

A complete business plan to open a small café or cafeteria will offer a framework that helps you plan and forecast all aspects of managing and operating a cafe, including the menu, location, competitive analysis, market research, sales, finances, employee development, and much more. 

This solid groundwork aids in turning your café concepts into a reality.

Continue reading for examples, advice, and all the information you require to open a café business and draft your first café business plan.

Ingredients for a perfect Café business

Up to 60% of all café business closes in their first year of opening. And the main reason for this is inadequate experience in business planning. In the early days, the hidden ingredient of running a successful café business was all about the perfect location. 

But now, there is plenty more to go on. Here are some of the things that you must ensure to get more customers and turn them into regulars.

Coffee products

Quality first: The secret to café business success is quality. You need to ensure,

  • Top-notch ingredients.
  • The most excellent brewing recipes.
  • Consistency.
  • Fresh and appetizing sweet.
  • Savory varieties.

Product selection: Offer the best-selling goods on the market along with something distinctive that sets you apart. Get in touch with consentient suppliers from a marketplace like Watermelon to stay consistent with the menu you offer.


Use seasonal items and events to your advantage. All year long, coffee is relevant. Keep in mind the benefits of cold brew as well! Be creative with seasonal events and adjust your menu accordingly.

Café service and your Barista

  • It is a tremendous blessing to have talented baristas on staff! Another is to have them committed. Training your staff, encouraging their professional growth, and ensuring they are familiar with your items are crucial.
  • Customer service can either be excellent or terrible. The customer is able to interpret your attitude, mood, and body language. This is just as significant as the product knowledge the barista may provide. Speak in the clients’ tone, get to know your regulars, and influence the buying decision!
  • Additionally, addressing the consumer while being productive and present at the same time can sometimes end badly. Be quick yet not frantic! When speaking with a customer, put down the phone and stop conversing with a coworker.

Customize the customer journey

  • One receives a lot more than simply a cup of coffee when they buy one. It’s better to plan the service design thoroughly than not at all. Visiting your cafe is never only about making a purchase or paying money; it’s always about having a good time.
  • Does the outside of your coffee shop attract customers? What about interior features like lighting, colors, music, acoustics, and lovely elements to view, touch, and explore?
  • Make a checklist for each shift’s cleanup, and be sure to mention the condition of the restrooms!
  • From door to the table, the customer experience should be seamless. It can sometimes be beneficial to put yourself in their shoes and move independently. Are there any obstacles in the way of a smooth journey? Are the products presented attractively and clearly? Do you get a warm greeting from your barista every time?
  • The machinery and equipment should be realistic and able to handle the volume, menu, and baristas’ skill levels. If the workspace is not well-planned, it might affect service in addition to ergonomics and safety.

Don’t forget about the Location

Even though the location is not the only thing that ensures success for a café business, it sure does make a significant impact.

To find the best location for your business, here are some key factors that you should take a look at.

  • Demographic.
  • Competition.
  • Nearby Businesses.
  • Traffic time.
  • Living cost.


Let’s start by discussing the “who” your cafe should be catered towards. You must research the locals in the location you are contemplating. There are certain persons who are more likely to seek out coffee than others.

As a result, you should search for a place where there are more of the folks we’re talking about. Students, parents, consumers, and a variety of workforces are examples are the best examples of your target demographic.

So your café can be located around,

  • College campus.
  • Shopping centers.
  • Business centers.
  • High schools.


It is crucial that you understand the level of competition in the area you are considering. If you create a cafe or other coffee-related business in a highly competitive area, your chances of success will be substantially reduced.

Here are some locations that you should avoid,

  • Near Big café chain store.
  • Near locally owned coffee shops.
  • Near cheap coffee alternatives.

Nearby Businesses

So, we just discussed a few specific coffee shops that you should aim to avoid locating your business next to. Let’s now discuss companies that, if you’re nearby, can truly aid boost your sales. These establishments are situated in areas where you should be conducting business.

  • Gyms.
  • Libraries. (You can not find a better duo than books and coffee)
  • Businesses that have a wait time, like Grooming and transportation stations.
  • Family fun activities like zoos, aquariums, and playgrounds.

Traffic time

You must take into account both the location you select and the hours of the day when the area will be busiest. Not every venue is crowded at once. If you intend to keep your business open exclusively during specific hours, you must choose your location depending on the amount of traffic during those hours.

Living cost

You must also consider the budget when selecting a venue. There will be price differences between different places. The amount you may charge for the products on your menu will also be influenced by the living cost in the region.

The business plan to open a café business

A coffee shop business strategy is fundamentally a description of your company’s idea and its strategy for success. It provides answers to queries like what it will cost to open a business, how all those expenses will be covered, and how much revenue you anticipate from your café. 

Details about your competition, target audience and price structure are all included in a coffee shop business plan. You can get valuable data from websites like Restaurant.org to get things started for your plan.

When complete, your strategic plan can be presented to potential backers, partners, investors, and anyone else who can assist you in opening your café.

Here are the main parts of your business plan that should be included:

  • Executive summer.
  • Business concept.
  • Financial planning.
  • Operations.
  • Costings
  • Digital marketing plan
  • Menu
  • Staff strategy and cost
  • Location
  • Layout of your Café.
  • Service planning.
  • SWOT analysis.

You can check out the following business plans to take inspiration from.

Executive summer tips

The executive summary will be the first thing a reader can understand when they view your business plan. This provides a general summary of every section of your business strategy. Reading examples will help you gain a sense of how the executive summary is phrased and how all of the material is presented. A strong executive summary will open doors for you.

Determine who will see your strategic plan, just like you did when you considered the clients who will frequent your soon-to-be-opened café, and write the introductory paragraphs with that reader in mind. Your executive summary serves as the most crucial marketing resource your café has as you are ready to start.

Pro tips on writing an executive summary:

  • Make sure your summary stands on its own and can be used as a condensed version of the overall plan.
  • Include research data and cite the research on the plan.
  • Only focus on the positive. The risk and challenges can be introduced in the body of the business plan.
  • Start things off with a BANG. Offer inspiring quotes or an intriguing stat to get your reader’s attention.

Cost of running a café

The secret to effective company planning is to visualize your anticipated costs. This might assist you in determining what you must spend and how you will do so. Don’t forget that there are other options besides mere cash on hand to pay for these expenses, such as loans, grants, and leases.

A good rule of thumb is to start with working capital of 200000 AED to start your business. This capital will take care of all your initial costs, including,

  • Your shop rent for the quarter.
  • Inventory purchases for the first quarter.
  • three3 months of salary for your staff members
  • Decorative costs ( Can vary significantly depending on your goal)
  • Kitchen equipment including, fryer, coffee machine, freezers, etc.
  • Utility bill for the quarter.
  • Leasing costs.
  • Licensing costs.
  • Both physical and digital market costs prior to the initial opening.

What license do you need to open a Café business?

The sort of license needed for a café primarily relies on the services you intend to provide. For a better understanding, look at the list below.

• A trade license, which you’ll require after your business is registered.

• Food license – These licenses are needed to handle, produce, and process food.

• Liquor license: The police department often issues liquor licenses.

• A letter of no objection from the Municipality may also be required.

• Construction license – This is only relevant if you intend to launch your firm in a brand-new structure that will be constructed specifically for the enterprise.

How to get a trade license for your café?

In order to get your hands on the trade license, you need to collect all the documents mentioned below and apply.

The required documents are,

  • DED’s initial approval letter.
  • A complete and thorough business plan.
  • Tenancy agreement for premises.
  • Restaurant’s floor design and blueprints.
  • Memorandum of Association.

Menus and designs for your Cafe

You undoubtedly have grand plans already and envision your café operating. Set the objectives you have for your café and the ambiance you wish to foster. To get ideas for just how your café should look, the cuisine you’ll serve, or how you want your guests to feel once they walk through the door, start gathering images, brochures, and design concepts.

Having a clear idea will make it easier for you to be persistent when making decisions on the brand, the decor, the menu, the coffee, the mugs, and the way you’ll interact with clients.

Once you have a clear vision and brand image in mind, here are some tools that you can use to create stunning menus.

Design Hill alone has over 120 thousand customers with a 98% customer satisfaction rate. So, make sure to utilize this tool when creating your menu.

All your menu design must be,

  • Divided into logical sections like sides, coffee, sweets, add ons, and such.
  • Use eye-catching illustrations.
  • Try not to emphasize the currency sign.
  • Use typography that resonates with your business.
  • Try using light and relaxing colors as the base and dark and less vibrant colors for the highlight.

Must have equipment for a café business

Cafes are much more than just efficient espresso makers and a skilled baristas. To make your espresso and light meals, various other tools are required.

This includes,

  1. Ovens.
  2. Espresso machine.
  3. Cold brew toddy.
  4. Grinders.
  5. A wide range of ranges and grills.
  6. Microwaves.
  7. Ice makers.
  8. Food prep equipment.
  9. Safety equipment.
  10. A robust POS system.
  11. Kitchenware.

Final thoughts

Instead of leaving everything to chance, make sure to have a solid plan that will carry your business to success. Even though it may seem complicated, making a complete business plan to open a small cafe or cafeteria is a crucial step you should follow before opening a café.

A well-written business plan demonstrates both to your investors and to yourself why your café is capable of success.

Stay tuned for more updates, and good luck with your new Café Journey.

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