Coffee shop for mums

(56 Posts)
SillyBlueHat Sun 05-May-13 18:20:46

I'd love to open a coffee shop for mums, something that is baby and toddler friendly as there is nothing like that round here. I would have a baby and toddler menu, room for buggies and a small play area.
Is there anything similar near you and is it busy? I'm just worried that I am the only person who thinks its a good idea!

scottishmummy Sun 05-May-13 18:39:50

whether its for mums is immaterial it needs to turn a profit
you don't want mums,loads prams all eating,weaning own food,sipping single latte for 3hrs
a buggy room is IMO terrible idea,that's space you pay for being unproductively used

SillyBlueHat Sun 05-May-13 18:43:10

True Scottishmummy, maybe I could set aside a small area for folded pushchairs.
Definitely no own food. I would sell Pick n mix snacks, I.e breadsticks, raisins, ricecakes and also offer homemade purees. Ideally I would like to find somewhere with a room upstairs to rent out for baby classes

scottishmummy Sun 05-May-13 18:44:05

soft play is potentially better business,pay for entry and refreshments
sell Ella pouches,healthy meals there any softplay already?
there are cafes that the mums congregate in but not specific mum cafes

Taffeta Sun 05-May-13 18:48:34

A small tea room recently opened in our village and seems well populated by mums with pre schoolers. It has a small area for little ones with toys, books a big blackboard and a sofa. It's slightly tucked away from the main bit, seems to work. I haven't seen the childrens menu if there is one but I did see some toddlers eating scrambled eggs on toast, served on IKEA plastic plates.

I agree with scottishmummy that you need to cater for as wide an audience as possible.

scottishmummy Sun 05-May-13 18:49:18

I simply wouldn't market a cafe as a mums cafe.too niche.tiny market
not always big spenders.soft play is better idea,but require large space and equipment I guess
you want turn over and volume sales not necessarily mummy hangout (that's what library is for)

Taffeta Sun 05-May-13 18:52:55

From what I observed the mums with preschoolers were good business, starting with a round of coffees and drinks for children and moving onto lunch.....

scottishmummy Sun 05-May-13 18:54:58

have you worked in catering?whats your background?
at lunch time I don't go the mummy cafes,too packed with prams,too screechy
adults and kids taking all seats but only 1adult paying,that's a tricky area

SillyBlueHat Sun 05-May-13 18:55:00

Our area isn't big enough to support a large soft play I don't think. I've looked into start up costs and lots really struggle.
There just isn't anywhere for mums to meet up. Sure, there are lots of coffee shops but none are child friendly.
There must be some way of making money from mums desperate to get out of the house!

scottishmummy Sun 05-May-13 18:57:26

you're proposing running For profit business,not mums drop in and meet centre
you need to be clear,it's cafe for profit,ideally as many potential customers as poss
I think a meet point for mums sounds v woolly and not necessarily profitable

Taffeta Sun 05-May-13 18:59:52

Are you doing it to benefit the community or to run as a business and make profit?

If the former, can you hire a village hall for a regular slot?

scottishmummy Sun 05-May-13 19:00:07

have you worked in catering,or a cafe?can you get stint in a cafe see what involved?
somewhere for mums to meet,thats the library,park.if its your cafe they need to be spending
see you said no bringing own stuff to graze,and you'd sell produce.i agree

CajaDeLaMemoria Sun 05-May-13 19:00:12

There's one that opened near my old house a few months ago. We all said it wouldn't work, because there is a Costa and Starbucks etc nearby, but it's actually done well.

They have little tables for older children to sit at, and plenty of adult tables. They give everyone a really personal service, and have good prices. They have books for the kids, in really good condition, and there's room outside for pushchairs...

It seems popular not only for mums and babies/children, but also with people who want to do more personal meetings/deals.

SillyBlueHat Sun 05-May-13 19:01:49

It's definitely profit I'm interested in! I'm just trying to think of something that is needed in my area.

scottishmummy Sun 05-May-13 19:02:31

have you crunched the numbers?looked at demand?what would rental cost you
I think somewhere mums meet isn't necessarily profitable,and businesses for profit
if you're more into social,community side well that's not business

SillyBlueHat Sun 05-May-13 19:03:11

It's either that or a kids clothes shop but I suspect it would be difficult to make the pricing attractive enough for people to shop locally and not travel 10 miles

scottishmummy Sun 05-May-13 19:05:03

in that case go for a broad appeal cafe,capturing all potential clients
a good versatile cafe,nice nutritious food, kids menu,loyalty card etc
and definitely try get a stint in catering,to observe it and get feel

fertilityagogo Sun 05-May-13 19:05:05

There's one in my area!! I absolutely love it. Mums find it to be a godsend. Things are a bit more expensive but we happily pay the extra to have a place to relax with toys, dressing up clothes, comfy chairs, kiddie toilets etc.
I'm in London tho, not sure about your area?

scottishmummy Sun 05-May-13 19:07:52

what's the footfall like?is there demand for new cafe?
I really admire anyone starting own business.bloody hard

VAVAV00M Sun 05-May-13 19:11:27

We have a local soft play with a cafe and they use the backroom for buggies. Looks profitable too, go for it!

SillyBlueHat Sun 05-May-13 19:11:34

Dressing up clothes - good idea!
I live in a relatively well off area where mums would pay a little extra to keep the kids happy.
There is a pub 20 miles away that provides an indoor play area and the place is rammed - you need to book even for breakfast

usualsuspect Sun 05-May-13 19:12:08

I wouldn't just market a cafe at mums, you will need all the customers you can get to make any sort of profit.

SillyBlueHat Sun 05-May-13 19:12:32

Scottishmummy - I have worked briefly in catering and know its hard work!

scottishmummy Sun 05-May-13 19:14:21

what's your background?have you worked in catering?
something niche as a mums,children cafe you'd need lots footfall and return customers
how do you avoid folk congregating,eating own food?

SillyBlueHat Sun 05-May-13 19:14:39

Vavavoom - how big is the soft play?
I'm wondering about going more down this route but don't want to run one of those massive warehouse type ones. Just something small.

scottishmummy Sun 05-May-13 19:16:18

ok so are you familiar with ordering stock,the food hygiene aspect,pricing menu for profit
I still not sold on thebmums cafe, I'd emphasise it being a good cafe,attract wide base

SillyBlueHat Sun 05-May-13 19:16:49

Scottish - would you take your own food into a cafe then?!
I don't think it would be a problem if babies and toddlers were catered for properly

usualsuspect Sun 05-May-13 19:17:33

Mums will bring their own food for their kids.

You could make it child friendly but you need to appeal to a wider market.

SillyBlueHat Sun 05-May-13 19:18:05

Yep, familiar with hygiene etc but obviously would need to brush up

usualsuspect Sun 05-May-13 19:18:31

I work in catering, mums do bring their own snacks for their children.

scottishmummy Sun 05-May-13 19:20:27

I know of issues of mums feed kids hip jars etc.4 sat at one table only 1 paying
the cafe still has to clear up,those 3seats are occupied but not profit generating
did I take own food?yes when weaning.unless they expressly made clear not to

scottishmummy Sun 05-May-13 19:22:07

most parents take in own foods for kids,you need to factor that will happen

SillyBlueHat Sun 05-May-13 19:26:40

Mums surely can't argue that they have to feed their kids food that they have brought in if there is weaning food available?
Signs on tables would make it clear its not bring your own

LynetteScavo Sun 05-May-13 19:33:45

I think the best option is to go trendy....somewhere where young parents want to hang out...but be BF & toddler friendly.

Insisting I did't give my 7mo one of my own rice cakes while I bought myself and my toddler over priced organic cakes and drinks would really piss me off.

scottishmummy Sun 05-May-13 19:35:10

therein lies problem with being A mun cafe,mums will take in own food
won't necessarily buy hipp jars etc.i do homemade so wouldn't buy a jar
if youre expecting to sell food foe kids too think that maybe unrealistic

scottishmummy Sun 05-May-13 19:38:00

hanging out doesn' avoid any notion if it being a mums hangout
you want to turn a profit. if you're set on catering open a decent cafe

HootShoot Sun 05-May-13 19:42:54

There's a place near us which is amazing. It has a play room for kids with sofas and lots of toys, you pay a small amount if you want to go in. It has a cafe area which does lovely food for adults and kids, treatment rooms with a creche you can leave the kids in, and it also runs classes for kids and adults (singing and dancing, photography etc). It seems successful, I love the fact I can get my legs waxed or a message and put dd in the crèche!

HootShoot Sun 05-May-13 19:45:48

Just to add they are really clear that they prefer people not to bring their own food in and most people respect that. If the food is homemade without salt added I was always happy for my dd to eat it.

SillyBlueHat Sun 05-May-13 19:49:39

Hoot shoot, that's the vibe I was aiming at. And as I said I wouldn't sell jars, it would be homemade purees etc

scottishmummy Sun 05-May-13 20:06:53

homemade kids food,yes I'd go for that
have you crunched the numbers.what's the potential footfall like?
I'd still go for broad appeal,and a kids nutritious lovely food too

mewkins Sun 12-May-13 11:02:27

A great idea! My friends and I have been talking about it for years. Does it need to be 'for mums' or just family friendly? Eg. Tables far enough apart to get a buggy through, a small table/ toy area, child friendly plain food as well as a good menu for adults. Attitude is key...a supposedly child friendly place set up a back room for parent meetups and closed two weeks later as they didn't allow buggies in and said that people were leaving the room in a mess. Fair enough, but a. Keep an eye on the room in use and have staff to clear tables etc anyway. Also, be open to ideas from customers.

Ps..inviting families doesn't mean you won't get other customers too... some oaps I have spoken to in our local coffee shop really like to be in a place where kids and families are.

scottishmummy Sun 12-May-13 11:07:02

focus on broad demographic of clients,check whether the local area can support it
crunch the numbers think about costs.what's the max you could charge
write a business plan and look for any local college courses about business start up

VinegarDrinker Sun 12-May-13 11:10:22

Google "That Place On The Corner" for something similar to what you are suggesting.

Graceparkhill Sun 12-May-13 11:18:42

There was a lovely cafe in Glasgow ( now closed) which sounds similar to your idea.It was very geared up to babies and young children with fabulous freshly made food and great service.

I think ( although I may be wrong) that this was what deterred other customers. Most cafes nowadays have business types with laptops meeting colleagues.

My memory of this cafe was how long the mum and baby groups sat( obviously the place was relaxed and welcoming) not ordering much and also how much space the buggies took up. Thus making it hard to negotiate your way to a table All massive 4 wheel drive types which I presume are hard to fold.

The presence of small children didn't put me off ( at the time DS2 was 9/10) I like children but I think others probably walked on by to another cafe.

I think you need to be very sure of your market ( coming over all Alex Pollizi)

scottishmummy Sun 12-May-13 11:22:08

place on corner looks fab,they have all base covered adult food,kids,parties
they have parties too yikes £325 plus additional for party are so lucrative
it's a great model,see its n ldn, which will increase footfall and client numbers

scottishmummy Sun 12-May-13 11:26:08

I went to a place tons mums,huge prams,all sat inhabiting space but only drinking 2latte
felt like a mumsy drop in centre and not like a business cafe.wouldnt go without kid
profit is about demand and turnover,that's what cuts it.and business is for profit

NotaDisneyMum Sun 12-May-13 11:38:33

Making/selling homemade baby purées would be a great USP but it would have to be a loss-leader in order to get customers through the door. The wastage and production-time would be so high I very much doubt that anyone would pay the price you would need to charge to make any profit on baby food!

If you offer the baby food at a loss, then you'll need to make more profit on other things you sell - depending on your overheads, that could make your menu expensive compared to other local coffee-shops, and you might find that 'mums' will still compare your prices with others even if the others aren't child-friendly!

If you're not planning on making all the cakes/food in house (and that's a big commitment), are there some good producers in your area that you can source from? What are their prices like? Even if there's a demand for the kind of coffee-shop you have in mind, there needs to be the infrastructure in place to support it, otherwise you won't be able to deliver what 'mums' want.

scottishmummy Sun 12-May-13 11:47:15

interesting about the baby food.look at other cafes and pricing,what can local market tolerate
do crunch the numbers,look in supply costs,venue rents make sure all stacks up=profit
a good cafe is a joy to be in,so hope it is realistic goal

xigris Sun 12-May-13 12:01:15

Silly we have one near us and it's fantastic. It's a converted shop and has a smallish play apparatus thing like you see in soft play, a baby area, a toy kitchen, craft area etc. They do simple food for children eg pasta and tomato sauce, sandwiches, etc plus lovely paninis and cakes (all home made). They also have an upmarket coffee machine. The lady that runs it also does Toddler Sensory classes and once a week does a little session in the cafe. They also do special events and iirc, she's planning on doing a Mums / Carers pamper evening at sons point. It's hugely popular in our very mixed-affluence area.

I know the lady who runs it and she thoroughly enjoys it but says its bloody hard work! Where are you planning on opening it? If you turn out to be anywhere near me then I'm sure you could get in touch with the lady who runs ours smile

Whatalotofpiffle Sun 12-May-13 12:31:33

There is one in Milton Keynes called mocha mamma I think, looks successful

MiguelMarshall Thu 16-May-13 12:50:04

Have you ever seen cafe's that also sell merchandising? Maybe you could sell the clothes alongside the coffee's and snacks.

You should definitely have a fresh baby food menu too.

I would definitely keep it niche and encourage repeat custom with loyalty cards, prize draws...etc.

I would try and organise groups/meetings for different things. For example: the other day I saw a baby sling club advertised (can't remember where). Then try to promote those events through different channels: local doctor surgery/hospital, mumsnet, organisations.

OH! What about movie/documentary screenings? Now I'm getting carried away...

Empross76 Thu 16-May-13 12:58:05

I'm in Cardiff - we have two cafes specifically for mums and kids - look up 'Cafe Junior' and 'Bambeans'. Large play area and toys for the kids - they go off and play and us mums drink our coffees and chat. I think they're excellent, visit a lot and usually very busy.

SillyBlueHat Sat 18-May-13 14:59:15

Thank you so much for the replies - I'm off to google the cafes some of you have named

CatsAndTheirPizza Fri 14-Jun-13 18:46:31

Lovely idea - but I'd want to be sure you'd make a decent profit, because I think you'd get parents who would stay and spend a limited amount. Plus, with babies involved, I think your insurances would be sky high.

princessx Sun 16-Jun-13 10:49:08

Good idea to offer free wifi too, then you will get those without kids that like to sit in a cafe too.

In Germany loads of cafes have an area for kids. Make sure it's v clean, as grubbiness is off putting. I would be your top customer! I'm not organised (or rich!) and I eat out with the kids all the time.

Look into hosting nct bumps and babies there as an easy start off to get u on the map.

As someone who does end up eating out, any assurances of healthy food would be greatly appreciated.

When my children were babies, I used to stop at my local coffee shop, I always brought food and snacks with me for them when little. Usually bought myself lunch, a cold drink and a hot drink. But we did take our time, and a table were taken where only one adult was eating.

Then my oldest was old enough for toasties and soon I bought him toasties, a cold drink and sometimes a cake/biscuit/treat washed down with babyccino. Not long after they both had this. Our trips to the coffee shop became treats for lunch, which cost me a small fortune, but hey, I had raised them to enjoy such treats out....

It is the Costa/Nero/Starbucks generation. wink

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