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Starting a cafe - advice needed.

(13 Posts)
AnythingForAQuietLife Sat 21-Nov-15 16:19:06

Hello. Just that really. I've been debating this for four (!) years (I'm a chef and have always worked for others). I've been waiting for the right location and its finally come up. But I'm quite intimidated by what's ahead and could do with good advice / tips / websites / anecdotes. My forte is very much on the creative side (the food, branding, making a place look great) but I'm fully aware it takes more than this and am a complete novice re the business end of it. How much do you pay in rates? Licences? Insurance? Accountant? (Etc). Is it wise to buy second hand (decent!) equipment such as dishwashers? Can anyone offer barrista training / equipment advice? Also my would-be landlady is requesting that I'm responsible for the building maintenance (inc any damp issues / roofing etc) - is this normal? The place is listed and while I'm not ripping anything out, I'm a little concerned (and it has got 'old building' damp already). Is an initial six year lease (with 3 yr break clause) reasonable? I'd prefer an initial 12 month break in case it all goes wrong. On the positives I've done my market research and my cafe concept is unique enough to serve a new and growing market. I'd really love some advice / links. Thanks so much.

Doilooklikeatourist Sat 21-Nov-15 16:35:35

I have a cafe

Use Facebook as its cheaper and easier than a website

I have large domestic appliances rather than industrial ( much cheaper )
I have a heavy duty kitchen aid and a Buffalo grill , a large electric cooker with grill and a range

We have a lovely Coffee machine ( expensive , but necessary ) the company that supplied it to us did the Barista training for us

You'll need a personal license if you're going to sell alcohol , we sell single serve wines and bottled beers as it means you don't have to worry about serving sizes and trading standards

Yes , you'll need an accountant , loads of insurance ( don't have a deep fat fryer , premiums go through the roof )

That's a start !

AnythingForAQuietLife Sat 21-Nov-15 16:49:31

Thanks so much. Can I ask who did your barista training?

And out of interest, what are your basic monthly costs?

Thanks again smile

Doilooklikeatourist Sat 21-Nov-15 18:03:41

The coffee supplier ( machine and beans ) did the training and set up the machine

Basic costs ? Don't know where to start really

I own the building ( no rent )
We have rural rate relief so rates very small
Rubbish collection once a fortnight , £30 a month
Recycling costs too

I work , I have a part timer 3 times a week , another once a week (4 hour shifts ) and a Saturday girl . They get paid monthly
I do everything else and I'm knackered Cleaning and maintenance

Cash & carry deliver once a week , milkman 3 times a week , veg every morning if required , fish every Friday , flour , sugar etc a wholesale bakers supplier
I pay them all cash , to save on bank charges
You'll need a credit card machine , and that has a monthly charge, as well as comission on each sale

Where are you based ?

AnythingForAQuietLife Sat 21-Nov-15 18:16:34

The south west...
Are you open 7 days?
Thanks!

Doilooklikeatourist Sat 21-Nov-15 18:30:39

We're open 5 days , we started off 7 days , and then closed on our quietest 2 days , as it was too much
I'll PM you our coffee people , as they're very good , and you might be in their catchment

AnythingForAQuietLife Sat 21-Nov-15 18:39:37

Thanks X

pizzaeatingmonkey Sat 21-Nov-15 18:46:16

I've been a restaurant and cafe manager for...shock 30 years now and it is a very precarious business to invest in.
The failure rate is something like 90%, you need to have enough money in the bank to live on for at least 3 months as it's unlikely you'll turn a profit before then and then only peanuts.
You'll need to get your rubbish collected a lot more frequently than once a fortnight, the Environmental Health Officer won't be very impressed to see rubbish and food waste kept so long. Do contact your local council ASAP to make a contact with the EHO, they are there to help you and will talk you through how to register your business and what their expectations are.
I have run multi million pounds businesses but have never had the nerve to go out on my own, I admire your bravery!
Good luck!

DelphiniumBlue Sat 21-Nov-15 18:55:56

Its a fairly short lease, I don't think it's normal to take on building repair responsibilities, especially as its already damp, as well as listed! Could be massively expensive, and the owner would reap the long-term benefit.
I think you'd want legal advice- what your landlord is proposing could cost you tens of thousands. are there any other occupants of the building?

AnythingForAQuietLife Sat 21-Nov-15 19:03:13

No there arent other occupants.
Thanks both - food for thought tonight.. no pun intended!

Doilooklikeatourist Sat 21-Nov-15 19:37:42

Re rubbish
We have a contract with a council operated trade waste operater, rubbish goes in a skip , and is collected once a fortnight ,
Depends where you are I suppose

kjwh Sun 22-Nov-15 20:04:25

Unless you know all the ins and outs about the regulations for food hygiene and H&S, don't try a "DIY" approach to fitting out the kitchen, counters, etc. I once had a client who tried to do it themselves, and were banned from opening by the local council for various reasons, including the height/material of the splashbacks, wrong type offloor covering, not having separate washing/fridge/prep areas for meats etc. Cost them A LOT of money to rip out half the kitchen and re-do it to meet the standards.

floellabenjaminsearrings Fri 27-Nov-15 14:26:14

A full repairing lease is perfectly normal, although sometimes they are internal repairing only i.e. you don't pay for maintaining the exterior or structure. You would expect to pay a higher rent for the benefit of this type of lease though.

If there is already and issue with the building then I would suggest a schedule of condition. This would highlight any existing issues which you would not be responsible for dealing with. I would also have a clause in the lease which states you are not responsible for any inherent or existing defects i.e the damp.

To be honest a 12 month break option is not normally welcomed by landlords (because you would normally get 3 months rent free at the beginning of the lease to fit out, so they could potentially only get 9 months rent), but (I believe) that often your lender can insist on them as part of any new business loan. Break options are again something you would expect to pay a higher rent for, but for a new business I completely see why they are necessary.

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