Spring into a New Café: Tips for Grand Openings or Opening a New Location

Thursday April 9, 2015 // By Matthew Moseley

Are you ready to ‘Spring’ into your New Café or Location?Springtime: Enjoy a Mocha on the Patio

Definition of Springtime - an early or flourishing stage of development (Merriam-Webster)

Spring is all about rebirth, as the warm weather arrives seedlings begin emerging out of the soil and the array of greens from emerald to chartreuse return to the trees.  This reminds us that even the grandest of trees originated as simple little seeds, but for that seed to fulfill its destiny it must properly adapt to its surroundings or else it may wither away.  The idea, that something so impressive can develop from a tiny seed with the proper conditions, is a powerful example that the smallest beginnings can create something massive if cared for properly.  In much the same way, opening a new location or starting a brand new café starts with the simple conception of an idea, but for this idea to come to fruition you must invest time and the labor of love for it to survive.   

However, the process of going from an idea to signing a lease to cutting the ribbon for your Grand Opening can be quite difficult and tumultuous.  There’s a lot of planning, analyzing, and regulations to be met before you even start the layout and design of your café.  If it’s your first time going through the process,  there are many steps and considerations that are easily overlooked but can have drastic repercussions if they’re not properly handled.  Even if you’re expanding and adding another location, taking the time to properly establish your brand in a new area can be difficult.  

The following list is a brief outline of the process for opening a new store front:

Build Out - Properly Designing a Café's Layout is Vital

Search and Discovery

In this phase, you must identify the area you would like to open shop.  This may be based on who or what occupies the surrounding buildings, it’s proximity to a thoroughfare, or the overall look and feel of the exterior of the space.  During this phase, you will need to determine which category of space you will occupy and this is important because it will drastically impact your service model.  Will you have a drive-thru?  Great for high traffic and large rings of the register; however, not great for selling items other than drinks or food options and doesn’t allow your shop to be a destination for community building.  Will you open a small shop?  This allows you to have in-house and to-go service, while still keeping rent costs low.  Will you open a large retail space?  This allows you to accommodate customers looking for a ‘coffice’ or similar location to get away from the office or their home.

Build Out

In this phase, you begin to deal with all the various regulations and certifications you must acquire in order to serve food and beverages as well as offer proper parking space and handicap access.  You will also have to deeply consider how you set up and attribute your front of the house and bar back layouts in order to offer your staff with a great space that makes food and drink preparation easy and convenient; while, still giving your patrons the welcoming and necessary space to enjoy their stay in your shop.


Cutting the RibbonCutting the Ribbon - Smiling for a Grand Opening

Although this phase, is the one we all fantasize about; if we don’t do the preparation properly it could become a nightmare.  For this phase, you will need to be aware of who your target customer will be as well as the best channels to promote to this demographic.  You will also need to have your menu fully developed and your shop fully stocked with the necessary equipment and supplies.

As they say, “Rome wasn’t built in a day” and neither will your shop; opening a new café is an arduous and time consuming task.  That’s why we collated great resources for you to reference in order to ease your planning process, you can find all of this information in a downloadable .pdf format, here.  Whether you’re at the earliest stages of searching for your location or beginning the design process we have you covered with valuable articles from industry professionals.

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