Is Starting a Cafe Right for You?

Starting a cafe has a lot of appeal. Picture yourself as the proprietor of a successful coffee shop and think of the benefits:

  • freedom to make your own decisions
  • financial independence
  • respect in the local community
  • from your family and staff
  • the satisfaction of providing a valued product to your customers
  • a social environment that brings people together
  • and all the coffee you can drink!

Just smell that fresh coffee brewing! Ahhh… what could be better?

Let’s add a shot of reality to that idealized image for a more grounded perspective:

  • 14-hour days, 6 or 7 days a week
  • smell the unrelenting pungent scent of stale coffee on your clothing, skin and in your hair
  • feel that painful steam wand burn on your index finger
  • see yourself driving to your shop at 5:30a on a dark and cold Saturday morning when an employee calls in sick (again)
  • imagine yourself pacifying picky customers that insist a macchiato includes caramel, “like Starbucks.”

Oh no, what have I gotten myself into?

Budding cafe owners expect that something better awaits in a coffee shop.  Whether seeking a better lifestyle or job satisfaction, be aware that expectations may not match reality. Running a coffee shop is demanding and rarely lucrative.  Take inventory of both the benefits and drawbacks of retail business ownership before you make a serious life change.

Immerse yourself into the industry to understand it better before you make your leap.

You will find many resources available that are free or inexpensive to can give you a realistic vision of retail ownership.

Before you commit yourself to a new reality, make sure that you are basing your decision on facts and not expectation.  Accept that there is a difference between what happens and what you want to happen.

Every garage band from Seattle in the 90’s had the dream of a rock star lifestyle.  A disciplined few practiced instruments the 4 to 6 hours each day necessary to be good musicians. The small number that became famous understand: practicing 4 to 6 hours each day is the real rock star lifestyle, so you had better enjoy it. Starting a cafe is not the as being a customer in the cafe!