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Hints and Tips for buying a cafe or restaurant

So you can cook, deal with people and think you could run the café down the road better than the current owners’ – so what next?

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So you can cook, deal with people and think you could run the café down the road better than the current owners’ – so what next?

More people are dining out than ever before and opportunities abound for cafes and restaurants. If you are passionate about food and service, sociable, and have the necessary skills and motivation to manage the staff, food and operations day after day, then café or restaurant ownership could be for you.

The first rule of real estate applies here and location is arguably one of the most important aspects to consider. A high profile site on a busy road may look good at first glance but if there is little car parking and little foot traffic then take a second look. Ease of access is paramount and with our unpredictable weather, prospective patrons are likely to opt for a venue that offers good food, service and easily accessible car parking.

Strong accounts and systems matter but keep in mind that not everything is likely to be done by the book. If you don’t buy the building, (and often not) then you will be paying rent and the terms of your lease and how much rent you’re paying can play a significant part in the success of your business. Identify any factors that could have a negative impact on your business-like the possibility of competitors moving in next to you.

Take into consideration the demographics of the area, seasonality aspects, especially if the business you are considering buying is located in a coastal town or tourist destination. Know your market, as a specialist coffee shop may work in some towns but a tearoom may be best suited to others. This same logic applies to your menu, identify what your customers want and tailor the menu accordingly. After all, it’s all about how much you can sell and your margins on this.

The café and restaurant trade can often entail long hours, so consider how it will impact on your lifestyle. If you are open for breakfast as well as evening meals, then you are heading for longer hours and with it, potentially additional stress, unless this is well managed.

Taking all these factors into account, there is good money to be made in food. The trend is towards people eating out more, and spending proportionally more of their income on dining out, and this trend is predicted to keep increasing.

Cafes, restaurants and fast food are a cornerstone in our economy.