How much does it cost to open a cafe & start your own business

starting a coffee shop

Americans are hooked on coffee more than ever, and the demand for a small, unique cafe has only definitely gone up. How much does it cost to open a cafe though?

Over 83 per cent of Americans drink at least one cup of coffee a day. That number recently rose from 78 per cent, which means that it’s a rapidly growing business opportunity. People love their coffee in the morning and have been going to large chain cafes such as Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts.

However, recently the trend has changed. Most coffee-drinkers would rather visit a small family-owned cafe in their town than they would a larger more well-known cafe chain. After a while, people tend to get tired of going to a cafe that’s the same as the next one. They’re looking for a cafe with a unique personal twist, which makes them feel more at home.

If you think that you have the next best idea for a small cafe, now is the time to strike because your business is in demand. One of the biggest questions that people ask, however, is “How much does it cost to open a cafe?” While you’re not going to spend as much as you would on a big restaurant, the costs will be significant. Let’s take a few minutes to look at some of them.

Get Your Business License

Unless you’re going to be selling coffees under the table on your front porch, you’re going to need a business license. You can obtain these from your local city government. Depending on what state you reside in, the cost of a business license for a cafe can be anywhere from $100 – $1,000. This allows you to do business under your own name in the city.

Lease Your First Location

After you have your business license, you’ll need a building to do business in. Once you find a place that you would like to lease, you will usually be required to pay a security deposit, and then monthly rent. Certain landlords may require you to sign a contract period as well.

Obtain Permits

Since you are going to have a physical location with customers coming in and out, you will need to receive a permit to sell food and beverages, a building health permit, a fire safety inspection, and other small certifications.

When combined, scheduling the tests to obtain these permits can be quite expensive depending on where you are, and what the local requirements are. Some may be less than $100, and some could cost $1,000’s. Research your state and calculate the cost of getting everything that you need.

Put Together a List of Menu Expenses

Once you’ve created your menu, calculate all of the ingredients that you’ll need each week. Then call your local food distributor to figure out how much those ingredients will cost each week. This will be an ongoing expense, so it’s vital to calculate at least a month’s worth of supply into your start-up budget.

Gather Your Equipment

Now, this will vary depending on how much you want to remodel the cafe. You may just need to build a bar or set up some tables, or you may need to redo the entire restaurant. Calculate these costs, and then add up the cost of all of the equipment that you will need: coffee makers, espresso machines, refrigerators, sinks, etc.

Furnish Your New Cafe

The final step, now that everything is set up and ready to go, is to bring in your furniture and decorations. Decide on the art, if any, that you want on walls. Figure out how many tables and chairs you’ll need. Add the cost of everything to your total cost, and then you’ll have your number!