How to Start A Small Cafe Business in Melbourne

Australia’s food service industry is thriving, earning an impressive $24 billion in contributions to the economy each year. Of all the cafes and restaurants in the country, just over 90% are small businesses, and no wonder. The sector is accessible to new entrepreneurs as long as they have a talent for management and understand the basics of business ownership. Turn your startup into a revenue titan in five steps.


1 Using Target Marketing

Whether you’re starting a small cafe business from the ground up or buying an existing one, you’ll need to research your target market, location, and niche. Your business needs to introduce a unique concept if it’s to keep its competitive advantage. Define the clientele you’re hoping to serve and create a brand that appeals to them. Make sure your marketing is appealing to your demographic and is presented in publications they read. Everything from your prices to your location must fit your defined market. Your profits will come from your clients, and that makes research into them the most important part of your strategy.


2 Starting Up a Cafe Business through Branding

Seth Godin famously said that your business can only succeed by being remarkable, and it’s your branding that will achieve it. It’s reflected in everything from your signage and address to your dishes. Put simply, branding is creating an image that differentiates you from other businesses. Your brand is what you hope to offer your consumers. Is your café a cutting-edge coffee shop for hipsters or a quaint, old world location for baby boomers? Do your prices reflect that? How will your quality and dish choices communicate your image? Your uniforms, menu covers, and staff will need to ooze uniqueness.

3 Menu Design

Take special care when selecting your menu covers and décor. These are often the first branding elements your diners will see, so they must be appealing to your chosen niche. While menu cover design for cafe dishes is a critical part of your reputation, there’s far more to menu design than palettes and logos. Your dishes must entice, not only through superb ingredients and a talented chef, but also in the text your diners will see when they consider their orders. Your menu prose is as much a part of your marketing efforts as your search engine optimization. It must be novel, unique, and tightly handled.


4 Building Your Human Assets

When Forbes asked which lessons business owners had learned the hard way, doing it solo made the top of the list. The Elon Musks and Steve Wozniaks of the corporate world didn’t achieve that status by becoming a master of all trades, which is why growth promotion requires a solid team at your side. If you don’t have a head for marketing or are awful with numbers, don’t be afraid of searching for specialists to support your process. The staff at your front-of-house are, in many ways, your most important human assets, so make sure you engage them in your entrepreneurial dream. It costs about $3500 to replace an $8 per hour employee. Onboarding and target-based commissions will help keep their morale high, which will, in turn, keep your profits where they should be.

5 Location

Your location is everything to your success. Even the best dishes and friendliest staff cannot overcome a poor venue that lacks foot traffic or is overwhelmed by outside noise. A poor location isn’t always easy to spot. Sometimes, even the busiest and most attractive of locations has a string of failed businesses behind it. Track down previous tenants and speak to them personally before you put down your deposit. It may mean the difference between a roaring success and a dismal failure.


Your first eatery should be the beginning of a long and rewarding career in the industry. Getting it right the first time is simpler than you might think, but doesn’t mean it’s easy. The more hard work you devote to your research, the greater your odds of success.


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