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Cafe guide: Buying an existing cafe vs starting up from scratch

Thinking of entering the cafe business? Whether you choose to purchase an existing cafe or seek to create your own hospitality brand, there are pros and cons for both options.

The key is lies in understanding both options well before taking the leap of faith. To make your choice a little bit easier, here are some important factors to consider:

Benefits of buying an existing hospitality business:

Existing records regarding finances and performance.

Based on previous reports, you can gain insight into performance trends, areas where the business is doing well, and opportunities for improvement.

Established customers.

An existing cafe will already have a regular customer base - people who are familiar with the business, know its location, understand the product and trust the brand.

Operational relations.

Suppliers, policies and processes are already in place, so you don’t necessarily have to put in the work to reinvent the wheel from the ground up. This time can instead be spent on identifying key areas of improvement and acting on priorities that can impact your sales and turnover more immediately.

Staff transition.

In most cases, trained and skilled staff from the existing business are part of the transition. Not only does this allow for the business to transfer and operate with minimal disruption and immediate earning capacity, but also offers leverage in the form of day to day operational insight, ground level understanding of the business and its history, as well as ideas for improvement.

Benefits of starting from scratch:

Creative license.

By opting to start your own hospitality business, you have the ability to explore, consider, research and develop your own logo and brand. You can incorporate your personality and style and have a completely blank canvas to work from.

Supplier autonomy.

You’re in a position to source your own suppliers and negotiate contracts and prices to your own preference and suitability.

Building your own team.

With a vision in place, you can choose individuals to bring on board and create a culture consistent with your mission. You can build a team and communicate your own standards and expectations rather than inheriting someone else’s.

Fresh marketing.

You’re the voice of a brand new business and have full control of customer perception, interaction and exposure through social media and other marketing avenues.

Whichever path you choose to go down, it is important to do your due diligence in terms of research and consultation with appropriate advisors such as lawyers and accountants. The biggest trap lies in entering the market without having your eyes wide open.

About the author:

Petar Jurcic is the founder of Crimson Bear Health Cafe and Director of The 5AR Group, a coaching and consultancy business aimed at working alongside small businesses, startups and individuals for personal growth and development​. He can be reached via email: pjurcic@the5argroup.com or instagram: the5argroup.

MORE TIPS IF YOU'RE A CAFE OR RESTAURANT OWNER:

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