Top Tips

Top Tips

Top Tips – What to do if you want to set up your own Cafe/Restaurant/Bar Business


With our high streets declining in pure retailing but increasing in leisure retailing it has become very popular for entrepreneurs full of ideas, to want to open a coffee shop, bar, or restaurant. But in order to take the project from being just a good idea to a thriving and financially profitable business requires a huge amount of hard work and investment. Research and planning at the ‘ideas’ stage is absolutely vital to ensure that the venture stands the best chance possible of making returns to become a sustainable business over time. We have broken this down into four key areas and give you our top tips for success: Clear concept, Market research, Branding/offer/fit-out, Business plan.

1. Clear Concept

Be entirely clear about what it is that you are going to be offering and who your target market is.

2. Market Research

Take a good look at the competitors in your field. What are they doing? Are you going to be doing the same thing, or are will you have a point of difference to provide a competitive edge? Why would anybody come to you instead of them? Identify if you want to be in a prime high street position or be slightly off the beaten track to benefit from lower costs?

3. Branding/Offer/Fit-out

There are two reasons for undertaking this work. Firstly, you need it for yourself because you need to be quite clear about what it is you are going to be offering; what it is going to look like, what your branding is going to be, what it says about you and how you intend to fit-out the building, which obviously has an impact on the cost and the budget that you will need.

Choose the trading name and logo very carefully!!

The second important area is that in order to secure any premises, you are first going to have to demonstrate to the owner that your concept is viable and sustainable. Meaning that you need to build creditability for yourself by sharing visuals to demonstrate that you have an identifiable concept, appropriate branding, a clear offer and that you have ideas for how the property would be fitted-out and what budget would be required to achieve that fit-out.

4. Business Plan

Again, there are two important reasons for doing this, firstly, for your own due diligence to ensure that your concept translates into a viable, profitable business. Secondly, to demonstrate to the owner that you have thoroughly planned the venture and considered all the costs along with a realistic aspiration of income, to demonstrate how the business will be profitable.

When you’ve completed all of the above, you need to put together a LANDLORD’S INFORMATION PACK which will incorporate some of the information above, and more:-

• Description of the concept, with images / sample menu / branding logo
• Indicative fit out, with images
• CV’s for the people involved with the business detailing their experience
• Business plan including company structure and funding
• Details of ‘the team’ e.g. designers, fit out company, solicitor, surveyor, accountant

The last thing to consider is your own situation – do you have relevant experience, knowledge and are your personal circumstances and personality conducive to running your own business? It’s hard work and requires you to be many things – you need to be both a blue sky thinker and a detail person, you need to have boundless energy and a “can do” attitude whilst being realistic to limitations, whether personal, financial or other.

Lastly, you need money – as the saying goes “if you want to make a lot of money in a leisure business, you have to start with a lot of money”.

You need to have sufficient funding to:-

• Create your concept
• Pay for advisers to assist you
• Have a sufficient budget to fit-out the premises
• Fund a rent deposit
• Provide sufficient working capital and set-up costs

No business makes money from day one and cashflow, or lack of, is the main reason why new businesses fail.

Entrepreneurs are to be applauded and there are any number of fantastic role models but for every successful one, there will unfortunately be hundreds who have failed. This is usually either through lack of cash, a poorly thought out concept, lack of experience, or a combination of all those factors. The ones who are successful usually all have in common the factors that their concepts were well thought through, well-funded and well executed.

If you require assistance with your property or retail location aspects please contact:-

Fiona Brownfoot
Hicks Baker
0118 955 7083