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How to run a cafe

We ask cafe owner Metin Esen what makes a well-run coffee shop.

Customers need to feel that they are receiving value in the cafe industry -  if so, they'll continue spending their cash.

Therefore Cafe owners need to macro-manage the day-to-day operation of their business, making it as efficient as possible.

Provide the best service possible is key to running a cafe, as mediocrity isn't good enough in this highly competitive industry.

To find out more, we asked Metin Esen - owner of independent cafe Chicci - to give us his tips on how to run this type of business.

How did you buy a cafe?

 "Cafes often have leases which affect lending. Buyers should find out how quickly the transaction will go forward with the landlord, because if there are any complications with the lease the banks may want you to purchase a longer lease. An attraction of my business was the very long lease.

"After resolving lending I asked the vendor if I could work in the cafe and I also just sat in as a customer. The owner didn't object. If you don't have any experience in the sector, then learn everything you can from the owner."

How did things change once you bought the business?

"From day one I made gradual changes - from the layout to the menus - gradual changes because I know that if you make a sudden change in any kind of business, customers mostly don't like it. 

"But slow, positive change is noticed by customers bit by bit and they can give you feedback.

"In the second year we made a good profit, so since then I have concentrated on the wholesale/catering side - which is more profitable in terms of getting in the customers."

How do you manage your staff?

"Once in the business, I didn't ask the staff member show they did things, as you can't do this. I find that you need to ensure that they respect you as an owner-manager."

What have you learned about the cafe business?

 "I have learned that if you buy an established business you have the customer base straight away, and if there is any outside catering business like we have, then you can have money from day one. 

"I didn't need to worry about building the business as I could build on an existing customer base.

"I also found that due to the economy, customers' spending habits are changing - they're spending less than they used to. We have good footfall, but people are now having only one not two coffees." 

What are your future plans for your cafe? 

"I would like to open second and third branches, and then start a franchise model. But only when I see a slight improvement for the economy on the horizon…"


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Sarah Louise Dean

About the author

Sarah Louise produces content across all titles in the Dynamis stable.


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