5 tips on starting your own café

Location is the most important criteria in starting a café business. (rawpixel.com pic)

Have you been thinking of starting your own café? Perhaps you’re already in the midst of putting up a business plan to start your dream café. It is no easy feat as there is a lot to consider.

One of the most important is the desired location of your café. This is crucial as the location will determine the success of your cafe in the long run.

Searching for an ideal spot is usually not a walk in the park. Often, it is a stumbling block which puts a distance between an inspired dream to achieving the reality of owning a thriving café.

Here are five tips to find the perfect location to start your café:

1. Look beyond matured townships

It seems logical to start your search in matured townships in the Klang Valley. This includes populated areas in Bangsar, Petaling Jaya and Subang Jaya.

You’ll find many independent café owners, food and beverage outlets and international brands such as Starbucks and Coffee Bean operating in shopping malls, office buildings, colleges and universities in these townships.

The pros and cons are obvious. Let’s start with the positives. These places are already highly populated, and their residents are willing to spend money on coffee.

The negatives include the high cost of rental and intense competition among existing operators. It is simply the survival of the fittest.

2. Find growing locations

Search for places which are located close to these matured townships. Often, these places are hidden gems which possess huge potential to grow as they will benefit from the spillover effect from overpopulated matured townships.

For instance, ask yourself if you can drive five minutes away from Subang Jaya, where would it be?’

Most likely, you will be able to map out several potential spots which are close to the prime location. You will not only be able to tap into the prime location’s reputation but also save cost on lower rental.

A neighbourhood café’s biggest selling point is convenience. (rawpixel.com pic)

3. Low supply, high demand

Let us again take Subang Jaya as an example. Most residents of Subang Jaya are residing in USJ, a matured neighbourhood.

It’s a huge area. If you stay in USJ 2 to USJ 9, you can take a 10-minute drive to vibrant areas such as SS15 and Bandar Sunway to shop, dine, and have coffee. This is because prime shopping malls, colleges, universities and office towers are located in these places.

However, if you stay in USJ 11 to USJ 27, you will need to take a 30-minute drive to SS15 or Bandar Sunway. It is inconvenient. This is because firstly, you have to navigate through many traffic lights. Secondly, the traffic is always congested especially during peak hours.

You may be wondering if there aren’t any other choices where residents can shop, dine and have coffee. There are several options – firstly Taipan which is USJ 10. It is a thriving commercial area which is overpopulated.

Second, you have the three smaller neighbourhood malls of USJ 19 Mall, the Main Place and One City. Still, there is a lot of room for growth. This is because in addition to USJ, the number of residents living within the vicinity is huge if you include Putra Heights.

It is another huge matured neighbourhood without a single shopping mall. As a result, in between USJ and Putra Heights, you can conclude:

Demand = tens of thousands of residents

Supply = limited shopping malls and retail outlets

4. Are there any new property projects?

You should be looking out for any new property projects within the vicinity. This is important as these projects will not only change the landscape of the area but are also potential growth areas into the future.

So if you are staying or working nearby, you will choose to relax, dine and have coffee in the vicinity. You do not need to drive far to enjoy the simple pleasures of life and this is convenient.

5. Check the reputation of the developer

It is assuring to know that the property is developed by a reputable developer. Thus, do probe deeper.

Is it a public-listed company? How many years track record does it have in property development in Malaysia? What are their other notable projects?

Now that you have a potential location to set up your café, there is more to be discovered. This includes the project’s master plan, site plan, floor plan, features and pricing details.

The key here is for you to keep looking, hunting, and surveying until you find the right spot at the right price.

This article first appeared in kclau.com

KC Lau’s first book Top Money Tips for Malaysians has sold thousands of copies. He launched the first online personal finance course specifically designed for Malaysians, entitled the Money Automation System. He also co-founded many other online financial courses including the Bursa Method, Property Method, Founder Method and REIT Method.