New eBook Reveals How To Successfully Open A Restaurant… Free E-Book!

How to Open a Café or Coffee Shop in London?

How To Open A Café Or Coffee Shop In London? While tea drinkers abound in the UK, London has become a city where coffee is consumed liberally. In fact, according to The Independent, it has soared to 95 million cups a day! Needless to say, opening a coffee shop or cafe in this city will be a good business decision provided you have experience in restaurant management. 

How To Open A Cafe Or Coffee Shop In London 

Of course, like any business venture, launching a cafe takes work. Here are some things that can give you a good head start:

A latte

1. Make A Business Plan First

Before opening your cafe, you need to ensure you have a business plan. This simple document will be the blue print that will help you build your business from the ground up. Plus, no investor will take you seriously if you don’t present one when you need seed money.
Here are some items that should be included in the plan:

    The title of the cafe i.e. its logo and legal name
    Objectives and mission of the business
    The overview of the business structure
    A financial plan for the business i.e. cash flow, balance sheets etc...
    The products you will be selling (types of coffee, delicacies etc...)
    Your management strategy
  • Operating plan (inventory, equipment etc...)
  • The layout of the cafe in the form of charts

2. Secure Financing

Even though famous coffee houses such as Costa Coffee have made it big in the UK, it took the owners years to reach that level of success. If you are expecting to make a million pounds in the first year, think again. Your profit margins will only become significant once you expand your cafe into a franchise or multiple outlets.

At this point you don’t have to have experience in restaurant management to understand that your venture needs finances and fast. There are a few options you can look into but if you are feeling particularly ambitious, you should look into business loans. If you want to make ends meet only, opening a small and quaint coffee shop with some saved up money can be enough for you.

Also consider how you will keep track of those finances. A separate business bank account should be your first priority in this regard. If you place all of the profits in a personal account, you may end up spending that money on personal effects, rather than on your cafe.

A woman and a cup of coffee

3. Find The Ideal Location

No matter how great your business plan is, if your cafe is located in a less than ideal location in London, it will fail. The best one should be close to strategic places such as a park, universities, public transportation, competitors, office buildings, the train station etc.

A shopping centre may not be the best location even though it gets a lot of traffic. Even if you expect to make big money, the high rent will take up most of it anyway. Consider that location when you expands and can generate profits while breaking even. Otherwise, everything you earn will have to go into the business. Consider growing districts instead.

You don’t have to consider a standalone cafe either. Consider getting a coffee truck so you can drive it around a number of places and generate profits on the go. Plus, also consider the space you have to work with. If you plan on opening a sit-in cafe you will need more space than if you decide to open a take-away.

If you decide on the former, consider the fact that water, gas and other utilities also have to be taken under consideration. 

4. Consider The Design

Speaking of space, the interior of your coffee shop will have a huge hand in determining its aesthetic appeal. Both back and front house plans are crucial when it comes to customer comfort as well as service efficiency. The design should reflect your vision that you mention in the business plan or it will not be cohesive.

Consider the type of ambience you want to create. If you want an open style coffee house, consider going with bright colours for the walls that students and other young customers can appreciate. If you want to create a moodier tone, go for a darker tone to create a sense of intimacy. If you wish to target parents, consider how you will accommodate children in the cafe as well.

Keep in mind that you should not overwhelm customers by going overboard with the decor. Think about maintaining a balance between the aesthetic you are looking to achieve and the practical applications of the coffee shop. That’s restaurant management 101!

5. Understand Food Safety Regulations

Whether you are opening a restaurant or a coffee shop in London, you have to register it with the local environmental health service at least 28 days before opening your doors. This can be done for free at this link

Your coffee shop will be inspected by personnel who have the authority to close it down and fine you if they find proof it violates food safety laws. So the first thing you should do after registering your cafe, is look up the Food Standards Agency (FSA) guide on running a food based business. It will go a long way in helping to maintain a level of cleanliness and hygiene that you can be proud of and which can prevent closure. 

Bottom Line...

Learning how to open a cafe in London is just the first step. Put these tips into use and become an entrepreneur in your own right.

Do you want to know more? Browse through our blogs to receive more trade secrets. You can also hire our restaurant consultants for professional assistance.

New eBook Reveals How To Successfully Open A Restaurant… Free E-Book!


About the Author

Massimo’s career has grown up through the restaurant world, starting as a waiter through to high-end restaurant openings within an operational management capacity. This depth of experience has allowed him to understand the business from both a guest’s needs to what a team needs, giving him the benefit of an all-rounded view and approach to problem solving.