Opening a cat café can be extremely successful if you plan well and work hard.
To get started, you need to master the following key points on how to open a profitable cat café in 2024:
- Understand the business
- Choose a name
- Create a business plan
- Hire the right people
- Find the perfect location
- Consider hiring a consultant
- Decide on the legal structure
- Complete necessary paperwork
- Create marketing materials
- Invest in the right software
- Save up for operational costs
- Consider secondhand furniture
For a more in-depth guide to the steps above, keep reading below.
1. Start by observing a "normal" cafè
Determine the typical operation model of the local cafés by first observing them. What products do they offer, their costs, etc?
Ultimately, you're operating a café, and the cat aspect is merely a method to set yours apart and strengthen your business plan.
Think of shadowing a coffee shop as a behind-the-scenes documentary on running a successful business. You'll observe not just the latte art and friendly banter, but also the inventory management, staff training, cash flow juggling, and those inevitable curveballs. This practical exposure helps you avoid blind spots in your own planning, equipping you to build a shop that's not just a dream, but a sustainable reality.
2. Decide on a name for your cat cafè
Choosing a name for your company is the first step in opening a cat cafè.
Making this decision is important since your company name serves as your brand and will be used for the duration of your business.
A meaningful and memorable name is what you should ideally choose.
The following advice will help you choose a name for your first cat cafè:
- Verify that the name is accessible. To find out if your ideal name is accessible, check trademark databases and the list of registered cat café names in your state. Additionally, examine if there is a domain name that works.
- Make it easy. Generally speaking, the easiest names to spell, pronounce, and remember are the best ones.
- Consider marketing. Choose a name for your cat cafe that accurately conveys the intended brand and/or focus.
Need inspiration? Take a look at these suggestions on Reddit:
3. Create a cat cafè business plan
Creating a business strategy for your cat cafè is one of the most important steps in actually opening one. Making a plan guarantees that you understand your business strategy and your target market audience completely.
To generate financing for your business, the plan also gives you a roadmap to follow and, if necessary, to show to potential investors.
The following sections should be included in your business plan:
Executive Plan: The purpose of the executive summary is to provide readers with a brief overview of your whole business plan and the unique features of your new venture.
Company Overview: In this section, the reader is informed about the origins of your cat coffee shop and the kind of café you run. Are you a typical cat café, cat lounge, cat boarding café, or cat rescue café, for instance?
Industry Analysis: Here you will record important details concerning the cat café sector. Perform market research and record the size of the industry as well as the trends that are influencing it.
Customer Analysis: In this section, you will list the characteristics of your ideal or target market as well as their demographics. For example, what is their age? What is their residence? When it comes to buying goods or services similar to the ones you will provide, what matters most to them?
Competitive Analysis: List the main direct and indirect competitors you expect to deal with as well as your strategy for gaining a competitive edge.
Marketing Strategy: Add the four Ps of marketing into your strategy:
- Product: Decide what goods and services you will provide.
- Price: Keep track of your business expenses and services.
- Place: What is the location of your company, and how will it boost sales there?
- Promotions: How would you attract people to your cat cafè with promotions? For example, in the cat cafè industry, it will be wise to employ social media marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), public relations, and/or pay-per-click advertising.
Add your operations plan to help you identify the essential processes you'll need to carry out your daily business. Your staffing requirements will also be decided.
Lastly, you will establish a projected growth schedule in this portion of your plan that outlines the milestones you intend to hit in the upcoming years.
Manage your staff: The history of your company's management team is covered in this section.
Consider a financial plan: Lastly, the financial plan provides answers to certain queries, such as the following:
- What would it cost you to start up?
- How would you monetize your cat cafe?
- What are the anticipated sales and costs over the upcoming five years? Does your firm need to raise money to get off the ground?
4. Hire the right people for your cat cafè
Someone with previous expertise managing a cafè or restaurant is what you need. They can guide you through obtaining permissions, assist with day-to-day tasks like placing goods orders, and assist you in selecting a suitable location.
5. Decide on the best location
Selecting an appropriate location is crucial when starting a cat café.
Finding a spot that is both convenient for guests and large enough to house your café and the kitties is what you should do. Additionally, confirm if the area is approved for a business like a cat café.
6. Consider hiring a consultant
Asking someone with experience in the field to give you advice on how to succeed is never a bad idea.
7. Select the legal framework
You must decide on a legal framework for your cat cafè and register both it and your company name with the Secretary of State in every state where your cat cafès are located.
The three most typical legal structures are listed below:
1. An individual business
When a business is run by one individual who also serves as the business's owner, it's known as a sole proprietorship. All of the debts and liabilities of a sole proprietorship belong to the business's owner.
Establishing a sole proprietorship is simple and requires no paperwork; it can be run quickly. Sole proprietorships are easy and affordable to start up, which is their principal benefit.
The owner's responsibility for the debts and liabilities of the company is its primary drawback.
A common legal arrangement for small business owners is a partnership/collaboration. It’s an agreement reached by two or more individuals who wish to launch a cat café together.
The business's gains and losses are divided among the partners.
A partnership has the benefits of being simple to establish and allowing participants to split the company's gains and losses.
A partnership has two drawbacks: disputes among partners can be challenging to settle, and all partners are equally responsible for the obligations of the company.
3. LLC (Limited Liability Company)
An entity that gives its owners limited liability is a limited liability company or LLC. This implies that an LLC's owners are not held personally liable for the obligations and liabilities of the company.
For a cat cafè, an LLC offers management flexibility, pass-through taxation (which prevents double taxation as will be discussed later), and reduced personal liability.
Self-employment taxes and an LLC's inaccessibility in some states are among its cons.
8. Tick off your business checklist
- Get permits: To open a cat cafè, you will require a business license and a health permit from the local health authority. Depending on where you live, a zoning permit can also be required. Find out what additional licenses and permits you will require by getting in touch with your local government.
- Get a business card: To keep your personal and professional costs apart, you want to get a business credit card for your cat cafè. You can get this via your bank or any credit card company.
- Get business insurance: Find an insurance representative and explain the demands of your company to them; they will provide recommendations for plans that meet those needs.
9. Create marketing materials
You'll need marketing materials to draw in and keep coming back to your cat cafè.
The following are the essential marketing materials you will need:
Decide on a logo: Take your time creating a catchy logo for your cat café. Business cards, marketing materials, stationery, and other items will all bear your logo. A well-chosen logo has the power to raise brand visibility and client trust.
Design a website: Similarly, a well-designed cat café website gives prospective clients access to details about your company's background, products and/or services, and contact details.
It's important to keep in mind that how your cat cafè website appears and feels will influence how people view you.
Set up social media accounts: Social Media Accounts: create accounts on social media platforms under the name of your cat cafè business.
Social media profiles on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and/or other platforms will make it easier for clients and other users to find and get in touch with your cat cafe.
Consider marketing campaign emails: You can inform guests about the latest events, and special offers that directly relate to their interests by using win-back emails.
You can offer guests enticing incentives to book directly while maintaining a high level of personalization.
Pro tip: Consider a reservation system like Eat App that offers a powerful CRM tool.
10. Get the right software to operate your cat cafè
To operate a cat cafè, you will need a few different software systems.
The first is a Point of Sale (POS) system that enables inventory and sales tracking.
Then, to handle bookings you will need a table management and reservation system like Eat App.
Plus, you'll also need a system for tracking immunizations and cat health.
Lastly, to advertise your cat cafè concept and draw in cat lovers, you'll need a website.
11. Save up for operational costs
Put aside five to six months' worth of the cafè's running costs. For example, if the monthly operating costs are $10,000, you should have $60k available.
This will assist you in covering voids when the company launches. Avoid using loans at first since you will make bad choices because you are not risking your own money.
12. Consider buying secondhand furniture
Purchase used furniture such as tables and chairs. Get used gear, etc.
The main goal is to determine whether your business model will succeed and whether you can begin without the priceiest or most advanced equipment.
Creating a successful cat cafè requires careful planning and strong dedication.
This guide outlines important steps, like researching the market, managing finances, hiring staff, and promoting the cafè.
Remember, passion, hard work, and a good business plan are crucial for success.