As many know, for a couple of months, We at Nineteen95 ventured on a side project and collaborated to produce a F&B. Do note that we are no longer associated with such F&B. There are many ways to set up a startup, rights, wrongs and varying experiences! However, through the experience, we have learnt a lot about opening, operating as well as all that is good and bad about your own F&B. Here are some things no one will tell you about opening a F&B.
You will work more hours than you realize
Many look to opening their own startup to escape the 9-5 life. I am going to be honest and say, that idea was always in the back of my mind when I think about opening a F&B. However, we all fail to realize that we actually clock way more hours. Just considering at operation hours, you are likely to be at your establishment during its opening hours. Aside from that, there is prep work and even cleaning up to do before and after operational hours. That is easily an additional few hours into the day!
Well, many can see or account for such work hours, but we, as owners, do not realize the amount of time spent handling backend matters outside of operation hours. Scheduling shifts, ordering supplies, meetings, interviews etc. There is a hundred and one things to do within the designated time.
It takes time to profit
Anyone who sets out creating their own cafe or F&B, at the end of the day, are in it for the profits. What’s the point of venturing out and being your own boss but not rake in any profits? Lets be realistic here, everyone needs to support themselves or even their family right?
Its easy to imagine long lines and endless revenue with our novelty ideas. In reality, it actually takes time to break even with all the initial cost. On average, it takes about 2 years to break even.
Studies have shown that within the first 5 years, 8 of 10 cafes close down. Subsequently, 1 of the 2, that survives, will close down in the following 5 years.
One must recognize the fact that it takes time to profit. If it was so easy, everyone would have and will own their own business.
There isnt time to do it all yourself
We have all heard the saying “there is only 24 hours in a day”. The meaning behind it is that one will only have a said amount of time to do what they need in a day.
If you are thinking of running a F&b, do note that running a shop is never easy and is never a one person job. Even if you are at your F&b everyday, you cannot do everything from waiting tables to preparing the food.
Learn to structure a team and delegate your work or even outsource jobs. Even the busiest and most successful companies or restaurant relies on multiple staff to get the job done. Sometimes we have to put faith in the right people to run things while as an owner or manager to take care of the back end tasks.
No formula to success
We see dozens of cafes opening everyday during the cafe boom. But what works for one shop does not always work for the next. Don’t expect to copy a successful concept or style and expect to be successful. Find your own niche and emphasize it to establish your brand as own. We do recognize that not all business ideas and plans are unique but know that you have to set yourself or your brand apart from your competitors. This is what makes your brand or industry grow as time passes.
Once you found your niche, its not the time to relax and take it easy. Like people say, “easy come, easy go”.
There is really no real formula for success, we must keep working towards our goal to ensure success. Pay attention to what your customers tell you and adapt when necessary, from the latest food trends to the next Instagram worthy cafe, that every teen has to go to, your business needs to be both agile enough to keep up yet grounded enough to know what is important to the core customers.
What is arguably the most common question in our food loving country?
“What do you want to eat?”
Think about it, when you eat out, do you eat at the same place every single day for every single meal? So, why do you expect your customers to do the same?
Everyone needs variety, customers come and go. Hence, we need to remember what your niche is and highlight it. Embrace your competitors not insult them.
Talking bad about your competition doesn’t make your brand any better. It just makes you look like a jerk. Every business has its own competitive advantage, there are things you do better while there are things your competitor can excel in.
“A rising tide raises all ships”, you do not need to be the only person that succeed, instead think about how to rise with the tide. If your ship is sinking, then patch the holes and try to keep up with the rest!
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Nineteen95 the Espresso Bar
Mobile Coffee Catering Singapore