5 Things to Consider When Fitting-Out Your Café
Owning a coffee shop is a popular life-goal but there’s more to a successful café than a good latte – the design and layout of your space is paramount to its success. Of course, this job is usually assigned to architects and designers, however your choice of shop fitters is also a decision that will be fundamental to the outcome of your fit-out.
GS Contracts has spent many years designing, fitting out and refurbishing coffee bars and cafes. As experienced shop fitters we can advise you on everything from costs to queue management, product placement to planning permissions, in a way that will allow you to avoid pitfalls, maximise your space and supersize your profits!
Here are the five most common issues we’ve come across that need every café owner’s consideration:
Be realistic! You need to take into account the cost of the premises; running costs from day one (you won’t be able to start a fit-out without electricity, for example!); professional fees- your architect, designer, labour; staff and any training they need; the cost of furniture, the all-important commercial equipment; ceramics and cutlery; branding; permits; licences… the list is long, so make sure you’ve covered all bases. It’s important that your budget is created with your design in mind and vice versa – how many covers will you need to do a day to break even and how many tables will you need to accommodate in your space to make that possible? If you don’t know where to start, let us help with costings and estimates to make sure you’re working within the confines of your finances.
2. Location, location, location!
Of course, you must pick a part of town that is busy enough to provide the footfall a café needs to be viable, but you also need to pick a premises that’s suitable – for example, does it have a power supply and power points in the right places? Can you install extractors? (Whilst the smell of coffee can be delicious, air must be circulated in a hot, working environment). Does the site have the permissions you’ll need to run it as a café, and if not, how easy will that change of use be to obtain? Then there are buildings with listed status or owned by public sector landlords – any of these things can cause issues further down the line if not factored in from the beginning. Luckily, with GS Contracts on board many of the headaches will be avoided or eased, because we’ve built up our expertise in exactly this over the years.
Perhaps the most crucial aspect of any café’s design is the flow of the layout. It’s important to put yourself in the shoes of both employee and customer – does the barista have enough space to work methodically and get to the things he/she will need? Can your waiting staff get quickly across the room and access all areas with trays in hand? Will customers immediately understand how to queue and order and is there sufficient space for waiting for drinks without getting in each other’s way? Are there enough tables and seats? Have you got sufficient storage? With a custom joinery service like ours we can easily add bespoke fixtures, custom-made shelving and things like dropped ceilings so you can add heating and cooling features out of sight, so talk to us to find out what you can factor into your design to make the most of the space you have.
Does the style of café you plan to open fit well within the area you’ve chosen? For example, areas like Shoreditch in East London have a quirky feel where art and individuality can take centre place, whereas coffee shops in the City of London tend to be simple, sleek affairs. A holistic approach to the decoration of your café will mean you think consistently about the storefront, signage, furniture, flooring, lighting and even colour schemes: Blues in particular have been found to curb appetite while reds can promote hunger. Perhaps not surprisingly, greens are associated with health and fresh nutrition and clashing colours are more likely to cause people to feel unsettled and either order takeaway or eat and leave fast. If you’re aiming for a relaxing, welcoming atmosphere, then calming, complimentary colour schemes work best.
5. Choosing the right team
Over the years GS Contracts has nurtured relationships with some outstanding designers and can recommend someone perfect for your venture. Our own team is made up of exceptional project managers and craftspeople who will become a key part of your success. Make our team your team. Give us a ring today.