Coffee shops have their own culture in Canada, and it fuels the days of many individuals. Starting a cafe in Canada can be one of the best investments because they are so popular. However, with so many competitors starting a cafe may seem ultra intimidating, you’ll want to understand how to make your cafe unique from the rest. Beginning a cafe in Canada can be one of the most riveting events in your life.
How can you start a cafe in Canada? There are a few things you will need to do to open your cafe or coffee shop.
- Create a business plan.
- Find a unique name that represents your brand.
- Understand and research structures of businesses and choose what will fit best for you.
- Find local vendors with whom you want to partner with.
- Register your business and find out the rules you need to follow.
- Apply for loans if necessary.
Creating a business is relatively easy in Canada if you follow the proper steps. However, making a business successful is a long and tedious process.
Building a business and owning one can give your life meaning. On top of that, it can also help your surrounding community have a fun place to go. It allows you to create a happy environment that people want to come to. Read on to find out more about how you can open a coffee shop in Canada successfully.
Create a Successful Business Plan
Most businesses need to start with a plan that helps guide them through each stage of the company. This means what you need to do before opening, during the first few months, and everything after to keep your business successful.
If you are new to the coffee world, you may be surprised to find that all businesses need plans, not just yours. However, one based around food and drink will vary from that of a retail store. It’s important to plan out your business thoroughly and thoughtfully. This should take longer than a few days to write and think about.
For more information on creating a business plan, check out our article HERE!
The best tips for creating a solid business plan
Depending on the amount of detail you want to add, it will determine the type of format you use. The classic style will give you enough space to be as detailed as possible. While other styles may just help you layout the main focus and not the minor details.
What is going to make you unique? How are you going to turn this business into something prosperous? Add where you will be located, who you are as a leader, and any crucial data for others to know.
Description Of Your Cafe
You need to describe the place you are making. Understand who your target is and how you can cater to them. Be as specific as possible.
We all like to think our business will be the most successful, and there will be no competitors, but that isn’t true. The market is competitive, and you want to understand how you can make your business stand out from them. Perform a market analysis and study the people who have successfully run cafes in the same neighborhood.
If you are the owner and manager, you need to state that. If you are going to hire someone to run your business while you are a silent owner, you also need to say that. Throughout this entire process, the more you understand your business’s key areas, the better you will be when the time comes to open your doors.
For the food industry or coffee, you will want to know who you want to carry. Can you find a brand of coffee that no one else has? If that is what you will serve?
This means you need to have some ideas of what strategies are used to make a business successful. This part will require tons of research and maybe even some marketing ideas.
If you need loans or help to get money, this is the part where everything ties together. You need to know how much you are asking for and realistically what you can afford. You will need to list exactly what the money is going to, how it will help, how you can pay it back, and anything else you can think of. Be sure to ask for a reasonable amount that makes financial sense.
Where do you see this company going? Will it grow bigger? Can you project the wealth over time based on your business plan? If you can create a projection, add it in for everyone to see. This may help you get more funding.
If you have any other important information, you need to add it here. Any documents, credit history, or extra information all should be added in. Everything should be precise and straightforward.
All of this is what goes into a traditional business plan and maybe your best chance of getting funding if you need it. However, there is one other option called a lean startup. It gives overviews of each area and goes less into detail. Using this version does not necessarily mean you won’t get funding. In fact, many startups use it. For more tips on writing your business plan, you can find the government website for the business essentials.
How To Name Your Business?
You will want to avoid long names that are hard to pronounce. When in doubt, think of how you want others to think about you and find something simple that strikes that feeling. Keep it short and memorable that represents what you want to be known for. If you can’t think of anything that is okay, sometimes it takes a while to find a good name for your business.
Understand How To Structure Your Business For Success
Believe it or not, some owners are not hands-on and leave someone else in charge. It helps them focus on other things while still running a successful business. You will want to think of the internal structure and external structure.
Four Types of Business Structures in Canada
This allows you to have complete control over your business. It means you are the only one allowed to make decisions about your business. A sole proprietorship means that one person (you) owns and operates the company.
There are different kinds of partnerships you can choose from. It means a group owns and controls the business along with all decisions. You will want to understand what sort of partnership you can choose.
This means your business is treated as its own structure outside of you. It protects your personal life and allows you to treat the company as something unrelated to you. However, it can be much more complicated to get a corporation started.
This is a corporation where the owners are volunteers and share the same needs. Together they have a democratic say in the company. The profits get sent to whoever has patronage. Before you decide, you will want to determine what kind of business you want to run and how much you want to be held responsible. Look at all of the business structures to choose from in Canada.
How To Find Suppliers in Canada
The best thing about starting a cafe in Canada is that the government has created a database to find wholesale suppliers. You can browse the suppliers by industry and find the perfect fit for your business. You will be able to reach out to the vendors from the website and ask for prices and samples.
One thing to keep in mind is that many coffee lovers will be intrigued by the story a brand has. So carry something that you want to represent and that has a good story. Understand how the beans are made where they are grown and anything else that may seem important.
Register Your Business in Canada
If you are running a business that is a sole proprietorship under your own name as the name of your business in most provinces you will not need to register your business. However, any other kind of business and something that is not your own name will need to be registered.
Some territories require you to register your business even if is your own name at your local municipality. It is important to go in and check because everything will depend on the providence.
Apply For Loans in Canada
If you need loans, the best thing you can do is submit your business plan to multiple places and talk to everyone you can. Each place will have different offers and requirements to meet. Once you have a few offers, you can choose the best one for you. There are also things that you may not use your loan on and you will want to be sure you follow those rules strictly.
Creating a cafe in Canada has many steps, but most of the process is straightforward. As long as you think it through carefully and understand your goals as a business owner, you will have no problems opening up a cafe in Canada. Be yourself and create something that represents you.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you require a loan, many places will want to see proof you can do it. However, that is not always the case. At the very least, you should have a high school diploma. It will help you to have a business degree.
Opening your own business can be a great idea. You will have to work long hours and work hard because this is long-term. If you are expecting to be rich at the very beginning you will want to adjust your expectations.
When you are unprepared as an owner, it can cause failure in business. Before starting, you will want to be sure to have all of the details and business plan put together. Be as prepared as possible.
To learn more on how to start your own coffee shop checkout my startup documents here
Please note: This blog post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please consult a legal expert to address your specific needs.
Hi! I’m Shawn Chun
My adventure in coffee began when I first launched my first coffee shop back in the early 2000s. I had to figure out so many things on my own and to make it worse within 2 years of opening two large corporate coffee chains moved in just blocks away from me!
As I saw smaller and even some larger coffee shops in the neighborhood slowly lose customers to these giant coffee chains and slowly close up shop, I knew that I had to start getting creative…or go out of business.
I (like you may be) knew the coffee industry well. I could make the best latte art around and the foam on my caps was the fluffiest you have ever seen. I even had the best state-of-the-art 2 group digital Nuova Simonelli machine money could buy. But I knew that these things alone would not be enough to lure customers away from the name brand established coffee shops.
Eventually, through lots of trial and error as well as perseverance and creativity I did find a way to not only survive but also thrive in the coffee/espresso industry even while those corporate coffee chains stayed put. During those years I learned to adapt and always faced new challenges. It was not always easy, however, in the end, I was the sole survivor independent coffee shop within a 10-mile radius of my location. Just two corporate coffee chains and I were left after that year. All told the corporate coffee chains took down over 15 small independent coffee shops and kiosks and I was the last one standing and thriving.
Along the years I meet others with the same passion for coffee and I quickly learned that it is not only “how good a barista is” that makes a coffee shop successful, but the business side of coffee as well.
Hence why I started this website you are on now. To provide the tools and resources for up and coming coffee shop owners to gain that vital insight and knowledge on how to start a coffee shop successfully.
Stick around, browse through my helpful blog and resources and enjoy your stay! With lots of LATTE LOVE!