From Choosing Wholesale Food Suppliers To Marketing: An Ultimate Guide To Opening a Café

The hospitality industry is notoriously brutal and unforgiving for new businesses. Businesses in the hospitality sector – including cafés, restaurants, pubs and hotels – are around three times more likely to fail than other organisations. The fact that 15.5% of businesses in the UK hospitality and catering sector fail is enough to put anyone off opening one. However, the allure of owning your café, growing it from the ground up and being your own boss is simply too strong for many. There is little better than creating a successful café and growing it. Although it is challenging, it can be done. From choosing the best wholesale food suppliers to making sure you have the best location and marketing, there is plenty you can do to give yourself the very best chances of success.

A recent survey detailing why exactly cafés fail found that being ‘unprepared for ownership’ came top. To help ensure that you are prepared for the challenges associated with opening a cafe, we’ve created a guide to help. From choosing the best wholesale food suppliers to your choice of marketing, we discuss how to give your new café the best chances of survival.

Your Choice of Wholesale Food Suppliers is Critical

Choosing the best wholesale food suppliers for your cafe business is a critical step for your ongoing success. Before selecting wholesale food suppliers to work with, it’s essential to first have an understanding of the available stock. You’ll need to talk to a range of wholesale food suppliers to fact-find. Ask what services they provide, what stock they have available, how long it takes to deliver, their prices. You might end up working with more than one supplier. Some wholesale food suppliers will specialise in dairy products, others might specialise in bread and others in eggs, meat and poultry.

As a new business, you must take your time to choose wholesale food suppliers who match your brand identity, have the products you require at a price that you can afford. When so many cafés fail in the early stages of the business, ensuring that you are working with the right partners can improve your chances of survival. Building relationships with wholesale food suppliers will help you thrive and grow your business.

Location is Key

Location is one of the most important factors for a café’s success. Before you make any concrete decisions on where your café is located, do plenty of research on the area. Spend some time in the areas that you are considering, walk around, take a look at the available opportunities and assess the amount of footfall during breakfast and lunchtimes as well as during the weekend. It’s all well and good getting a cheap deal on a property, but if you don’t get any customers there then it’s money completely wasted!

Consider the demographics of the location, how easy it is to get to for your wholesale food suppliers, if there are other cafés nearby and if commuters pass through regularly. If other cafés have been located there and failed, why is that? Location is such an important decision, so you must make it with all of the necessary information available to you.

A Unique Brand and Customer Experience

Creating a brand and a unique customer experience is vital in such a competitive sector of the hospitality industry. Do you want to be a slap-and-dash takeaway café for commuters or somewhere people can sit for hours? Creating a unique customer experience will set you apart from the competition and give you value over the others.

For example, if you want your café to be about customers slowing down, taking the edge off and relaxing, consider investing in high-quality coffee and snacks, comfortable chairs and maybe even a book-swapping service and some board games. If your brand is more about speed and low-price, that’s also fine. If that’s your idea, your branding should reflect being on the go, quick service and low prices. Both styles are fine and both can be successful, but you must know exactly what you stand for and ensure that everything about your café reflects that.

Marketing That Unique Brand Effectively

Once you know what your brand identity is, it’s time to market that effectively. Marketing can take numerous forms. From the signage you have in the window, the type of offers you provide and your advertising, your marketing strategy should be honed depending on your identity.

For example, if you are targeting commuters, consider early morning discount deals, loyalty cards or breakfast packages. If you are more interested in being a community hub where people can relax and read, consider lunch-time deals or advertising in local bookshops or targetting those on social media who show an interest in books and writing. Depending on your target audience and your identity, your marketing strategy will be completely different.

Research The Café Industry and Your Local Competitors

Researching local competition is a critical step for any café. You’ve got to thoroughly understand what it is the other local cafés are offering, what price they are offering it at and whether there is a gap in the market for you to plug. Coupled with market research on the demographics of the local area and their wants and needs, understanding the lay of the land can provide you with the best information.

For example, let’s say that many of the local cafés offer traditional coffees, cakes and other things that you would expect to see in a café at a reasonable price. The demographic research you perform could either indicate that there is a growing youth or student market in the area. You could meet this demand by offering products like fruit smoothies or free wifi connection and student discounts. The better research you have at your fingertips, the better business decisions you are likely to make.

Consider a Launch Party or Event To Make a Splash

Opening with a bang is always a good idea when launching a new café. You’ll want to let the local community know you exist. Consider hiring a stall in the high street near your cafe with samples of your food and coffee and directions for customers to find you. You could even offer discounts or free drinks when buying lunch for your customers’ first visit to the cafe. Opening with a bang and offering great deals will entice people in and ensure they know where you are in the future

Looking For Trustworthy Wholesale Food Suppliers in The UK? Look No Further Than Freshways

Freshways is the UK’s largest independent processing dairy. As professional wholesale food suppliers, we provide a wide range of hospitality businesses with the products they need to succeed. We’re dedicated to providing every one of our customers with fresh milk and dairy products. If you’ve been searching for wholesale food suppliers in the UK for your business, we should be your choice.

We understand that the quality of your business relies on the quality of the products you serve. That’s why, as wholesale food suppliers, we only ever supply high-quality produce. We can provide a bespoke solution depending on your individual needs. With three decades of experience in the industry, we’re best placed to provide you with a wide range of dairy supplies at a competitive price. Wherever you are in the country, choose us as your wholesale food suppliers.

To find out more about our services, please feel free to contact us today. You can find us at our head office at 16 Eastman Road, Acton, London, W3 7YG. Alternatively, call us on 0208 746 2046 or email us at