Research & Refine your Business Idea
Running a cat cafe is quite different from a standard cafe. It requires not only providing quality food and drink to the customers, but also taking care of the cats housed within your business. While this can require a lot of extra work, it can also be a very rewarding experience for animal lovers.
You will need to consider the classes and certifications that can help to make your business successful, such as those offered by the ASPCA, as well as coffee courses if you plan on serving those kinds of beverages. Furthermore, learning how to manage your business is a huge asset!
Providing Cat-Friendly Space
There are extra considerations that need to be made in a cat cafe, such as making sure the space is friendly to cats as well as customers. This includes things like litter boxes, toys, beds and perches for the cats to enjoy. Having these things around can also help to keep cats from ending up on the tables, or otherwise involving themselves in the food of customers.
You’ll also need to make sure that cats get any medical attention they may need. After all, it’s not good for a cat to remain ill and customers are unlikely to be comfortable around ill felines. The good news is, you may be able to team up with a cat shelter to handle the costs of care.
Another aspect to keep in mind is that there will have to be more of an effort made towards cleaning in a cat cafe than other options. Cats are living creatures, meaning that things like hairballs and litter boxes will have to be cleaned up quickly and regularly. After all, customers aren’t going to be fond of enjoying the space if there are unpleasant sights and smells around.
You may also want to have a method for keeping cats away from the food prep area. That way, you won’t need to worry about added germs or cat hair making its way into the things people are going to be consuming.
Often, cat cafes will act as a kind of foster care for the cats. Cafe owners will provide food, drink, medical care and whatever else the cats need, but they are also open for adoption. What’s fantastic about this is that customers get to enjoy a comfortable space where they can get to know the cats. When they fall in love with one, they can turn in an adoption application.
A cat cafe can be a much more enjoyable space for the cats than the cages or other small, sometimes noisy spaces that they may be in while in a shelter. Because of that, customers get to see more of the natural personality of the cats at the cafe!
Creating your Business Website
There are a few reasons why it’s a good idea to have a website for your cat cafe. The first is simply because it’s an excellent source of information. Customers can use your website to learn about the hours, menu and costs involved in going to visit your business.
Secondly, if you’re using the cat cafe as a means of adopting out cats, then you can also add some pet profiles to give customers an idea of what the cats are like that hang out at your establishment. You can really have a lot of fun giving a few details about the age and personality of each cat.
The best part of having a website is that it’s so easy to do in modern times. With the help of sites like Wix and Squarespace, you can build your own website in very simple, intuitive ways. There’s no more headache associated with trying to put a website together!
Setting up a website isn’t as hard as it may sound, in-fact, many hosting providers have tailored their service around small businesses who may not be tech savvy. We suggest going with BlueHost to host your website, they’re service is simple and easy to use/setup and they’re currently offering 60% off hosting, including free domain registration.
Additionally, creating a blog on your website is also a great way to attract organic traffic and expand your business. Checkout our full guide on the best and easiest way to setup a WordPress blog here.
Marketing Your Business
Marketing is really how you get people to visit your business. It shows people that your business actually exists, and invites them to come and take a look for themselves. Consequently, putting plenty of effort into your marketing methods is key.
When it comes to a cat cafe, you can make use of social media sites, Yelp, pet shelter websites, and print and digital media. Each of these strategies can help in their own ways, allowing you to reach out to many people and keep the business flowing smoothly.
For something like a cat cafe, social media can be huge. Taking plenty of pictures of the establishment and cats can really draw the eye of animal lovers on a number of different social media platforms.
Considering most social media is free, it’s a great way to advertise without having to pay to do it. You can also use it to communicate with customers, share news, introduce new cats and a whole lot more!
Animal Shelter Websites
Another great place to advertise is with animal shelters and their websites. This can be particularly helpful when you’re paired with an animal shelter in order to allow people to adopt the cats they meet at your cat cafe.
Those who favor adopting animals to purchasing them will really appreciate seeing the opportunity to visit a cat cafe where they can spend some more casual time with cats they can adopt.
Making sure people see that your business exists out in the real world is an important thing, and there are many ways to use print advertising to help in that purpose.
Mailers, billboards, brochures and a whole lot more are great ways to introduce people to the idea while they are on their way to work, or perhaps looking for a nice place to have lunch. While it may not be as popular as digital marketing these days, it’s still a fantastic idea.
Digital advertising is one of the most popular forms today. It can range from advertisements placed on websites to those on television, radio, podcasts and more. Because of this, they can also range in price.
For those who don’t have a lot of money to put into advertising as you’re starting out, there are also advertisement options through social media sites and others that allow you to set a budget that the advertisement will then stick to.
Setting Goals and KPI’s
A Key Performance Indicator is something you keep track of in order to show the growth of your business. While indicators and goals like profits and sales are pretty universal among businesses, there may also be some you want to consider specifically for a cat cafe.
One that you might consider are the number of cat adoptions in a month. Naturally, if you’re offering adoptions then it’s a great thing to see more cats go to their forever homes. In addition, keeping special track of things like cleanliness and safety can be extra important.
Plan your Finances
The first thing worth doing is opening up a bank account specifically for your business funds. It just allows for a greater level of control over the incoming and outgoing money related to your company.
You’ll also want to carefully calculate what it’s going to cost you to get started. make sure to factor in things like maintenance, cat care and food and litter for the cats. Get as detailed as you possibly can!
Finally, it’s going to be time to look for the funds to get started. You can choose to save the money yourself, seek out crowdfunding through GoFundMe, Kickstarter or something similar, ask friends and family to assist in achieving your goals, or taking out a loan.
Adopt an Entrepreneurial Mindset
Creating a business includes continually learning and adapting to new situations. You never know when something might go wrong, or when customers may begin to lose interest for some reason.
Consequently, you really have to stay up to date with the latest forms of advertisement as well as what people are interested in, or no longer interested in. That way, you can adapt to meet their needs.
Difficult times may occur, but seeing them as merely obstacles rather than failures can help you to succeed in the long term.
Other things to consider when starting your cat cafe
Legal requirements may not be the most exciting, but they are extremely important to understand in order to provide the best possible experience for your customers, employees, and the cats.
Keep in mind that there may be some extra requirements involved for cafes that include animals like cats, such as making sure the animals are away from the cooking space and are up to date on vaccines and the like.
There are also considerations to make with regard to paperwork, including making sure that no one else is using the name you want. Furthermore, deciding on the structure of your business, such as a sole proprietorship, LLC and more, as well as understanding how taxes will function for you.
Accounting & Bookkeeping:
Another less exciting aspect to running any kind of business is bookkeeping. That said, it’s an aspect that needs plenty of attention so that the numbers can be tracked, allowing you to see the growth in the business and make sure taxes and employees get paid, and more.
Fortunately, there are options for you! Hiring a freelancer who is experienced in bookkeeping is a great idea, and that person can provide you with great advice for being successful. You can also choose to hire and train your own employee, if you want someone a little closer to you on a regular basis.
It’s likely that you’ll need some extra help while working in a cat cafe. Consider the tasks that you enjoy doing the most, and can do within a reasonable period of time and think about hiring other people for the excess work, or to take on certain tasks.
Before you get started with hiring, make sure you know what is expected of you as an employer. How many breaks will you need to give? Do you need to offer a 401K to employees? Learning as much as you can will allow you to provide a legal and enjoyable experience for those who work for you.
Keep in mind that these laws can differ a little bit depending on where you are located. Make sure that you follow the laws for the area you live in.