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Opening A Cat Cafe: 13 Tips Getting A Your Restaurant Off The Ground

 

Cat cafes have gained significant popularity across the globe. Driven partly because owning a pet is becoming increasingly challenging for busy young professionals and families. In addition, more people are renting rather than buying their own properties, and many landlords are unwilling to allow their tenants to keep pets in their properties. 

This means that animal lovers have to find different ways to spend time in the company of their furry friends. Cat cafes offer the perfect opportunities for people to see and enjoy quality time with cats, all while enjoying some tasty refreshments. If you hope to launch a cat cafe, it is essential to do your homework. It is crucial for the cats in your care and your customers that you create the right environment. Here are some of our top tips to help your cat cafe succeed.

Assess The Demand

It is best to ensure there will be suitable demand for your cat cafe before you start. If your local area already has a range of cat cafes, adding one more may not be a logical business decision. You could consider opening a cat cafe further afield, where there are no current cafes, or consider a different style of restaurant altogether.  

Choose The Right Name

You will need to choose a name that will inform customers about their experience in your cafe. Given that cat allergies are common, choosing a name that emphasizes that cats will be present is best. It will also need to be a name that will be recognizable and easy to brand. 

Understand Your Local Health Codes

Mixing animals and food can present a range of possible hazards that your local government will regulate. You should do your homework and understand how you will need to set up your cafe to comply with local regulations. It may require you to have separate areas for the cats and for those eating their food. 

Naturally, no cats should be allowed anywhere near the food prep areas. You should practice good hygiene at all times and ensure your cat cafe is prepared to pass a health inspection

Secure Financing

Outfitting, decorating, and supplying a restaurant can be costly, and you will need to factor in the additional expenses associated with the care of the cats. Create a budget and include all costs you might expect and a cushion for emergencies. Look at various funding opportunities, including angel investors, bank loans or credit, self-financing, and government grants.

You may need to choose a range of ways to fund your restaurant. If taking out a bank loan, you should be careful not to overstretch yourself and your business’s finances. Managing cash flow can be a challenge in the first years of business, so it is crucial not to take on more debt than you can handle. 

Decorate With Cats And People In Mind

The décor for your cat cafe will need to be suitable for people and cats alike. It is good to integrate seating for customers with cat trees and beds to give plenty of opportunity for cat and human bonding time. You should also ensure there are spaces away from the main cafe that the cats can retreat to if they no longer want to interact with people for a while. Cats are social creatures, but they also enjoy their time alone, just like humans. 

Have A Website Built

Every business should have a suitable website to showcase its unique services. For your restaurant, the cats will be the main attraction for many customers, so it is good to have information on all the cats in your cafe that customers can look at before they visit. Your website can be an excellent opportunity to inform guests about the rules of your restaurant, which should be put in place to protect cats and customers alike. 

Simplify The Reservations Process

You should ensure that making reservations is as easy as possible for your customers. This means having a portal on your website that allows customers to book tables and having a dedicated phone number and email address to accept customer bookings. You should also use a reservation system on a platform that customers will be familiar with and trust. 

There are a few excellent options available, and it is worth doing your own research to decide which platform to use. This is an excellent article from help on the benefits of using Yelp vs. OpenTable restaurant reservation systems and can be a great resource to help restaurant owners decide which service to use. 

Decide On A Menu

You’ll need to consider the menu you choose for your cat cafe carefully. Most cat cafes offer light refreshments and drinks, which can be ideal as your customers will want to spend time playing with the cats as well as eating, making a bigger sit-down meal more challenging. You should avoid items on the menu that would be dangerous to the cats if they accidentally ate some. 

It is crucial to price your cafe menu competitively while keeping prices affordable. Unlike other restaurants, you will have the maintenance and care of the cats as a significant business cost, so this may need to be reflected in the pricing structure. 

Partner With A Local Cat Shelter

Partnering with a local cat shelter can be a great way to help get your cat cafe off the ground. A partnership like this would be mutually beneficial, with you and the shelter benefiting from additional exposure. You could populate the restaurant with cats from the shelter under the guidance of those who work with the cats day in and day out. Giving customers the chance to adopt the cats they meet in the cafe can be a fantastic way to help rehome cats in need. 

Choose The Right Cats

The cats you bring into your cafe will need to be the more even-tempered, social, and patient animals. Every effort should be made to ensure that customers behave appropriately with the cats in your cafe, ensuring that the cats aren’t upset or bothered by so many humans. That being said, choosing cats with the right personality is crucial. 

Find The Right Premises

You’ll need a suitable location for your cat cafe. This can be tricky, as you will need a place that isn’t too noisy and overwhelming for the cats while being central enough to attract plenty of passing customers. It is a good idea to choose a space with plenty of parking and large enough that the cats will have plenty of space to roam and stretch their legs. 

Hire The Right Staff

You will need staff that has experience in customer service and animal care. Running a cafe while caring for the needs of animals can be a tricky job to balance. It may help to get some staff that are primarily in charge of food and customer service and some that are to focus their attention on the cats in your care. 

Research Local Vets

You will need to provide a good level of care to the cats in your cafe, so you should research local vets. It is good to meet with vets to discuss your business and the number of cats you will have in your cafe. You’ll need to take the cats for regular checkups, ensure they all have their shots and are microchipped, and get them neutered to prevent accidental pregnancies.

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