How to open an anti-cafe

Restaurant and hotel business Cafe

An ordinary cafe is a place where you can eat and drink. It is difficult to imagine a cafe without a menu, music and waiters. And, nevertheless, all this is not in the so-called “anti-cafe”. Anti-cafe (also called being place) is a new format of establishments intended exclusively for cultural recreation, meetings, leisure and work. The anti-cafe does not serve gourmet dishes and alcoholic beverages. In the menu of the institution there are only free tea, coffee, cookies, donuts, chocolate. Other food can be brought freely with you or ordered with delivery in another, more traditional institution.

The main source of income for the anti-cafe is the per-minute payment for staying in it. The cost is usually 1.5 rubles per minute or 90 rubles per hour, or 2 rubles / minute for the first hour and 1 ruble per minute in the following hours. Unusual cafes are in great demand among freelancers who need a place where they can work quietly (the anti-cafe has free WiFi access points), among young people who play board games, watch movies and just chat, among business people who need a place for negotiations or trainings.

Anti-cafes have already opened in several large Russian cities (Moscow, St. Petersburg, Rostov-on-Don, etc.) and are in great demand among customers who value, first of all, comfort, cosiness and communication, rather than the opportunity to have a good dinner, drink beer and dance.

And yet, despite the positive experience of other entrepreneurs (according to them, there are days when there are no empty seats in their anti-cafes), before opening your own establishment, you need to weigh the pros and cons and examine the demand and competition in your area. It is unlikely that such cafes will be in demand in small cities, while in Moscow or St. Petersburg they are an excellent alternative to the usual catering establishments, as well as home offices and coworking centers for freelancers.

To open this type of cafe will need a fairly large area - at least 150-200 square meters. There should be at least two or three rooms, including a small office for private conversations and business negotiations and a spacious room in which seminars, trainings and master classes can be held for a large number of people (minimum 10-15). Do not forget about the bathroom. A large cafe holds up to 150 visitors at a time. A smaller cafe will fit about 40-50 people.

If you find it difficult to predict the demand for this type of service, start small - at first remove a small area with the possibility of its expansion in the future. Anti-cafe should be located in a convenient location in the city center. Sleeping areas for such an institution will not work.

The schedule of the cafe depends on your target audience. Some work from noon to midnight, and on Friday and Saturday - until 2-3 o’clock in the morning. Others choose the daily mode of operation - from 9 am to 8-21 pm. When expanding the work schedule of your anti-cafe, you practically lose nothing, except for the salary of the administrator, who will open the establishment in the mornings and meet guests.

In addition to rental costs (quite substantial, taking into account the area and its location), you will also have to spend money on repairing the premises, drawing up the institution’s design project, and buying furniture. As is the case with a traditional catering establishment, the design of the anti-cafe is of great importance.

The interior should contribute to relaxation and, at the same time, not distract from work. The atmosphere should be comfortable and cozy. Saving on design and furniture is not worth it. Furniture from Ikea may be inexpensive, but it is unlikely to surprise anyone. The minimum set includes armchairs, sofas, chairs, tables, hangers or wardrobes.

If your cafe has a room for negotiations or conducting trainings and other activities, a board or flipchart and a projector are useful. You will also need to buy dishes and cutlery, books, board games (in the Moscow anti-cafe, for example, there is also an Xbox). Do not forget about a photocopier, printer, scanner, widescreen TV for watching movies, a split system, a coffee machine, an Internet access point, a phone. It is also worth equipping a separate playground with toys.

If your budget allows, you can also purchase several netbooks that your visitors can use if necessary. Think through every detail. For example, several types of chargers for mobile phones of different manufacturers will be useful in case the client suddenly has a mobile phone.

The number of attendants in the anti-cafe is much less than in a regular institution. You will need an administrator (or two, if it’s a large establishment) who will meet guests, deliver tea, coffee and desserts, a security guard (in case one of the visitors to the anti-cafe violates the ban on drinking alcohol on his territory), a cleaning lady (she can work in the morning and in the evening).

Monthly expenses for maintaining the cafe include rent, utilities, Internet and telephone charges, salaries for employees, the cost of buying tea, coffee, confectionery for treating visitors (purchased in bulk), stationery, magazines, cleaning products, etc. .

According to the most optimistic estimates, the profit of anti-cafes even with average occupancy rates (at the rate of 30 people) is a little less than one million rubles a month. True, in fact, this figure will be less, since, objectively speaking, it is unlikely that your cafe will have at least thirty visitors every twelve hours a day, thirty days a week. The average client’s stay in such an institution is one hour.

In addition, most likely, in the morning and afternoon hours there will be very few guests. By the way, think about how to attract more visitors at this time. For example, you can offer special conditions for freelancers who work remotely, or for journalists who often conduct interviews with the heroes of their articles in “neutral territory” in the morning or afternoon. Consider a system of discounts for regular customers.

Do not forget about advertising. The best way to attract new customers is word of mouth. Encourage your visitors to leave feedback about your establishment on local forums, blogs, pages on social networks and websites. Experience shows that most of the potential audience learns about such cafes on the Internet. However, neglecting traditional advertising tools is also not worth it.

Advertising in city print media, on radio and television, eye-catching signs and flyers handed out on the streets of the city will help to attract the attention of potential customers in the first time that your anti-cafe existed.

Regardless of the size of your budget, you can carry out various event events. For example, such establishments are in great demand among fans of board games. Consider hosting a real board game tournament with prizes for the winners.

With investments from one and a half million rubles, the payback period of such an institution is from 1.5 years. The hotel and restaurant business, including this format, is highly dependent on the seasonality factor. So, most visitors are observed in the winter, in the first half of spring and in the fall. In the summer, your potential customers spend their time on vacation and out of town.

The biggest plus of the anti-cafe is the lack of its own kitchen, which can save a lot. Tea, coffee, water, chocolate and cookies are usually provided free of charge and in any quantity. For those visitors who love to eat, but do not have the ability or desire to bring everything they need with them, you can negotiate with companies that deliver food to your home and offices. Mutual cooperation will benefit both of you: your visitors will be able to order any dish as quickly as possible, and the delivery service receives regular customers on your behalf.

The main problem that each anti-cafe solves in its own way is a system for recording the time spent by each visitor in an institution. As a rule, each guest is given a tag with a number. The administrator keeps track of time, recording who came in what time. Some owners of cafes with a per-minute payment for staying there are considering the possibility of introducing electronic cards, with which it will be much easier and faster to count and control.

Sysoeva Lilia

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