6 Big Expenses to Help Your Café Dream Come to Life

Owning a business is a dream come true for many people. But knowing what you need to make your dream a reality is often vague and takes some research.

Cafe business

How will you know how much money to ask for from investors? How will you know if the business loan you’re approved for will be enough? When it comes to owning a café or other restaurant business, there are a lot of things you’ll need depending on the kinds of food and products you want to create.

Here are 6 big expenses to consider to help your café dream come alive.

Espresso Machine

You don’t want a tiny Keurig or other home espresso maker. You need something to brew the espresso and can also steam the milk.

A commercial grade machine will cost you upwards of $5,000 or more. But these machines are made to last. Not only that, but they are designed to be adequately cleaned so that you don’t inadvertently make one of your customers sick. Additionally, when you’re planning for busy times, you know you’ll actually need at least two machines so you can make more drinks at once.

Coffee Roaster

The thing that keeps people coming back to your café daily will be your coffee. If the flavor is something they can get anywhere, your café won’t be special.

But if you offer your own roasts, that will draw people in. A commercial coffee roaster machine is a must-have for any small business. Coffee connoisseurs will flock to you once they find out about the delicious roasts you create at your café. This machine will allow you to control how dark of a roast you create. You’ll be able to create small batches as well to determine if a particular roast is popular with your customers or not.

Lease a Building

Leasing a building is a big, but necessary expense. You’ll want something in a busy location, but that also has adequate parking or that you can easily put a drive-through window in.

You’ll need a sink space for washing dishes, a bathroom, and minimal kitchen equipment if you plan to serve pre-baked goods along with your coffee. You’ll also need to purchase signs and other branded items to mark your location and communicate your hours to walk-up customers.


Hiring a professional to help with your branding goes a long way. You might have some ideas about how to communicate your new business, but a branding professional will be able to combine your ideas into a cohesive brand. They understand your target audience in a way that allows them to design visuals like logo and signage and craft words that speak directly to that audience.

Just because someone likes coffee doesn’t mean they will automatically come to your café. You’ll need effective branding to help you market your small business. You need people who love small-batch, handcrafted coffee roasts and who would enjoy the atmosphere you want to create. It’s more than just putting up a sign to sell coffee.


If you plan to have a location with indoor or outdoor seating available, this can become a big expense. Sturdy tables and chairs aren’t cheap. You’ll want durable furniture to ensure people are safe when they sit down, that they can be easily cleaned of spills, and that will last.

Cheap furniture breaks easily and can become a hazard. Additionally, you may want to include booster seats and high chairs for children if you plan to have a family-friendly environment.

Business Licensing

Getting the right food and business licensing is a critical expense when you’re handling food. You’ll need to get sales tax licensing, food handling and prep licenses, and you’ll need inspections of your commercial kitchen. For just serving coffee, the regulations are different than if you cook food on the premises. You’ll need to learn the regulations, then make sure that you do everything you need to comply with them if you want to open your café.

Once everything is complete, you’ll need to finalize paperwork and get an inspector to check off on your business so that you can open.

There are more steps than this to open a café, but these big expenses should help you create a budget and know how much to ask for from investors or lenders. Once you have these big expenses accounted for, it’s easier to start your dream café.


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