Thinking of buying a cafe in Blackpool?
If there’s one thing Blackpool isn’t short of, it’s cafes. Buying a café in Blackpool is a demanding life changing job. When you’re ready to take your idea of buying a café in Blackpool a step further, there’s a few things you need to consider as a priority
- Location – the very first thing to think about. Would you prefer to cater for Blackpool’s tourist industry? Although seasonal and very overcrowded with competition, the right café in the right place can produce enough income to see you through the winter. How about an area where there is a mix of residential and tourism, such as Gynn Square or South Shore. Perhaps an inland location in a residential shopping area such as Bispham or Layton – or even a unit on an industrial estate.
- Competition – even in mixed residential and tourist areas, there are lots of cafes within a concentrated area. Waterloo Road/ Lytham Rd for instance – six cafes, a Subway where customers can sit in and a chippy with seats. Station Road, near Blackpool Pleasure Beach – three cafes, one Subway and a seated chippy. There’s lots of competition for the tourist pounds.
- ‘Real’ customers – whilst you’re checking out potential businesses and rivals, it’s worth having a look if a café which looks busy is actually taking money over the counter. There is one particular place which always stirs up a conversation between myself and a friend who runs a café in the town centre. We are amazed that it makes a profit due to what my friend calls the ‘One Pot Wonders’, a term used to describe a group of ‘customers’ who buy a pot of tea between them (cost less than £2) and take up an outside dining area for several hours, thus deterring other customers as there is nowhere for them to sit. Recently, these One Pot Wonders had the nerve to nip over to the bakery and purchase a couple of pies to scoff whilst they enjoyed their very leisurely brew. How would you deal with this if you bought a café which had a regular group of ‘One Pot Wonders’? Personally, I would be tempted to stick a ‘reserved for diners’ sign on their table for a few weeks to encourage them to go elsewhere
- Current service and menu – when buying an existing business with an established clientele, you would be ill advised to start changing what is already in place. In order to retain customers you may need to keep everything as the previous owners had – such as menu, service etc. This is where you need to examine your personal skills – if the café you are interested in has a great location, décor, layout and turnover could you retain their regular customers if they served full cooked to order meals when you were thinking of offering an all day breakfast and burger type of menu
You could also think about buying/leasing an empty premises and starting a cafe from scratch. This is a very different route to take, which will we will detail in a later post.