Buying Guides

Introduction To Buying a Café Business

Buying a Business Guide Image

With café culture in the UK showing no signs of waning, cafes continue to be a popular choice for many people looking to buy a business. In fact many people that previously might have considered becoming a pub landlord, now look to cafes for sale as Britain ditches the pint in favour of the cappuccino. Indeed cafes can actually incorporate elements of a tearoom, coffee shop, bar, restaurant and pub within the same business. This is one of the great benefits that attracts first time buyers to the café industry. You can shape the business in many ways to suit your vision and your goals.

And despite the presence of the big three chain of coffee shop – Costa, Starbucks and Café Nero - on most high streets, more and more consumers are opting to support the local café with people enjoying the feeling of helping out their local community.

So the prospects of buying a café are looking good, we take a look at how you can get into the market by buying your own café.

Does a café business suit you?

Café owners come from all types of backgrounds. From retirees and rat race escapees to experienced catering professionals. There are no real qualifications or previous experience required – although it does help.

Generally though you should be good with people, be willing to work long hours when necessary and know your way round a kitchen to be able to help out with food preparation. You should also be invested in creating an environment where people choose to come and socialise, meet or escape on a frequent basis. Independent cafes live and die by their ability to become a cornerstone of the local community, in much the same manner a pub or working club would have done in previous generations.

If you are more introverted, don’t worry. You can assume the role of barista or more back of house and instead employ somebody that is great communicator to be front of house.

Dependant on whether the café has management in place or not, a café can be extremely flexible in terms of the hours you work or completely dependent on you to run the business.

Good organisation skills are beneficial as a café owner as you will have to organise the process of making of drinks, food, organise supplies, order sheets and accounts.

Fortunately as you are looking to buy an existing café business, a lot of this is already taken care of and it will simply be a case of taking the existing processes and improving upon them as you see fit.

What to look for when searching for a café opportunity

You can start your search by going straight to our cafés for sale search page and refine your search from there. Below we’ve put together a list of important aspects to consider when you’re analysing the opportunity.

Consider the following when assessing the business:

Location, location, location

  • Footfall (passing trade) of a café is one of the keys to its future success
  • Are there many local businesses that will attract customers?
  • Is there parking around the business?


  • How many cafes are in the area?
  • Are there many similar independent cafes?
  • Are there any major price differences with the competition?

According café industry expert Craig Reid “competition is not always bad! Enough cafés or restaurants in the one area can create an “eat street” which attracts passionate food lovers in droves.”

Reviewing the café

It’s a good idea to do a mystery shop on any café that attracts you, looking out for the following:

  • First and foremost, is the café busy?
  • What is the service like? Do you feel like a valued customer?
  • Are the staff friendly, motivated and happy?
  • Does the café have an interesting menu?
  • Look at what other customers are ordering.
  • Is the quality of the product good?


For further advice on buying a cafe business speak to our expert John Crayford on 0800 612 7718 or email If you are looking to secure funding for a potential business purchase get in touch to discuss how our finance partners could help you.