Animal cafes, such as dog and cat cafes, are typical in some countries like Japan and South Korea and have become increasingly popular in the United States and Europe in the past years. If you have ever thought of having your own dog cafe, then this may be the sign. Keep on reading as we’ll show you the steps on how to open a dog cafe and why you should have one.
Reasons Why You Should Open a Dog Cafe
Opening your own cafe is challenging and more complicated than an ordinary restaurant. This is because there are plenty of things that you need to think and consider. For example, you will have to maintain food safety, hygiene standards, and a hundred other things since pets will be inside the cafe. However, the idea of having a dog cafe is great and certainly not impossible to achieve. There will be difficulties, yes, but the advantages can be all worth it. Learning how to open a dog cafe is the first thing that you should do. But as long as you have the passion for it then you have to do it right away. Here are some of the reasons why you should go for it:
- There is a huge market – having furry friends, especially dogs, is very common among younger generations. Some studies show that the number of people owning dogs is growing, and in most cases, they want to bring their pets with them when eating out.
- It can draw customers – even for those who do not have dogs, having dogs in restaurants alone is an excellent way to attract customers. Also, some people who want to have dogs but do not have enough time or space at home can have the chance to interact with the dogs in the cafe.
- It can help rescues find their homes – several dog cafes partner with local shelters for dogs. Through this, customers can opt to adopt dogs or dogs from your cafe looking for a fur-ever home as they will have more chances to interact with people.
- It helps lower blood pressure – studies have shown that pets, like dogs, help relieve stress and lower blood pressure. Your dog cafe will not just be a place for food and fun. It will also be a great place for people to relax.
- A great place for pet education – a dog cafe is certainly a perfect place for vets and pet trainers to conduct lectures or seminars about dog ownership for everyone in the community, such as the importance of spay/neuter. It could also be a place to do fundraising events for local animal shelters.
Steps on How to Open a Dog Cafe
Now that you have learned the reasons as to why you should open a dog cafe, the next thing to do is to learn how to open a dog cafe.
- Make a business plan – like most things, especially business, the first thing to do is create a plan. Your dog cafe business plan must include everything from choosing a location, renting or acquiring a place for your cafe, legal documents, and more. There are also several websites to learn and select a business model to use for your dog cafe. If you have friends or know anyone who runs a similar business, you can also ask them for some tips and seek guidance. List all things you want and need and carefully devise a plan.
- Location – this is one important aspect when planning to open a dog cafe. You need to consider some vital elements, like accessibility, parking, space, etc. Choosing a location is crucial as it could significantly affect your business. Make sure you secure a place that is accessible, has enough space for customers, pets, parking, and the crowd in the area that has the potential to be your customers in the future.
- Learn about local laws and regulations – every city or town has different rules for businesses, including dog cafe regulations. Ensure that you do enough research about your preferred city or town regulations, as they will tremendously affect your business.
- Choose a “Model of Operation” for your dog cafe – there are several operation models to choose from. Some cafes pay a cover charge for a specific time, say 30 minutes or one hour, and get complimentary drinks or snacks. Others have a refundable entrance fee if customers buy food and drinks or adopt a dog.
- Menu and pricing – in this step, you have to determine the kinds of foods and drinks you will serve, figure out what would be your shop’s specialty, and of course, the prices. Make your menu interesting to attract more customers by offering exciting deals and promos. You may also create discounts at certain times of the day or during special events or holidays to lure people.
- Decide Your Dog Cafe’s Name – this part of the planning seems to be the most exciting since the name you will pick will be the name that will be used and remembered. Make sure that your dog cafe is unique, easy to remember and pronounce, short, and should sound dog-friendly.
- Get Insurance – your dog cafe is an investment, and like any other investment, purchasing insurance coverage is a need. This ensures that you, your staff, your customers, and your pets are well protected if some issues or problems arise.
- Create A Website – this is one way to market and introduce your dog cafe to potential customers. Your website must be visually and graphically appealing as this website is where future customers will check about your dog cafe. Those people who have visited the dog cafe will also leave comments and reviews about your place.
- Hire Your Staff/Employees – a dog cafe needs plenty of people, so it is crucial to have enough staff to help you before, during, and after operation hours. You will need chefs, waiters, cashiers, janitors, and more. You also have to make sure that you hire people who are comfortable with dogs while working and not allergic to dogs. Once you have your employees, you need to make sure that they follow minimum health protocol when operating a cafe around dogs, such as washing their hands if they have contact with the dogs and limiting their physical contact with the pets when handling food.
Other Tips on How To Open A Dog Cafe
- Have a pet-free food preparation room – dogs are cute, but they shouldn’t be around your kitchen as no customer would want to have a dog’s hair in their food or beverages. Also, have an exclusive place where customers can pet the dogs that are separate from dining customers.
- Partner with local animal shelters – your dog cafe can also double as a dog adoption cafe, which can become more attractive to customers. This is one way to help animal rescues find good homes. It is also an excellent way to help people who are looking for loyal furry friends and companions.
- Handle your social media, and official dog cafe website – your social media pages and website is a great way to lure people to visit your cafe. Make sure that your website and social media page is appealing. Also, make sure that you respond to queries. There is a high probability that you’ll lose plenty of potential customers if you are not actively interacting with them online.
A dog cafe is certainly a good and unique theme for your business. It will not only give a chance for people to dine and enjoy good food, but it is also a great way to relax and enjoy time with our four-legged friends. And since you have learned how to open a dog cafe, taking the first step wouldn’t be too difficult anymore.