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How Much Does It Cost to Open a Cat Cafe?

Cat Cafe Business

There is no stated amount required to open a cat café business in the United States. As a matter of fact, you can open a cat café business with as little as $120,000 from one location and grow the business to have multiple locations. The bottom line is that you can work with whatever budget you have as long as it covers the basic expenditures.

In as much as you can work with any amount you have and still open a cat café business, it is important to note that there are certain important factors that can determine the amount it will cost you to successfully open a cat café business, and that is what we will discuss in this article.

Factors That Determine the Cost of Opening a Cat Café

  1. The Location You Want to Start the Business

You will agree that when it comes to starting any business, your choice of location will to a large extent affect the overall cost of opening the business.

If you plan to open your cat café in a metropolitan city, you should expect to spend more money on renting or leasing a facility, and also on other factors such as licensing and permits, tax, utilities, et al.

But if you choose to open your cat café in a conservative city or somewhere that is on the outskirts of a major city, you are likely going to spend less on rent or lease.

  1. Your Choice of Design and Layout

The concept behind the cat café model is to create a relaxing atmosphere where customers can enjoy a cup of coffee or tea while interacting with resident cats, hence you should be ready to spend more to get the best design and layout for your cat café.

The best design and layout for a cat café should prioritize relaxation and customer convenience. The layout should feature a well-organized menu board with high visibility, easy-to-read options, and easy access to cats. In addition, landscaping and exterior aesthetics should be inviting.

  1. The Cost of Equipping Your Cat Café Business

If you want to start a standard cat café business, you are required to rent or lease a restaurant or bar facility with ample space to allow cats to play around, and for your customers to relax, have their coffee, and interact with the cats.

Apart from that, you are expected to install all the needed equipment, electronics, and furniture that will help you serve your customers.

So, basically, you should make plans to purchase coffee and tea brewing equipment, espresso machines, refrigeration units, food preparation equipment, dishwashing equipment, commercial coffee grinder, cash register or point of sale system,

Tables and chairs, cat furniture and supplies, cat litter boxes, cat food, and water bowls, cleaning supplies, kitchen utensils and cookware, food display cases, merchandise display shelves, soundproofing materials, etc.

Trust me, all these items especially as it relates to the type, quantity, and brand you settle for will greatly influence the overall cost of starting your cat café business.

  1. The Number of Staff You Want to Recruit

If you plan to open a standard cat café, then you should make plans to recruit a cafe manager, cat caretaker, barista, cashier, chef or cook, waitstaff, marketing coordinator, social media manager, veterinarian or vet technician, and customer service representative. As expected, the budget for recruiting and training your employees is going to be a significant portion of your budget.

  1. The Cost of Obtaining the Needed Licenses and Permits

Interestingly, this cost may vary across different states and jurisdictions in the United States. The fact that different states require different types of licenses and permits means that your budget will be determined by the state you want to start your cat café business.

As expected, you should budget for business license, food service license, animal care permit, health department permit, zoning and land use permit, retail sales permit, signage permit, fire department permit,

Building permit (if renovating or constructing a new space), alcohol beverage license (if serving alcoholic beverages), music and entertainment license (if offering live music or entertainment),

Special events permit (for certain promotions or events) and Employee Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS (for tax purposes) amongst others.

  1. Your Ongoing Expenses

Any entrepreneur who wants to open a cat café business should have a budget for rent or lease payments, employee salaries and benefits, cat care costs, veterinary care for cats, cost of goods sold (COGS), utilities (electricity, water, gas),

Inventory restocking, equipment maintenance and repairs, cleaning and sanitization supplies, waste disposal fees, insurance premiums, credit card processing fees, and licensing and permit renewals.

Trust me, the amount you are expected to budget for all the listed items is going to be a significant portion of your budget and it will indeed influence how much it will cost you to open your cat café business.

  1. The Cost of Supplies

You will need supplies to get started hence it should be part of what you should budget for as part of your startup capital.

So, be ready to spend on supplies such as cats, cat food and milk, coffee beans, espresso grounds, milk and dairy products, syrups and flavorings, disposable cups, cup lids, stirrers or straws, napkins, coffee filters, baking ingredients (if offering pastries), cleaning supplies, to-go bags or carriers, condiment packets (sugar, creamer, etc.),

Paper towels, hand sanitizer, trash bags, receipt paper for POS system, maintenance tools (e.g., wrenches, screwdrivers), first aid supplies, and office supplies (e.g., pens, notepads).

  1. Miscellaneous Expenses

Just like your ongoing expenditure, the amount you are expected to spend for your miscellaneous expenses is unique to you and the type of business model you want to operate.

Although there is no one mold fits all when it comes to miscellaneous expenses, but an entrepreneur may decide to include the cost of hiring and paying a business consultant and attorney,

The cost of branding, promotion, and marketing of the cat café business, the cost for logistics, the cost of the purchase and customizing of uniforms, and the cost for the grand opening of the cat café business as part of your miscellaneous expenses.