Coming soon: a book about people who start cafes as a second career

The dream of cafe ownership is seductive and compelling. Owning a cafe will be like hosting a permanent coffee catch-up with friends: an environment that encourages people to linger; fresh coffee, made just right; perfect food, crafted with care; just the right balance of tradition and innovation.

Cafe success or failure seems near-impossible to predict. Some cafe newbies establish successful and profitable businesses, but others find themselves drowning in chaos and robbed of their savings, health and relationships. While pre-planning, industry experience and access to capital are all helpful, there’s no good evidence they’re determinants of success. If there’s a magic ingredient, it remains elusive. Yet every cafe newbie thinks they’ve got what it takes. There’s a cafe on every street corner and they’re all busy. How hard can it be?

This is a book for cafe dreamers. It explores Australia’s love affair with independent cafes and the cafe’s lure as a career move. It profiles 10 Australian cafe newbies who share their successes, failures, mistakes and experiences. It concludes with their lessons and advice: 10 top tips for cafe newbies and cafe dreamers. It’s the book I wish I’d had in 2016, before I opened The Letter Lounge Cafe & Gifts.