Business

Building a shipping container café

shipping container

Looking to get into the hospitality industry with a café is an exciting prospect – you get the opportunity to make amazing coffee every day, meet amazing people, make and sell tasty food and flaunt your social skills. Buying into a café business can be a pricey affair, however, especially if you’re looking to buy into a previously successful example of one. Developing a shipping container café may instead be a good thing to pursue – you get the freedom of planting your café in unexpected location, can fit it out however you like, and have only a small space in which to manage. There are a few other things to consider before you develop your new café, though – read on to learn more.

Designing your shipping container café

After securing your shipping container – perhaps you spent days researching 20ft shipping container prices – you can start thinking about the design itself. If you’re looking to save a lot of money in the building and design process, it’s unlikely you would have reached out to highly experienced design firms. Because of this, if all goes well, you’ll only need to consider the costs for materials and labour (except your own, of course). If you are going at it alone, planning your project in excruciating detail is compulsory, as skipping over things in this step will cost you in the future. You’ll need to consider things like design plans, all relevant documentation, the (many) inclusions and exclusions, the standard of finish, the space of work areas (and how you and others can effectively perform in these spaces) and the requirements of the builder. Next, it’s time to consider what you’re going to fill your new space with. This should include all the fun things that make coffee (as well as all of the other important hospitality things). These will include your coffee machine, grinder, fridge/s, freezer, microwave, oven and all of the accessories that go with it. Once you know this, you’ll have a better idea about space and power requirements.

Properly finishing your new café

With the bare essentials covered, it’s now your job to work out what your shipping container café is going to look like. How you choose to design your café will determine the crowd you draw, so make sure to consider every little detail carefully. The first step in doing this is to do your research – find what works, not only in your city, but in shipping container cafes around the world. For local cafes, you may be even able to speak to the owner if you pop your head in. Whatever you do, don’t copy anyone else – the success of your café will come from your own interests and design likes, and this is what you should be known for. How to approach this can be a bit complicated, as we’re not just talking about the exterior of the shipping container. You have to consider things like cabinets, walls, countertops and signage.

Make your café dream a reality

Creating your own custom café out of a shipping container is a very exciting prospect for business – just make sure to keep in mind things like cost, longevity of materials, developing your brand and not making your space too complicated (as it becomes a nightmare to clean, otherwise). Considering these things and a hefty dose of your own research should have you well on the way to planning your very own dream café!

Amy Virgilio
Amy Virgilio is passionate about bringing new ideas and creativity through writing.

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