It’s about time International Cat Day approaches by the door. Now, it is surely a bustling time for cat lovers all over the world to prepare for their celebration of the occasion.
Meanwhile, the cat cafe is becoming a concept that has gradually taken the world by storm. A trend that creates an ideal destination for both cat lovers and coffee enthusiasts. This unique combination of feline companionship and cafe culture is expected to be a profitable and unique business opportunity, especially in the era of ecommerce. For you, as a merchant and also a cat lover, opening a cat cafe all while celebrating International Cat Day could be just the ticket.
You’ve found the right place. In today's blog post, we'll provide everything you need to know about this fun and profitable way to open your own cat cafe business – from step-by-step instructions to suggesting some expert tips for success. So, grab your favorite cat-themed cup of coffee, and let's get started!
Why Said Opening A Cat Cafe Is Lucrative Nowadays?
Have you ever heard of the cat cafe?
"Wait a minute," — you might be saying.
"A cat cafe? Does it actually have that kind of business?" Oh, it certainly does, and not just that, it’s becoming a huge concept all over the world nowadays.
So, what is the cat cafe concept actually?
Who can resist the overloaded cuteness of a small and furry creature? Just imagine a cozy, welcoming spot where people can sip their favorite latte, munch on a delicious cookie, and – the best part is yet to come – be around with a bunch of adorable cats. It's a purr-fect combination of joy for cat lovers, as a small escape from the hustle and bustle of life. So simple as that is.
But is it profitable?
Now, this question might run through your mind, "Sounds fun, but is it lucrative?"
Absolutely! According to a post, in the second half of the year, one new cat cafe was launched per week, in which the first 70% of new cat cafes in 2019 opened between July and December. You can see that period has both International Cat Day (8 August) and National Coffee Day (1 October), no need to mention more about how rational it is.
This idea first appeared in Taiwan in the late 1990s (1998) and has been spreading its attractiveness worldwide ever since. These numbers speak for themselves. According to a recent industry report, the global cat cafe market is expected to grow at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 6.1% from 2021 to 2028.
Another report about industry size also indicated that the US coffee and snack shop industry is worth $48.4 billion in 2022.
And as of 2023, 72,136 coffee and snack shops are running in the US only. The annual rate growth of it was 2.8% since 2017.
Moreover, the global market of this industry is expected to expand at an annual rate of 3.5% counting to 2027.
This is not just a trend anymore, it is showing its durability and potential to keep up with the business world.
There are several more reasons to step foot in this industry:
- Help you add another revenue stream while also keeping the hobby of playing and petting cats.
- Engage and connect with customers of the same interest in a more heartwarming and deep way.
- Have the chance to gain multiple avenues like merchandise, adoption fees, sponsors, and other services.
It's a business model that creates a community, forming strong bonds with customers that keep them coming back.
So, to include, is this idea worth the try? Definitely.
How To Start A Cat Cafe
Consider the trends and challenges the first thing
Before you decide to jump into the execution, being aware deeply of the trends and challenges that come with this business type is essential, to avoid mistakes, and unnecessary financial deficits, and to take better advantage of it. This means that you must stay up-to-date on the latest changes in both the pet care and cafe industries, ensuring the well-being of your feline residents, and meeting the unique needs of your customers.
Some latest trends revolving around this industry might be:
- Focus on rescuing and adopting wild, abandoned cats: Many cat cafes often partner with local animal shelters and rescues, turning their shop into a hub for the poor feline creatures. Asides, this can be the chance for their clients to bring home their fur-ever friend.
- Partner with nearby restaurants and food stores: This will make their cat cafe can take care of their customers with full service.
- Operate in a hybrid business model: While serving cafes onsite, cat coffee businesses can also leverage their physical spaces and digital platforms. They use online platforms to help their customers make reservations online, purchase merchandise, and even interact with the cats virtually through games on the website. They also update the latest promotions and events of the shop.
On the other side, the challenges within the cat cafe industry might include:
- Health Regulations: Balancing the needs of a food and drink establishment with those of place housing animals can be tricky. Health and safety regulations vary by region and can be quite strict, especially with animals around, there are tons of food hygiene problems. It's important to ensure that your cafe meets all local health codes.
- Animal Welfare: Ensuring the welfare of the cats is paramount. This means providing regular veterinary care, a healthy diet, and a safe, clean environment. In addition, it's important to manage the cats' stress levels, as having different people around all the time can be stressful for some cats.
- Some people view cat cafes as inhumane. While these businesses are often run by cat lovers who take great care of the animals, there are concerns about cats being exposed to loud children and constant touching.
Prepare your cat cafe business plan
A business plan can be considered the backbone of that business because everything will be built upon this plan. It will help you clearly orient what you need to do and want to achieve to have the most successful cat cafe.
When developing a business plan, you'll need to ask yourself a few questions, such as:
- What would you name your business?
- Who is your target market?
- How much can you charge customers?
- What are the business expenses for a cat cafe?
- Where will the cat cafe's income come from?
Set up space for your cat cafe
Choose legal structure
Determining the legal structure will affect your taxes and liabilities. Therefore, it is essential to choose wisely and most suitable.
You will need to register it as well as your business name with the Secretary of State in each state where you operate your business.
Here are the five most common legal structures for businesses today:
- Private enterprise
- Limited Liability Company (LLC)
- C Corporation
- S Corporation
Get the required business licenses and permits
In order for your cat's coffee to be legal, there are a few types of permits that you need to be aware of such as:
- Federal Business Licensing Requirements
- State and local business licensing requirements
- Certificate of Ownership
You need to research thoroughly the necessary licenses and documents before opening a cat cafe to avoid possible bad cases, mildly, you will be fined or worse, you will be banned from doing business.
Building a cat cafe community
With a business like a cat coffee, building a community between cat owners and the store is very important. It's a place to connect on a closer level between business and customers, as people who share a passion for this furry little creature. Having an active community will retain customers and help your cafe be promoted more widely.
To create a strong community, you can share cat-related content such as cute pictures, memes, cat knowledge, etc and encourage people to discuss the topic together.
Hosting events and promotions to attract customers
Organizing special events and promotions is necessary to generate additional revenue and boost cat cafe revenue. Good ideas for events and promotions will be suggested later in the article.
These activities will give customers a specific reason to come to your cafe shop. Furthermore, after experiencing your cat cafe, they will likely talk to family and friends and refer new potential customers to the store.
You can add social media links to custom receipts using Shopify's smart POS system.
Kickstart online platform
As already repeated so many times, the importance of an online presence in the age of ecommerce is key to increasing revenue for your cat cafe. You can use your website and social media platforms to spread the cat cafe more widely to your target audience, attract new customers, and drive traffic to your onsite store.
You can also use it to make it easier for old customers to make reservations, stay up-to-date on services and events, and most of all, adopt cats.
To kickstart these online platforms, you will need to prepare the following marketing materials:
- Logo: It will help increase the professionalism of the brand and the perception of customers about your cat coffee shop
- Website: Likewise, the look and feel of a cat cafe website will influence how customers perceive the shop.
- Social media accounts: Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, etc, will make it easier for customers and others to find and interact with your cat cafe, and It's also crucial for store marketing. Some of the suggested marketing activities are:
- Contests and giveaways
- Sponsored Events
- Video content about cats
- Paid advertising
- Influencer Marketing
Unique Cat Cafe Ideas To Make Your Business Remarkable
Cat adoption events
This wholesome idea is a top-notch option for every cat cafe. You can partner with local animal shelters to host adoption events with the objective of helping cats find their new homes while raising people’s awareness for animal welfare in general.
This idea can be promoted through social media, local newspapers, and the online community of your cafe. You will need to set a specific date and time, then create a welcoming environment for potential adopters. Remember to provide in advance all the information about the cats, including availability for adoption, their personalities, and any special needs they may have.
You can also offer discounts on cafe services or merchandise for attendees of the event. Make sure all adoption procedures are followed, including screening potential adopters and completing the necessary paperwork to avoid any illegal activities.
Cat movie nights
A cat movie screening is a great way to renew your customers’ experience. To host a cat movie night for your cat cafe, choose cat-themed movies that are all-age-appropriate and funny. Create the most cozy and comfortable atmosphere for your customers by arranging the seating area with small cushions and blankets. Serve extra drinks and snacks like a movie theater show to give your guests the best experience. Throughout the film, let attendees interact with the resident cats, creating a unique and memorable experience.
A themed room for a cat cafe is a space that is designed with everything that involves cats. It could be a cat library, cat garden, or art gallery with cat pictures. You need to choose a color palette that reflects the playful and cozy atmosphere and combine it with wall decals, or showing your adorable cat pictures. The shelves or climbing structures for your cat to explore and relax should allow the cats to be comfortable within the room.
You can also display books or magazines for visitors to enjoy while spending time with cats. These creative spaces will provide customers with a variety of experiences and keep the retention rate quite effective for your cafe.
Art workshop cat-themed
Another fun activity to attract new and loyal customers to your cat coffee shop is to organize a workshop. The workshop is where customers can do anything DIY about cats like pottery making, knitting, painting, etc. You must choose a unified theme for the workshop and prepare the materials. The workshop will include the introducing and guiding part so the attendees know the instructions.
Then, spare a defined amount of time for them to communicate freely their ideas on their finished products. This idea lets the customers not only have the space to be creative but also have a reward to bring home.
Real Hybrid Cat Cafe Examples For Your Inspiration
Cat Town Cafe (Oakland, US)
Cat Town Cafe is renowned as the first cat cafe in the United States. The cafe is partnered with the local animal shelter and focuses on adopting cats that are often overlooked in traditional shelter environments. Their online platform is instrumental in their adoption process, allowing potential adopters to view and apply for cats from the comfort of their homes. Their online store sells merchandise featuring their unique brand, helping to raise funds for their operations.
Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium (London, UK)
Lady Dinah's is a two-story wonderland for cat lovers. It offers high tea experiences and has created a unique, relaxing environment for both cats and visitors. Their online platform enables them to take reservations, sell gift vouchers, and offer merchandise featuring their brand. The emporium is also known for hosting special events like "mewvie" nights and cat yoga.
Crumbs & Whiskers (Los Angeles, California and Washington D.C. - US)
Crumbs & Whiskers provides a unique model where customers can reserve a 70-minute time slot to spend with the cats, all of which are available for adoption. Their online platform not only facilitates reservations and merchandise sales, but they also offer unique experiences like virtual kitten parties. They've found a creative way to keep their customer base engaged even when they're not physically present in the cafe.
Cat Cafe Melbourne (Australia)
This cafe provides a relaxed environment where customers can have the company of cats while sipping on a coffee. They work closely with rescue groups to foster cats and help them find their forever homes. Their online store is a key part of their business, selling a range of cat-related products and branded merchandise.
Le Café des Chats (Paris, France)
This French cafe is home to a number of resident cats, with a basic format where people can enjoy their coffee and pastry while cuddling with the cats. Their online platform is used for taking reservations, selling merchandise, and updating their audience about the resident cats' antics.
In the end, opening a cat cafe is a completely exciting and rewarding business idea that will create a unique heaven for catholics and coffee enjoyers like yourself. Still, be mindful that building a cat cafe requires careful business planning, from legal consideration to choosing the right idea. We hope that this article has helped you in the way to conquer this industry. So unleash your passion, embrace the opportunity wisely, and embark on this extraordinary entrepreneurial adventure!