Four questions to ask before opening a church cafÉ


Has someone in your committee raised the idea of opening a church café? Excellent! But don't start stocking up on coffee beans yet: Here are four important questions to ask before opening a church café.

What kind of Café will it be?
There’s more than one 'type' of Church café, with varying degrees of 'commercial' or 'casual' working for different communities. If you have a decent kitchen, it is fairly simple to set up a congregation-only café, serving teas, coffees and cakes a few times a week. Many churches offer this type of thing for free after Sunday service, but some choose to open a few times a week, to raise funds for the church or simply to serve the community’s needs.

At the other end of the scale is a full commercial kitchen operating from the church or an attached building. A brilliant way to bring life and energy to your church, it can be a great way to expand your congregation.

Then there are myriad options in between: a part time café managed by a professional and manned by volunteers, a weekday café run solely by the committee…deciding on what is right for you hinges on this next important question.

What does your community want (or need)?
You may want to start an all signing, all dancing commercial café, and that might be the best option for you. However, it's important to think first about what is needed in your area. If you’re in a small suburban village already filled with coffee shops and cafes, is another place to buy a skinny latte what people need? Or is a nice, quiet place for elderly citizens to get together and enjoy an affordable afternoon tea better suited in light of the competition – and your congregation? Maybe there’s nowhere for mums to gather with small babies in pushchairs. Just take a moment to think about what will work for your church; ask your committee, ask the congregation and ask local residents.

What is your church able to manage?
Even if your community are desperate for a place with nice comfy sofas and would bite your arm off for a decent flat white, don't forget to think carefully about what your church can manage to take on: financially and physically.

Who will manage the project?
Think carefully about who will be managing the café, not only while setting up but once it’s up and running. The novelty of running such a demanding project can quickly wear off once other church/work/life duties start to pile on the pressure, so make sure that you have a solid plan to keep the café up and running once the excitement has settled.


One thing is for certain: a café needs a kitchen. If you’re looking to branch out and open a café in your church, a Steelplan Kitchen is the perfect blend of commercial quality and domestic look and feel. We've supplied kitchens to scores of churches across the country: to find out how we could help you call us on 0844 809 9186.


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