Advice needed for setting up internet cafe

  MikeSA 18:57 02 Apr 2013

I intend setting up an internet café and would appreciate any advice. What computer specs would be ideal and what pitfalls to avoid? Am I correct that low-spec machines would suffice as customers would only be browsing and not wanting to play high-end games. Is there software available specifically for internet cafes would it be imperative to install Windows 8 on all the machines or would I get by simply with Windows XP or an open source operating system?

  Forum Editor 19:23 02 Apr 2013

Don't assume that customers will not want to play games. Consider the market, do some research in your chosen area, and find out what other operators are offering.

There are many Internet café management applications this is just one of the available options

Most new computers will come with Windows 7 or Windows 8 preinstalled - don't consider Windows XP.

  wee eddie 22:27 02 Apr 2013

I hate to tell you this but with the advent of Smart-phones and Tablets, the day of the Internet Café has come to an end, unless you are in somewhere like Northern Australia, Nepal or Brazil, where Treckers need one to contact home.

Of course you may be the one business to buck the Trend, so bully for you and as FE suggests. Do your research.

Find out who would use your Service and, because they haven't a Smart-phone or Tablet, whether they have sufficient funds to visit your place on a regular basis. Also, how you would persuade them to buy other products other than time on a PC!

I don't want to dampen your enthusiasm but I ran my Café for 25 years. My lease ran out in March 2005. It has had 6 sets of Owners since then. The last set closed their doors at the end of November last. Their Bank did not have sufficient confidence in their abilities to let them trade over Christmas.

  wee eddie 22:45 02 Apr 2013

I have been ruminating: Remember the old adage ~ "Location, Location, Location".

That does not mean that you have to be in a prominent site on the High Street. It means that you have to be at a place where your Customers can get to you easily and have somewhere to leave their Transport that does not cost them an arm and a leg, preferably Free.

You can be in a Side Street if they have to walk through it to get from the Free Car Park and the Union Bar, or close to a Theatre that regularly hosts Concerts.

If you plan to employ Staff, remember to become 'au fait' with the regulations, before you employ them. Even unpaid/voluntary Staff are protected by the laws of the Land.

If you plan to sell food, or even just coffee, you will need to be inspected by the Local Authority and be aware of the regulations. Remember that they can lock your doors at any time if you fail to match up to their expectations.

  wee eddie 11:49 03 Apr 2013

As to the PCs you have available, surely they would not all be the same.

A group of basic machines for simple tasks would be essential.

Then you could charge a higher rate per minute/hour for High Spec Gaming Machines, even more if two or three were to be networked together for playing competitively.

At least one Mac would be essential.

A selection of Printers, both Laser and Inkjet, with access controlled by your staff, chosen mostly for quality of Output, with quietness at a premium to you.

  wee eddie 11:51 03 Apr 2013

When it comes to Funding.

You must have sufficient resources available to run for the first 6 months at below break-even.

  spuds 00:29 04 Apr 2013

Location and research are your main concerns at present, because either can bring rewards or failure.

Where I live, quite a number of people jumped on the internet cafe idea, but most have since gone out of business. One or two are still open, servicing their regular clients both with internet services as well as booze and food, as an extra sideline.

One even transferred from internet cafe to a government funded computer training centre. Their place is very open plan, and it always seems busy.

  Forum Editor 16:01 04 Apr 2013

"...with the advent of Smart-phones and Tablets, the day of the Internet Café has come to an end"

That's not true at all. I live and work in London, and I see dozens of them. One, a few miles from where I live, is packed every day. It isn't a café at all in the accepted meaning of the word, there are no refreshments on offer.

  wee eddie 16:53 04 Apr 2013

FE, I accept what you say. There must be a huge Metropolitan Clientele who need to need to access the net, outside their work environment.

On the Coffee+ thing, I was considering the development of additional, parallel income streams and some of the problems that might come with it.

  wee eddie 22:40 16 Apr 2013

MikeSA: How's the project going?

A little more from you about the projected "Customer Profile" might elicit responses from Members other than myself and FE.

Sorry, I'm known to have a bee in my bonnet about people starting up businesses without sufficient preparation ~ I did not mean to put you off the Project

  Sharm12 10:15 10 May 2013

Hi Mike SA, I'm a journalism student and I am currently looking at whether internet cafe's are still a viable business in 2013. How is the setting up going? Do you plan to be purely dependent on the internet cafe as income or specialise in other services too, ie other computer services or food and drink. I would really appreciate a response.

Also wee eddie you seem to be well informed on the matter, do you still see internet cafe's as sustainable if they are done well?


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