How to Start an Internet Café

In the United States, there are few Internet cafes that survive in the form of a café strictly for using the Web. The business model is still viable, but it requires a lot of thought to figure out how to make a Web café work in a world where Wi-Fi is free at almost every traditional café. If you are considering starting an Internet Café, you will need to design everything you do around your customer base.

Create a Plan

Every business needs a solid plan, and an Internet café is no different. You need to do some research on your local area, to determine if there is optimal demand for a service like yours. It’s also a good time to hammer out the specifics of how you plan to charge customers for your service, and how you plan to get new business in the door. Some operations may want to get ever more specific, like planning the management structure of the company or discussing details on the layout of the café.

A business plan is especially important if you plan to seek funding for your company. Investors will want to see that you have some roadmap that leads to revenue gains, with a concrete plan to scale the business.

Quality of Service

Any network café requires good Internet service if it wants to stay competitive. There is a tendancy for startups to skimp on quality Web service to save money overall. This is usually a mistake, because will expect good speeds to do their work or play games. Too many people on the network can drag you down quickly. Research providers in your area, and carefully choose the one that will provide the bandwidth that you need.

Networking Setup

Depending on the amount of computers you want to set up, you may need a precise network configuration. This needs to be factored into how you will layout your café, because you need ample space to make the connection, with any connecting routers in between. You will need a local server that all of your computers, and your point of sale devices will run on. You may also want to provide Wi-Fi, which would require additional equipment with a strong signal range.

Other Amenities

It’s a good idea to consider some other amenities that you can use to upsell clients and keep them staying longer at your café. Sweepstakes games can be effective at bringing repeat business, because customers will want more chances to win whatever prize you’re offering. Some cafes also have consoles, or host gaming tournaments to bring in extra business. Choose a promotion that fits the target market you plan to sell to, and your café will be off to a great start.