Coffee training quiz
January 8, 2019

Adding alcohol to your cafe

The coffee shop & cafe scene continue to evolve year on year and keeping pace is a necessity. In Europe at your average cafe you can have a great coffee or a nice glass of wine and that is normal.

In the UK it’s not yet the norm for a cafe or coffee shop to have an alcohol license but it is changing. 

Why have an alcohol license?

An alcohol license has the potential for you to increase your drink sales over the course of the day driving revenue. But the real opportunity with an alcohol license is pushing your opening hours i.e evenings, allowing you to increase your revenue and get a better ratio against your fixed costs (rent, rates etc). 

The cost of an alcohol license?

An alcohol premise license is a planning permission activity and could be done yourself for low cost. The reality is that unless you are an expert at dealing with your local planning office you probably want to hire someone to complete the application for you. Typical costs for the application process are £1,000 – £1,500, this should include any plans of the premises that will be required to be submitted with the application. You will also need someone with a personal license to be associated with the premise.

Staff & an alcohol license

Some of your staff may have come from working in an environment where alcohol was the normal. However, lots may have never worked in this environment or moved to a coffee shop, cafe environment to escape it. Alcohol means two things usually, later, unsociable working hours and drunk people.

Staff leave pubs, restaurants because they don’t want to work until 11-12pm every night.

Drunk people are a real issue and just a side affect of having an alcohol license. Over the last few years we have had a number of difficult drunk customers that our staff have had to handle. It’s an experience and skill many of your staff will not have. Some of your staff will leave because they don’t want to be out in this situation.

You may need to consider having new/different staff to work during your peak alcohol times. 

Alcohol stock management

Alcohol typically has a good shelf life which should reduce wastage issues but do think about the way you sell things I.e maybe don’t sell wine by the glass but by the bottle to reduce the risk of wasting bottles that had just one or two glasses sold. Stock control with alcohol is just as important as your normal stock checks because it’s expensive stuff and quickly adds up to £100’s of pounds sat in stock. 

Cafe Alcohol Summary

If you can crack the evening trade then you are on route to doubling your weekly revenue which if the costs are controlled should have a significant kick to your profitability. 

Be very conscious of the impact on staff as this should not be underestimated.

Driving evening trade is harder than you think because in the UK their is still a very clear culture that the pub is for drinking in the evenings and cafe’s are for eating and drinking in the day time. Our culture is becoming more European but it is happening slowly, London has it but outside of London it is still a difficult sell. 

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