advice for starting a cyber cafe'?

zozo
Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
some mates 'n I are thinking of a small investment to make a cyber cafe'.



To be honest, I'm not 100% sure I want to do this because, lets face it, I havent seen a single cyber cafe' that makes good money.



There are various floating ideas amongst us and the main idea is to have about 20-30 pcs of which at least half are mid/high-spec rigs for gaming. The rest are for more recreational computer use like internet, word processing, chatting, etc etc.



I guess there would be some food (if the licenses dont get too complicated or expensive).



Anyway, if anyone has advice or experience, bring it on!



Thanks!

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 8
    fran441fran441 Posts: 3,715member
    Don't do anything without a sound business model. You've already posted that you've never seen a cyber cafe that makes 'good money'. What's going to be the draw to make your cyber cafe different?



    If you're going to serve food and drinks, figure out where people are going to eat and drink. Having people brink a soda over to a PC doesn't strike me as the best idea.



    You need to figure out what the initial investment is going to be to get the business off the ground. 30 PCs aren't exactly cheap, especially when 15 of them are going to be gaming rigs. Don't forget to include hubs, routers, wireless, etc. depending on what you want to do. Printers, software, etc. is also going to be an upfront cost. You are also probably going to have to put down a hefty deposit to the landlord for the building you are going to lease/rent. The ISP you choose (will probably have to be at least a T1 for this type of operation) might require some kind of deposit up front as well.



    So once you and your friends make the initial investment and get things off the ground, you need to figure out exactly how you are going to make money. If you charge too little, you might not be able to keep up with monthly bills (rent, electricity, internet access, utilities, etc.). If you charge too much, you might not have any customers.



    Something you might want to do is have Instructional courses on General PC knowledge, the internet, Office, etc. You might also have instructional courses on how to use a digital camera or camcorder with iMovie, iPhoto, etc. There are always people that want to learn about computers and will pay to have people teach them. Classes during the day might help get people into the internet cafe when 'gamers' are at school.



    Good luck with whatever you decide. It sounds like a very interesting idea and I hope you can make some money with it.
  • Reply 2 of 8
    just make sure you use mac's. maybe have a few pc's for people not smart enough to use OS X, but hey they need to see the brighter side sometime.

    also, make sure your cafe is a place where teens/early adults can hang out after school. and if youre up for it, stay open til 3am on friday and saturday nights. i promise you'll do great business with the younger crowd.
  • Reply 3 of 8
    ZO, post your question here:



    http://episteme.arstechnica.com/eve/...f=599009962631



    If you're not already a member, register. You'll have a larger member base to take suggestions from, although not all Mac friendly...



    Good luck.
  • Reply 4 of 8
    I'll echo Fran's advice... do your homework. Seriously.



    Hang out in half a dozen cyber cafes at varying times and take a few free lessons in how the competitors succeed or fail. Collect price lists, menus, and advertising. Check the versions of installed software, licenses, and setups to see what people are using and what they bitch about. Talk to their customers outside the shop (inside if they'll let you conduct a "market research survey").



    I've worked in a cybercafe (back in 97 or so) which didn't do that kind of homework and died. I've watched another half dozen or so struggle, shift focus from net cafe to gaming rented by the night (lock-in parties, at first on PCs, then consoles, then both) to 'kinkos-clones' and back to net cafes again.



    Most were money pits until the owners got their poop in a group and figured out the market and the math, or went out of business because they couldn't.



    If you expect to survive on exchange students checking email, you'd better be located amidst a bunch of ESL schools and far enough away from the public library's free terminals... ditto students... too close to a campus dorm with fat university pipe and you can forget getting that gaming market unless you offer something they can't get.



    Research now will potentially save grey hair, stomach lining, and $$$ later.
  • Reply 5 of 8
    placeboplacebo Posts: 5,767member
    Making a successful cyber café depends on you acknowledging the fact that only tourists and other out of towners will be using it, because nearly everybody has a fast internet connection at home these days.
  • Reply 6 of 8
    zozo Posts: 3,115member
    thanks for all the advice.



    We had a brainstorming meeting yesterday night to actually see what everyone's expectations were/are and I think we have to re-evaluate what we want.



    One is a total tech head, the other is the more entraprenurial, the other the "art" guy with some tech, and me and another who are business people but generalists. One wanted a pure gaming cafe', another wanted a lounge + gaming + wifi +internet + ..., another wanted student hangout plus gaming and wifi, etc etc. Was a mess of ideas. Still, good brainstorming.



    All we really came to the conclusion of is that we want to invest into SOMETHING that would be worthwhile at least one of us quitting their job for to follow full time. And the cyber cafe' just didnt get us going enough to make this commitment. And there is no way you can have other people manage a cyber cafe'/hang out. It will go to crap in weeks.



    So, any other suggestions for what a group of guys may want to invest in?



    We also thought of simple (boring) real estate, bonds, stripper bar (that came up a lot), and the tech guy wanted to make a cash and carry store (which we just kept saying "no" to)
  • Reply 7 of 8
    placeboplacebo Posts: 5,767member
    WiFi is a must.
  • Reply 8 of 8
    Quote:

    Originally posted by ZO

    thanks for all the advice.



    We had a brainstorming meeting yesterday night to actually see what everyone's expectations were/are and I think we have to re-evaluate what we want.



    So, any other suggestions for what a group of guys may want to invest in?



    We also thought of simple (boring) real estate, bonds, stripper bar (that came up a lot), and the tech guy wanted to make a cash and carry store (which we just kept saying "no" to)




    Start an Internet Porn Site. Or a Church (tax free). Or both combined.
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