A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Open a Café in the USA

A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Open a Café in the USA

Opening a café someday can be a common dream of many people. And those who enjoy food and the ambiance it creates may find it especially rewarding. However, starting up a new café from scratch is no small endeavor. Apart from the significant initial investment, it also includes the right planning and long hours of work. In this post, we will guide you on how to open a cafe in the USA as well as the legal aspects involved in it. So, let’s begin.

How to Open a Cafe in the USA?

Starting a coffee shop is a great and fun way to make a living. However, the process is easier said than done. Setting up a café means entering into a highly competitive space. And the only way to launch a thriving business is by ensuring you move ahead with the right plan.

open a cafe in the usa

Below we will look at the different steps involved in the process of starting a café in the USA.

1. Research the coffee business

Opening a café requires a huge investment, both in terms of money and effort. So before stepping foot in the industry, it is essential to understand what it takes to run a good café. It is advisable to reach out to business owners in the café industry and learn from their experience.

Interacting with them can help to identify what works out and what does not. And just like any other business, it is crucial to understand your customer base before company incorporation. Identify their needs, preferences, likings, etc. to create a suitable menu and match your potential customer’s price point.

2. Create a detailed business plan

This is one of the most significant steps on how to open a cafe in the USA. Creating a detailed business plan document helps you understand the local market, the competition, as well as the numbers you need to make it successful. This plan will serve as a roadmap throughout the different steps in setting and managing a café.

Essentially, a good business plan includes:

  • A summary
  • An analysis of the local market
  • Information about the business team
  • A detailed marketing plan
  • Financial projections
  • A location and lease strategy

3. Select your café’s name and legal structure

Before any company registration in the USA, you need to decide on an appropriate name and structure. If you wish to use a unique name for your café, you can file a DBA, i.e. “doing business as” name with your state’s agency to protect the name from getting used anywhere else.

how to open a cafe in the usa

There are many more things to consider when thinking about how to open a cafe in the USA.

Additionally, you need to finalize a structure for your business as that will impact how you file the federal and state business taxes. It is also a good idea to hire a professional attorney who can help you choose from the most common business entities, such as sole proprietorship, partnership, C-corporation, S corporation, and LLC.

4. Get a tax identification number

The next step on how to open a cafe in the USA is getting a tax identification number. Also known as an employer identification number or EIN, it enables the IRS to keep a track of your business for tax purposes.

If you wish to hire employees for your café, such as waiting for staff, chef, dishwashers, etc. you need this number. Also, EIN becomes mandatory if your company registration has been done as a corporation or partnership.

5. Secure the necessary permits and licenses

When it comes to the food industry, there is always an added degree of responsibility towards your customers. So, make sure to fully understand the food service regulations in your state before setting up the café.

Additionally, you will have to obtain several permits and licenses, such as health department permits, health code licenses, food licenses, and more. Lastly, you must also apply for some kind of business insurance for your café.

6. Find a small business funding

Opening a café in the USA will entail several costs, including the cost of location, renovation, suppliers, employment, and marketing. And thus, you may require a business loan to cover the costs.

how to open a cafe in the usa

Depending on your requirements, you may choose from business loans, business lines of credit, equipment financing, or startup funding.


This guide on how to open a cafe in the USA will help you understand the major steps involved in the process and offer a jumping-off point. With these steps, you can quickly get to begin working on your dream and establish a flourishing coffee shop business.

We are Ready to Help You

You may need assistance with the following issues during the establishment of your business, the running of business operations, or the stages of closing your business.

Expert lawyers and professional consultancy save you time and money at these stages. We are always ready to help you.

 To start and run your business in the USA, you need a lot of documentation to be prepared. When you need business licenses and permits, we can help you. You cannot be an expert in every subject you need. An expert consulting firm you can trust will save you time and money.

Comprised of experienced business attorneys, marketing experts, and business advisors, Liberty Business has the answers to any questions or needs a blossoming business may have.

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