Opening a cafe is an attractive concept for many aspiring business owners…

The social, creative, and financial aspects of café ownership can appeal to people in many stages of their lives from young entrepreneurs to semi-retirees. There are many details to consider during your planning stages, such as staff flow in your cafe’s kitchen. Fitting out your cafe’s prep and service areas is key to a successful business.

In this article, we provide you with a list of big and small details you will need to consider during those initial planning stages.

Consider these factors when mapping out the costs of your cafe:

  • The cafe concept (drive-through, sit-down dining, boutique takeaway etc.)
  • The cafe menu
  • The equipment you will need
  • The location (city, small town, beachside etc.)
  • The fit-out, build or remodel
  • The quality of stainless steel benches and appliances you prefer
  • The costs of labour
  • The legal and administrative costs, such as licensing and insurance
  • Branding and marketing
  • The furniture and design elements

Each cafe will have different priorities and costs based on the owner’s vision and the cafe’s purpose. However, some common influences over cost are generally unavoidable.

Read on for further insight into what to expect as a budding cafe owner…

Stainless Steel Sink on the making

No two cafes are the same

The cost of starting a cafe will be influenced by several factors, from the business concept to the menu and the design. Understanding the economics of what will go into your coffee shop is essential in making your vision come to life.

This includes the initial start-up costs, the fixed and variable costs, and the ongoing costs of running a business.

Planning the design of your cafe helps to begin with the basics, such as whether your cafe will be a drive-thru, the target market for your cafe, the type of equipment you will need, the branding choices, furniture, fixtures and more.

These costs can add up quickly, and without considering them, you could find yourself running out of funds for the essential things to get your cafe off the ground. Take time to evaluate your prep and cook space and learn how your kitchen size will impact the overall layout and design. The more you know and the better prepared you are, the better chance of success you will have in both the short and long term.

It all begins with the fit-out

Whether you’re planning a fully equipped dine-in cafe, a quick order drive-through or a boutique hole in the wall offering speciality coffee and simple baked goods, you must include a commercial kitchen fit-out in your budget.

If you don’t budget for a good fit out with the right materials, expert construction, a design that suits your style and the right tools for the job, you will be ultimately setting yourself up for failure.

Many new cafe owners begin with a space already licensed or used as a cafe. Some assume that a fit-out will not be needed in this case. However, the vast differences between cafe offerings and uses mean that fit-outs are often essential whether you’ve purchased a space to remodel or started from scratch.

Stainless Steel Hoods and Sinks

The fit-out costs of a cafe generally include:

  1. The size of the space
  2. The condition of the flooring, walls, ceilings, and structure
  3. The existing state and availability of materials, fittings, furniture, electrical and plumbing fixtures
  4. The desired quality and durability of the fit-out
  5. The target market and style of the cafe
  6. Whether you’re renovating or starting from scratch

Often, people get confused about what they need to plan for in their commercial space. While ‘renovation’ is commonly a residential matter, it can also apply to commercial spaces. A fit-out refers to converting a space, whereas renovation refers to renewing a pre-used space.

A fit-out is generally performed in a shell or ‘white box’ of a commercial building where the occupant needs to prepare the internal layout and servicing of the space to suit their needs as a business owner. This can include a customised design of fixtures, plumbing, flooring, stainless steel benches, range hoods, equipment and more.

A consultant or team of contractors is generally called upon to perform the fit-out to ensure efficiency, functionality, workflow, and workplace safety once the café is open for business.

Let’s talk brass tacks of fit-out costs

The costs of each fit-out vary greatly, with cafes ranging from upper-class establishments to quick stops for coffee on the side of the road.

Based on the above factors, fit-out costs are generally charged by the square metre, ranging between $1,800 and $3,400 per square metre. If you’re renovating the space completely, the price will be relative to the size, materials, and labour, much like it would be for a residential renovation. This can range between $80,000 to $250,000 for full-scale renovations.

The best way to determine the potential cost of your cafe fit-out or renovation is to partner up with experts in commercial fit-outs and renovations who have worked on cafés just like yours. As custom stainless steel fabricators, we have seen it all and can provide an exact guaranteed quote based on your vision, plans and purpose for your café.

When it comes to the stainless steel and ventilation needs of your cafe, we’ve got you covered. Providing high-quality workmanship to cafe owners for over 20 years, we have a personalised expertise in the industry that is hard to find elsewhere.


Martin Stainless offers complete commercial kitchen ventilation, custom stainless-steel fabrication, and distribution of some of Australia’s leading commercial kitchen cooking equipment. This includes range-hood filters, refrigeration cabinets and washing equipment. We can work with you to develop the best of what you will need in your space to provide a durable and efficient workspace for the life of your cafe.

With no job too big or too small, you don’t have to look any further for your commercial kitchen and cafe stainless steel needs.

Get in touch with the team that can make your cafe come to life.