Forums / Property Investing / Help Needed! / Internet Cafe Ideas

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  • Profile photo of Robbie BRobbie B
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    @robbie-b
    Join Date: 2004
    Post Count: 2,493

    Hey guys,

    Just thought I would let you know that I have made a decision to partner up to start an Internet Cafe with a good friend of mine.

    I wanted to know if anyone had any ideas or information regarding any services we should offer to make the business more appealling and more profitable. All ideas and comments are welcome.

    The Mortgage Adviser


    http://www.themortgageadviser.com.au
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    Profile photo of Learning GuyLearning Guy
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    @learning-guy
    Join Date: 2005
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    what is the main stream of income ?
    dodo internet already have the same thing happening, they are retail store, provide coffee, light cake, and free internet, just need to sit down and use the facility.

    mission ? to provide internet access ?
    – dodo is already providing one, this is in VIC, but if different state, maybe different.

    that is my opinion, correct me if i am wrong.

    Profile photo of Robbie BRobbie B
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    @robbie-b
    Join Date: 2004
    Post Count: 2,493

    It would definately be a pay for use service. I think Dodo would do that to market their internet access services. The shop will be in Sydney NSW.

    The Mortgage Adviser


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    Profile photo of BorgInvestorBorgInvestor
    Participant
    @borginvestor
    Join Date: 2005
    Post Count: 51

    My suggestions for services would be:-

    1) Basic internet access
    2) Free email accounts
    3) Provide LAN/internet gaming to groups and individuals
    4) Basic vending machine food/drinks kind of stuff
    5) Wireless connectivity for those who have their own laptop computers.

    Etc

    Borg.

    Profile photo of ANUBISANUBIS
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    @anubis
    Join Date: 2003
    Post Count: 559

    Difficult to differentiate in a market likely to become more marginal than it alreay is. There are plenty in Sydney (CBD) – some for gaming, some are combination coffee shops & eateries and as far as I can see very cheap – around $1 to $1.70 for half an hour of use.

    Profile photo of Mobile MortgageMobile Mortgage
    Member
    @mobile-mortgage
    Join Date: 2003
    Post Count: 913

    Hi Rob,
    Keeping in mind the point of difference can determine success and failure, how about a vegetarian Internet café, or a combined laundry mat & Internet café, Surf & Clean! Cheers.

    Regards
    Steven
    Mortgage Broker

    Mobile Mortgage Market
    Ph: 0402 483 216
    [email protected]
    http://www.mobilemortgagemarket.com.au

    PLEASE note comments made should not be taken as specific taxation, financial, legal or investment advice.

    Profile photo of Robbie BRobbie B
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    @robbie-b
    Join Date: 2004
    Post Count: 2,493

    There is a definate glut of internet cafes in the CBD, that is for sure. I thought supporting the retail business with an online business would make it profitable.

    The Mortgage Adviser


    http://www.themortgageadviser.com.au
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    Profile photo of Robbie BRobbie B
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    @robbie-b
    Join Date: 2004
    Post Count: 2,493

    Hi Steve,

    We are very limited by space.

    We are already implementing 19″ monitors, webcam and headset for tele-conferencing, PC Gaming, modern clean designed shop with no wires all over the place and tourist support services (lots of backpackers).

    Still looking for that differentiation WOW factor though.

    The Mortgage Adviser


    http://www.themortgageadviser.com.au
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    Profile photo of Dan_Dan_
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    @dan_
    Join Date: 2004
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    Hi Rob,

    It’s about time I made a post in this forum. I have been a long time reader of this site and have appreciated the information I have gained from your posts. Anyhow some ideas you may want to consider for your venture (some already suggested).

    • Tuition / courses during quiet times for corporate clients / Seniors / Computer illiterate people. It’s amazing how many people use only the basic functions of their pc simply because they haven’t been taught correctly.
    • After hours hire for self hosted LAN party’s
    • Rental for product launches & hand’s on demonstrations
    • Digital Photo Printing service (reasonable rates)
    • Set up a few pc’s with Skype for cheap international calls
    • Maybe some website hosting service onsite (put a few servers out back)

    Good luck with the venture. Keep us informed of how it goes.

    Profile photo of Robbie BRobbie B
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    @robbie-b
    Join Date: 2004
    Post Count: 2,493

    Thanks Dan.

    Welcome to the dark side of posting publicly!!!

    I have included the hosting service, skype on all computers and I think some of your other suggestions (eg: digital printing when we can afford the printer – only B&W and Laser Colour to start off).

    I love the idea for tuition / courses. Will definately do something there. Also, I hope I can get some interest for the rental idea for product launches. That is a good one. I guess I will have to contact lots of software developers and work something out there.

    What do you mean by after hours ‘self hosted’ LAN party’s? Are you talking about group bookings for gaming nights or something different?

    The Mortgage Adviser


    http://www.themortgageadviser.com.au
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    Profile photo of Dan_Dan_
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    @dan_
    Join Date: 2004
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    Rob,

    In regards to product launches don’t limit yourself to just software. I don’t know about Sydney but in Melbourne at swap meets and such graphic’s card manufactures have pretty decent displays, Why not launch a card and have a demonstration on your premises?

    As for the LAN party, yes I meant what you described about group bookings.

    I have some more ideas on the tutorial side of things so when you looking at that let me know.

    Keep in touch, next time I’m in Sydney I’ll drop by and have a look.

    I wish you the best of luck with it.

    Profile photo of LuciLuci
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    @luci
    Join Date: 2005
    Post Count: 114
    I thought supporting the retail business with an online business would make it profitable.

    So you started by wanting to set up a cafe, and decided to incorporate internet?

    In my experience, most people using “internet cafes” are there primarily for the computer access – they don’t order much food or drink (if any), as are using their time on the computer.

    Cafes on the other hand, are usually patronised by groups of people for food and conversation.

    I.e. an “internet cafe” actually has a very different primary purpose than that of a normal cafe. If you are wanting to set up a cafe with a secondary income stream, I wouldn’t suggest an “internet cafe” as you will probably have a hard time selling enough food to keep you in business.

    If, on the other hand, you are primarily interested in giving people computer access – consider the area you are putting it and your target market. There are two main groups of people who use internet cafes: travellers, and gamers.

    Travellers – such as backpackers – generally cluster in central or name areas, such as the CBD, inner city, Bondi, Coogee, or Manly. They usually frequent an internet cafe alone or with only one or two other people. They will visit primarily to check their emails, opt for the cheapest/closest service available, and keep their visit as short as possible (say 1/2 an hour to an hour)- but may visit regularly.

    They may order a drink or a small snack – usually a food and drink machine will suffice for their needs in this regard.

    Gamers are more likely to visit with multiple friends, even in large groups. They will be using both hands for their games, and unlikely to eat or drink unless they take a break. They will spend hours playing against one another. Price per hour and quality of computer hardware are of primary concern. Computers will require a lot more memory and speed (can you tell I’m not very techie?) for the high tech games they like to play.

    Private parties are a good idea for this group. My little brother sometimes goes to LAN parties where everyone has to lug their own computer along to someone’s residence – if you actively market your internet cafe to these people for booked parties then it will be of great use to them (and hopefully profit to you).

    Lessons/tuition sounds like a good idea too. You would have to seriously consider the best location for this, though, as I don’t imagine CBD would be it. It would be most likely be seniors that you would be teaching – which I think is a small market.

    I don’t think there’s any need for coloured printing etc. A basic b+w printer and fax machine are expected – but anything more and you’re competing for a whole other market. Companies such as Kinkos already have good presence as office providers, so anyone needing colour copying/printing, binding, computers for desktop publishing etc will go there.

    Along the lines of a straight cafe rather than an “internet cafe” – there are some cafes that do unique things. In Leichardt there’s a cafe/bookshop that has philosophy nights. A person of some profile (usually published) is invited along to discuss a modern issue, and the audience is interactive.

    There is a great cafe in Manly that gets a lot of backpackers. I think it’s called Cindy’s. Basically it’s a tiny little cafe that just feels really comfy, like at home. There are books and board games to encourage patrons to unwind, and people may spend a long time there – starting with breakfast, then lingering while they work out their travel plans, etc. It’s the perfect place for the travel worn traveller to relax and this sets it apart from any other cafe I know.

    You can steal a lot of ideas from pubs. Trivia nights, bingo, stand up comedy, jazz, play readings, short films, author talks/readings, or align your cafe with a particular group of people so it becomes the place that lawyers/writers/students/etc hang out and network.

    Profile photo of Robbie BRobbie B
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    @robbie-b
    Join Date: 2004
    Post Count: 2,493

    Thanks Dan. I will look forward to you popping in. Hopefully we are up and running in three weeks so I will let you know.

    Luci, thanks for that info. Some good things to think about. Just regarding my reference to ‘retail business’, I was referring to just the internet cafe. With regards to the ‘online business’, that was about selling other goods and services to support the retail arm.

    Just on PC Gamin, does the cafe have to provide any type of game controls or is it just the software?

    The Mortgage Adviser


    http://www.themortgageadviser.com.au
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    Profile photo of SooshieSooshie
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    @sooshie
    Join Date: 2002
    Post Count: 974

    Hi,

    I’m related (by marriage) to the person who partnered the “Dodo” business and started the shops and I can tell you she works LOOOOONNNNGGG hours! So, my suggestion on top of all the good advice you have already had is to go into one of the Dodo stores and suss out your competition.
    Another thing you can offer, is a “Beat the owner” points/rewards system, whereby you set up a competition (much like pinball scores in the “old” days) and the top player competes against the ‘manager’ of the store (i.e. in a computer game setting) and who ever wins the set/match/hand etc gets a, b or c, free, cheaper or prize.
    Hope this makes sense,
    Regards to all
    Sooshie :)

    When a problem is created the solution is created simultaneously

    Profile photo of techhowsetechhowse
    Member
    @techhowse
    Join Date: 2005
    Post Count: 63

    Hmm… I too want to set up a similar venture.
    How much capital is involved in setting up such a cafe?

    Some suggestions

    – Don’t set up wireless networks for customers laptops, since cost p/hr usage can’t be calculated.

    – Find an internet software that uses both; with and without an account, ie. customers can prepay hours on their account for later use ie. Locals. Usage without an account can be charged on usage time and used by tourists, backpackers etc.

    – Bring in a weekly/monthly/6-monthly or even annually competition for the gamers. (If that is the majority of your customers). Price to enter competition could be $10 per player and the prize could be 15-20hrs (+ or – any amount)credited on their account

    – Opening hours should be flexible for tourists, locals and gamers. 10ish to 1 in the morning should cater for all. ie. just be flexible for late night gamers if there are any.

    – Use multi-lingual internet cafe software.

    – Net cafes are usually, but not always dark. You could implement a ultra-violet light for that glow on white clothes, if going for a dark ambience.

    – Like others mentioned, provide a small snack bar that includes drinks cold/hot (ie coffee, if space permits) and maybe a few baked goods and some energy/confectionary bars.

    – Selling a bit of mechandise and/or computer peripherals/products ie. mice, net cams & games wouldn’t hurt either!

    Good luck! I hope all goes well.

    Profile photo of wayneLwayneL
    Member
    @waynel
    Join Date: 2003
    Post Count: 585

    Geez what a treasure trove of ideas this place is!

    I know where I’m coming if I ever want to start a new business…..hmmmm come to think of it, I AM. Will be back when the idea is better formed.

    Good luck with the venture Rob!

    Cheers

    wayneL’s Trading Pages

    Profile photo of BorgInvestorBorgInvestor
    Participant
    @borginvestor
    Join Date: 2005
    Post Count: 51

    You’ll find that there are wireless Access Points designed for Internet Cafes’ so they are feasable, and can be set up to charge by the hour.

    Profile photo of gatsbygatsby
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    @gatsby
    Join Date: 2003
    Post Count: 708

    Hi Rob,
    This may not apply to the location and clientele. However there are still people around who are internet/PC “challenged.” If you can provide prompt service with staff/training for people who have a basic question (eg how do I?……….). I recall when I didn’t have the internet I would ask the owner of a Cafe a question. By the time it was answered by someone showing me how to simply ‘press a button’ 15 minutes later, my internet time was up! This wouldn’t apply to 95% of your customers obviously. Even now at home I only use a fraction of what my PC can do and if you’re on your own, unless you can have a friend drop around promptly for a few times to show you the ‘ropes’ it can be very frustrating. Many times my elbow has ‘bumped’ a key and I look at the screen and it’s changed, I’m left with ‘ergh,…where to from here?’
    Great idea Rob and if it was me I would inject some of your sense of humour into it. I think you’re onto a winner here. Best of luck!
    Cheers,
    Gatsby.

    Profile photo of Robbie BRobbie B
    Member
    @robbie-b
    Join Date: 2004
    Post Count: 2,493

    Thank you to everyone for the ideas so far. There are some really good things to think about.

    As for the question about start-up capital, it is basically the fit-out, some stock and ongoing expenses such as rent for the premises and leasing the equipment (about 20k worth over 3 years).

    Hopefully some local area marketing and promotions will quickly make the business cash flow positive.

    I am still looking for the WOW factor though. It has me stumped.

    Hey, we could always have investor meetings there and we can all get on the forums and include everyone here!!!! :)))

    The Mortgage Adviser


    http://www.themortgageadviser.com.au
    [email protected]
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    Profile photo of Fast LaneFast Lane
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    @fast-lane
    Join Date: 2004
    Post Count: 527

    I remember reading somewhere that parents were sending their young teenage children (and younger)to all night gaming ‘shut ins’ at internet cafes.
    The cost was $30 each and was used as a surrogate baby sitting service. It was controversial because of this fact, but hey, it provided a service at a tidy profit too. This may be an idea for you.

    Good Luck…G7

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