Your new community café: what’s needed

Are you planning to run a community café from your new church kitchen? Before you begin, it’s important to understand safety measures and decide on how your café will be run…

For most churches, opening a new café is an exciting new prospect that can bring in much-needed funding, while also offering a welcoming space for the local community. However, there are many things to take into consideration before you can start serving those sandwiches.


Where to start
Begin with a vision for your café. Think about its opening times, what equipment you might need and whether it will be run by paid staff, volunteers or a mixture of both. Who will manage the café and ensure food and safety hygiene regulations are adhered to? What will be your policy on uniforms? And have you considered what type of café you’d like to run? For example, will it be waitressed or will you expect customers to order at the counter?

When designing the space you have to work with, the seating arrangements and your new kitchen, consider which ideas are the more suitable or safe option. And, if possible, include someone with catering experience in your planning – their help will be invaluable and could get your new enterprise off the ground more quickly.


Keeping safe
While a church-run café will help you reach out to your community, it’s important for your volunteers or staff to feel safe and comfortable in your kitchen. And everyone involved will need to be aware of relevant rules regarding food safety, alongside an understanding of how to avoid slips, falls and burns in your kitchen. A hectic kitchen can make your team more vulnerable to risks, but by keeping on top of hazards, you can allow them to stay safe, work efficiently and provide your community with a quality service. Even on a busy Saturday lunchtime.

While formal training might not be a viable option for your café team, you can help to cut down on accidents with some basic knowledge on kitchen safety. To avoid hazards in your new kitchen, it’s a good idea to focus on proper housekeeping – can obstacles be removed? Are spills cleaned up immediately? Are deliveries carried out safely with a co-worker? Are large items stored away correctly? Are oven gloves used when working with hot stoves? Often, you’ll find the safety measure you use at home can be applied to a commercial kitchen – but the key is ensuring your volunteers and staff understand what is expected of them.


Welcome party
Once you have your plans in place, and your team is ready to serve, it’s time to think of a name and start marketing your new venture. Any reasonable name is acceptable but it’s important to ensure that you don’t use a registered trademark. Also, you can have fun with the name of your café, the more suggestions, the better! And don’t forget, you could even ask the congregation to join in the naming, or run a competition. Then think about how you will inform your local community. Social media is always a great place to invite people along, but leaflets, an ad in the local paper and even word of mouth are also excellent methods of promoting the café. And you could even consider an opening day to entice locals to come along.


While it may feel like there is a host of rules, regulations and options to think about, your café will add something very special to your local community. And at Steelplan Kitchens, we are ready to start planning you new kitchen to bring your ideas to life – call us on 0844 809 9186


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