This is Part 4 of Our 5 Part Series on Running An Internet Cafe.
Top 5 things to consider when starting your own Internet café:
Hardware, software and other utilities:
– Consider first what services you’re going to offer. For example:
- If you would only provide Internet services such as web surfing, chatting, etc., then you could go for the low-end or the average specifications for your computers. The Internet doesn’t demand much from your hardware. Just apply for a relatively fast Internet connection (DSL, Broadband, Cable) with a high bandwidth. Then install operating systems and other programs needed. Headsets with microphones are often used when chatting.
- If you would consider adding gaming then the best specs, as much as possible or whichever the games require, should be your priority. There are the offline and online games which require Internet connection. Your clients, especially the gamers, are very demanding when it comes to the speed and reliability of both your PCs and Internet connection. You would often hear complaints about logging, hanging, or slow Internet connection. So make sure that your clients are satisfied to avoid all of those. Buy the best performance PCs and avail a faster Internet connection.
- There are other services that you may offer your customers. You could do printing (b&w or colored), typing services, CD/DVD burning, some even have fax machines or photocopiers. You could even sell food if you want.
To amplify Arvin’s suggestions a bit, many Internet Cafe’s are divided into on-line and off-line areas. This isolates the gamers from the on-line chat, research and “surf” crowd and allows you to better manage your bandwidth needs. It’s well worth considering.
I’ve also noticed a few cafe’s with small private booths for quiet chatting. These, of course rent for a premium over the standard elbow-to-elbow computer stations and would be a big profit-maker for the owner, because the chatters use little bandwidth and the extra fee for the booth is all clear profit.
Selling food has a lot of issues to consider. It’s going to cause problems with cleanliness, potential damage to machines, extra space required and even the potential cluttering of your shop with non-Internet customers. On the other hand, there is a tremendous profit potential in merienda (snack foods), coffee and soft drinks. You don’t see sari-sari (variety) stores tacked on the front of every fourth or fifth house on many residential streets for no reason … there is the potential for really nice markups on food and drink, if you attract the sort of customers who spend hour after hour at the keyboard.
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