Becoming a business owner | 3 min read

A day in the life of a cafe owner

Last updated: June 4, 2020

After working in education for 22 years as a classroom teacher and after a few management roles, Trudy Latham decided she needed more flexibility on a daily basis along with a well-rewarded income for the work she puts in. She also saw a need for a specialist coffee shop in her local area of Burnie, Tasmania.

With little experience in the café industry, Trudy felt that a support network would help her be more successful, and decided a franchise structure was the way to go. Nearly four years on, and now the proud owner of two Hudsons Coffee shops Trudy still loves making coffee and interacting with customers. The assistance provided from Hudsons Coffee with the ‘Multi Store Operator’ program gave her the skills required to successfully grow from one, to two stores.

“I try to head home around three o’clock”

With two stores and 12 staff members Trudy definitely keeps herself busy. “A typical day for me is head to the Burnie store around 8am and work on the floor during the early morning rush period.  Sometime during the day I head to the hospital store to transport anything required, do the banking, rosters, check emails, and orders. I work on the floor at the hospital approximately 12-15 hours each week, and in the Burnie Store around 15 hours per week. Generally I try to head home around 3-3:30 each day,” says Trudy.

There’s always something to do

When she first started, Trudy put in around 70 hours per week for a month to get the first café off the ground. Now, with two stores, one open five days and the other seven, there is always work to do, but the support of Hudsons Coffee and the established systems, along with an on-call field support consultant, makes it achievable.

Trudy works alongside her team in the cafes as a rostered staff member for around 25-30 hours per week, and logs additional hours at home managing the business. “I input data into MYOB, and have a bookkeeper to run my monthly reports for the Hudsons Coffee support office, and complete my business activity statements each quarter,” says Trudy. She also does her own staff pays, which is a Sunday night task – and must be done regardless of where she is.

To ensure she’s not doing everything, Trudy has a store manager that assists in running the business, and four supervisors responsible for opening and closing the stores each day. She also receives support, marketing ideas, benchmarking insights on the industry, direction and food innovations from the Hudsons Coffee head office.

You need to make a lot of coffee

“I have cheeky customers that ask me if I’ve been on holiday again, because they may not have seen me in one of the stores for a few days. They don’t realise I’m still working, just not at the cafe they visit”.

The coffee industry is a competitive one, and while Trudy still loves being in the industry and continues to manage and run two successful cafes, she says “you need to make a lot of coffees each day to make it viable and worthwhile”.

Trudy’s top tips for business success

1. Put the hard work and long hours in at the start, so you can reap the rewards later on
2. Be open to suggestions from others
3. Encourage team work, and develop positive relationships with staff members – allow them to be leaders in your business as well

Looking to take the next step and buy your own cafe? Find out everything you need to know with our ultimate guide on how to buy a cafe.