#BeAnAwesome: Cafe Owner

Rasiyuddin Hariri, a former pastry chef who is now attached to Universiti Tun Abdul Razak, advises students to 'get exposure to cafe management. Then, get all the experience you can on catering through books, TV, websites, blogs or even ask cafe owners. There are no shortcuts to success.'
Rasiyuddin Hariri
Former pastry chef

What will I do?

Managing a cafe and restaurant requires you to keep on top of various things, which include: 

  • reducing food costs
  • the menu
  • food production
  • staff schedules
  • ideas for improving sales and organising promotions
  • keeping your customers happy.

Is it for me?

You need to know at least some basic aspect of food production as this will be helpful in managing the cost of your restaurant. Qualifications are good to have (a bachelor's degree will entitle you to enter the graduate business scheme with low-interest loans) but not necessary. However, work experience is indeed important in managing your restaurant, with the most important quality being whether you can serve people with a smile and, of course, good food.

Getting going

Capital is a major issue as it depends on the location of your cafe, and what type of concepts or theme you want, but could be between RM30,000 and RM300,000. don't worry, there are many ways of getting a loan or even a grant where you only commit about 20% of capital â€' such as a franchise business. The business offers cash income, so you need to be prudent. As many as 80% of cafes fail within the first two years of operation, but if you strategise well by, for example, offering outside catering services, then you will have more success.

How much will I earn?

A salary of between RM3,500 and RM5,000 a month for 40-seat cafe is expected for the first year of operations. After that, it will depend on how much you want from your business. Obviously that is for a single cafe. If you have more than one outlet, then just multiply your salary by the number of cafes you own.


A franchise will include a complete system and training. It offers a prepared manual for you to start a business, which is good if you don't have any experience. You only require the capital and then everything is ready for you to run the business. 

However, this come at a cost: from RM100,000 to RM500,000. Also, you may need to compete with other applicants for popular locations, and not all franchise schemes offer successful products.


It is advisable for a cafe owner to keep abreast of the latest information about food trends and fashion, including cafe design and colour schemes. It is wise to take up some short courses or even a diploma in culinary arts, as this will enhance your knowledge and improve your cafe tremendously. Taking up certain cooking programmes will also prepare a cafe owner to diversify into other types of food outlets whenever there is an opportunity.