BHADVISER - Tax and legal consulting firm in Casablanca, Morocco
hanae belsakri
Writing By Hanane Belaskri

10.01.2023 | Bh Adviser | Morocco

3 Steps to Starting Your Coffee Business in Morocco

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As an old Moroccan joke says so well: “between a coffee and a coffee, there is another coffee”. This little phrase speaks for itself and makes perfect sense when you walk the streets of Morocco. No matter which district you are in, residential or working class, no café is empty. And, new establishments of this type are born in each new block of buildings created. One could say that it is a fashion effect, but the reality is that despite this apparent competition, the profitability of the café is always satisfactory, provided that the café is well located.

BHADVISER - Tax and legal consulting firm in Casablanca, Morocco

 Investing in the opening of a café in Morocco is therefore a good way to get a return on your money. But how do you go about opening a café and what advice should you follow to make sure you get a return on your investment quickly?

Legal form and authorizations in morocco

In Morocco, the opening of a coffee shop starts by obtaining a development permit from the urban commune on which the premises depend. The request for authorization is made in writing to the head of the municipality, adding a lease contract for the premises to be used and some administrative documents. We recommend that you contact the commune’s staff directly to obtain a list of the documents to be provided. Once the application is submitted, a commission is formed to visit the premises, and then authorization can be granted within a period not exceeding 6 months.

Then comes the time of development, a period where the expenses must be studied beforehand by an architect. It is preferable to call on professionals so that the fitting out is done in accordance with the plan provided by the authorities. Once the development is completed, another application for opening will have to be made, which will lead to on-site visits and inspections. Thus, if the development has not been well done, the owner may be obliged to destroy and rebuild

For the application for opening, it is necessary to add to the previous file (application file for development) the plans approved by an architect and pictures of the final state. Visits will also be organized to check the reliability of the construction as well as to verify the level of hygiene. Once these two authorizations are granted (development and opening), we can now think about the legal form. In Morocco, it is recommended to create a full legal entity when opening a café. Experts in the field recommend the SARL, as it is the legal form that facilitates tax control.

Once the decision is made on the legal form, the procedure for establishing the company should be followed by submitting the appropriate documents to the Regional Investment Center (CRI).

Choosing the right location in morocco

As with most food service businesses, for your café to be profitable, it must be well located. Not only will the location help you avoid spending too much money on renting or buying the space, but it will also make it easier for potential customers to spot you. History has proven that for your coffee shop to be known and frequented in Morocco, it must be on a major artery such as a boulevard or a street that is very busy. There is no point in having a café near an elementary school, as most students of that age do not frequent cafés.

However, the café can be located near offices and residential buildings, in rest areas (on the road), or any other place frequented by café regulars (professionals, retired men, young employees, etc.).

 

In terms of price, the cost of renting a coffee shop in a working class area will certainly not be the same as if the shop is located in a high-class area.

 

Provide a customer-friendly and customer-appropriate layout

Simply put, the standard of the café should be appropriate to the standard of the expected clientele. If you hire an interior designer, you should expect to pay a high price, especially if you plan to work with high quality materials. Let’s say that the fitting out of a 150 m² room can easily cost 1.5 million dirhams with high-quality materials. However, to stand out from the competition, it is preferable to choose good materials and to have a decoration that is out of the ordinary.

The café space should be large enough to accommodate the counter area, the kitchen area, a small storage area, the latrine and of course enough room for tables and chairs. All the facilities in the café should also be carefully chosen according to the clientele and the area in which it is located. For example, it is not appropriate to have plastic chairs in a café located in the heart of an administrative or business centre, as the café is likely to be used by CEOs of companies. So the plastic decor would drive them away from the café.

However, it is important to remember that for chairs, tables, glasses, teapots and refrigerators, it is all a question of means and quality. You can find them for 1000 dhs each or for 100 dhs depending on the model of tables and chairs you want. It is also important to think about decorative elements (decorative furniture, TV screens, aquariums, paintings, etc.), as these small touches can add charm to the café. Don’t forget the kitchen utensils as well as the coffee machines or microwave, whose price can vary between 500 (microwave) and 7000 dhs (coffee machine), or sometimes reach 50 000 dhs (for the high-tech coffee machine).

We also remind you that you should expect to have new needs in terms of equipment as the café becomes operational. In fact, you should plan on spending between 2 and 10 million for the complete equipment during the first 3 years of opening

Financing the opening of the coffee in morocco

Given the size of the costs involved in opening a café, it is more advantageous to rent a space that is already equipped. In this way, you can reduce the costs associated with the installation and focus on a simple refurbishment of the premises to personalize it. The owner will also be able to better invest in kitchen equipment, raw materials, and staff.

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