average cost of cafe fit out

Average Cafe Fit Out Costs

Whether you’re looking to start a cafe from scratch or revamp an existing space, the fit-out process will be necessary. Small cafes that offer seating for ten or fewer patrons are gaining popularity amongst both first-time and established shop owners. These spaces have been increasing in demand among those who want something realistic and more fitting to their budget as they open their business dreams into reality with these types of shops!

Average Cafe Fit-Out Costs

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The cafe start-up costs associated with the cafe fit-out are determined by a range of variables, including:

  • The size of the cafe fit-out.
  • Whether floors, ceilings and walls are in reasonable condition.
  • What materials/equipment/furniture/fixings/fittings are already available?
  • The quality of the finished cafe fit-out.
  • How durable does the cafe fit-out needs to be.
  • The target audience for your cafe fit-out.
  • Are you conducting an entirely new fit-out or only renovating some aspects of your cafe?

If you are looking for approximate cafe fit-out costs, we’ve provided great examples of just how much it will cost to create a successful café. From budget cafes that provide basic quality results all the way up to premium options with maximum design and functionality features, there is an option suitable for every type of customer.

  • For a basic restaurant build $1,800 to $2,200 Per Square Metre (ex. GST)
  • For a mid-range restaurant build $2,200 to $2,500 Per Square Metre (ex. GST)
  • For a high-end restaurant build $3,400+ Per Square Metre (ex. GST)

The cost of renovations for cafes is always relative to the size, materials used and labour required. In Australia, on average, a small or medium-sized cafe usually costs about $80 000 – 170 000 (excluding equipment like displays and banners, which would be an additional expense). Larger spaces will consequently have higher renovation prices, upwards of 250 000 Australian dollars, after going through our layout design session with Shopfitters, who can help you better understand your requirements.

Average Cafe Fit-Out Costs Per Square Metre

When starting a cafe business, keep in mind that space is always limited. A basic fit-out for your café will cost between $1,800 and $2,200 per square metre, with the materials chosen to be economical. This includes flooring, furniture such as counters & stools (front of house), back of house cupboards/work stations etc., restroom facilities and reception desk or bar area if applicable to your needs outfitting these areas appropriately depending on how much you want them influencing the atmosphere inside this new establishment!

There are many types of cafes, but which one is best for your business depends on what you want to do. For a start-up or smaller cafe that wants an individual look and feel without high costs, the ‘cafe fit out’ can be ideal.

Elements that affect your Cafe Fit-Out Cost

Style or design

When considering the type of design you are looking for, it is always important to think about your potential clientele. For instance, if a cafe is in an area where there are many young professionals walking around, then they may want to consider having more modern contemporary designs such as an industrial style feel which will be seen as professional and trendy by their target audience. On the other hand, if this same café was located somewhere that has lots of families with children running around, then they might want something less corporate so everything feels relaxed instead – going for soft colours and natural textures would help achieve this end goal too!

You know the saying that less is more, but in this case, it’s also cheaper. If you can use your original flooring, for example, then a few cans of varnish and some elbow grease could do the trick! Adding decorations doesn’t have to be expensive, either. Try sourcing pictures and trinkets from charity shops instead of spending money on new pieces. Skip tablecloths too, because they’re not necessary with bare tables or good quality napkins, which are both inexpensive ways to top off an already well-styled space without breaking the bank. Finally, expose walls by painting them lighter shades so as not to cover them up with paint or wallpaper like you might want if we were doing a renovation project where everything was torn down anyway!’

Ergonomic planning

Every cafe owner wants their customers to linger a little longer, which is why comfortable seating is key. Ergonomic cafe furniture has been specially designed with the customer in mind, giving them maximum comfort and convenience so that they feel relaxed. After all, who would want to hang around at a café when the chairs are uncomfortable?

You might want to flick through the glossy magazines and find inspiration, then try sourcing your furniture from specialist online suppliers. Firstly there’s a strong chance it will be much cheaper, especially if you buy in bulk; secondly, many specialists like Cafe Solutions here in Brisbane have local warehouses where you can check out their products before buying them!

Best workflow practices

Finding the perfect balance of tables and chairs is key. That way, you can make sure that your floor space maximises its potential while also ensuring wait staff will be able to navigate around easily without bumping into anything.

To make sure you have enough tables, plot your floor space and calculate how many there need to be. It is important not to forget entrances such as the kitchen or bathrooms in this process so that everything can fit accordingly.

Creating an efficient workflow is crucial to the smooth operation of a café. Here are some best practices for café workflows:

  1. Layout Design: The layout of your café should facilitate easy movement for staff and customers. The path from the kitchen to the serving area should be clear and unobstructed. Similarly, customers should be able to move from the entrance to the counter and to their seats with ease.
  2. Work Zones: Organize your café into zones based on tasks such as food preparation, cooking, serving, and cleaning. Each zone should have everything needed to perform its tasks efficiently.
  3. Staff Training: Staff should be well-trained in their roles and responsibilities. They should know where everything is located, how to use equipment, and the most efficient way to complete their tasks.
  4. Inventory Management: Regularly check and manage your inventory to avoid running out of essential items during service. This includes food and drink ingredients as well as necessary supplies like napkins, cups, and cutlery.
  5. Cleaning Schedule: Maintaining cleanliness is essential in any food service business. Create a cleaning schedule that specifies what needs to be cleaned and when. This can include daily tasks like sweeping and wiping down surfaces, as well as regular deep cleaning tasks.
  6. Technology Integration: Utilize technology to streamline processes. For example, a good Point of Sale (POS) system can help manage orders, track inventory, and provide valuable data for analysis.
  7. Customer Flow: Consider the customer’s journey from the moment they enter your café. Clear signage, a well-marked ordering point, and easy access to condiments and utensils can enhance the customer experience.
  8. Regular Reviews: Continuously review and tweak your workflow for efficiency. Encourage staff feedback as they often have insights into improvements from their hands-on experience.

Remember, what works best for one café may not necessarily work for another. It’s important to understand your specific needs and limitations and adapt these best practices accordingly. An efficient café workflow can improve your service speed, enhance customer satisfaction, and ultimately increase your café’s profitability.

Maximising your seating capacity

The reason you want to maximise your seating is because it will make the most of your floor space. This means that if, for example, there are tight corners or recesses in the cafe, then an ordinary square table won’t fit. Instead look at adding smaller rounded dry-bar tables as they’re perfect for these spaces and cost less too! For higher quality furniture, try Werzalit or Isotop, who manufacture commercial products which not only look great but are built with longevity as a priority.

Things to Consider When Designing a Café

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A quality shopfitter that will help you with all the most important considerations for your cafe fit-out; look for these considerations for your cafe:


According to research, colours can play a big part in our psychology. It’s important for restaurateurs to consider the way that their colour scheme will affect guests’ experiences with food and eating – especially when it comes down to appetite-suppressing blues or hunger-inducing reds!

Red tones make you feel hungry and can be a great way to advertise if the cafe or restaurant has fast, hot meals. However, red is not often associated with healthy eating, so it’s best used at places that serve chips and other unhealthy food like bacon sandwiches. Green colours are more commonly seen in ads for restaurants that want customers to know they have fresh ingredients being served!

Distances between tables

Expecting customers to squeeze into a claustrophobic space is not the best way for your business to thrive. A good rule of thumb when designing seating arrangements in public spaces, such as cafes and restaurants, would be 1 meter between tables or at least 1.2 meters if you want it more comfortable! If people are limited by their ability to move around due to physical restrictions like wheelchairs, then try giving them an extra 0.5 metres worth of room so they can get through easily with less hassle


The flooring in your cafe is very important. It can be the difference between a welcoming space and one where customers dread standing on bare floors or sitting down for their coffee with friends. There are many different types of materials available but it’s best to go natural, like timber, especially if you’ve grown up seeing this type of surface as an integral part of everyday life – from playing around the house when we were young through til now as adults eating out at cafes and restaurants which have opted for this style too!


It can be easy to choose lighting based on how it looks but remember that the choice affects all of your colours in the space, and you want the food presentation to look good. Warm lights create an atmosphere that is great when food isn’t a focal point, and cool lights are needed for proper representation if you plan to serve dishes where presentations are paramount.

Placement of Serving Counter

What do you think about the placement of your serving counter? Consider how this will affect what type of customer comes in. For example, if it is near the entrance, then passers-by are more likely to pop in for a quick snack and some company – but if it is placed towards the back or centre where most people seat themselves when they come in, those who do walk past might be less inclined to stop as much because sitting down means they’ve made up their mind that food was on their agenda today!

We have a team of qualified joiners, fitters and project managers who will help install your cafe. Our team constantly delivers fantastic results, making sure your equipment and joinery are installed correctly so you can fully enjoy its use in no time! Contact us to talk with one of our members today about how we can do this for you, too- call or email us anytime.


The cost of fitting out a café in Australia can vary widely depending on several factors. These can include the location, size, design aesthetic, quality of finishes, and the type of equipment required. Here are some key factors to consider:

  1. Location: Fit-out costs can vary across different parts of Australia, with major cities like Sydney and Melbourne potentially being more expensive due to higher labour and material costs.
  2. Size of the Space: Naturally, a larger café will require more materials and labour, which will increase the overall cost.
  3. Design and Aesthetics: The complexity of the design, the quality of finishes, and any custom elements can significantly impact the cost of a café fit-out.
  4. Kitchen Equipment: High-quality equipment, such as commercial-grade ovens, grills, refrigeration units, and coffee machines, can be a significant portion of the fit-out cost.
  5. Furniture and Fixtures: Items such as seating, tables, lighting fixtures, and counters will also need to be factored into the budget.
  6. Plumbing, Electrical, and HVAC: Installing or upgrading plumbing, electrical systems, and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems can also contribute to the cost.
  7. Permits and Regulations: Compliance with Australian building codes, health and safety standards, and obtaining necessary permits can also add to the overall cost.

As a rough guideline, the cost of a café fit-out in Australia can range from AUD $1,000 to $3,000 per square metre. However, please note that these figures are just estimates, and the actual cost can vary based on your specific requirements.

It’s advisable to consult with professionals, such as architects, interior designers, and contractors, who can provide a more detailed and accurate quote based on your unique circumstances. Setting a realistic budget and prioritising the most essential elements of your fit-out will help ensure that you make the most of your investment.

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