Guide to Setting Up and Running a Community Café

This guide is intended as an openly shared resource for anyone involved in the establishment and/or operation of a Community Café. Community Cafés have played a strong role in providing affordable, healthy food to communities at risk from food poverty. Often located within a community centre or similar facility, Community Cafés are usually established to complement a range of services being offered by an organisation to the local community.

A café offers customers a place to meet, socialise and network and can be the first contact between members of the local community and a wide range of community services. Community Cafés face a number of challenges, some unique to the community sector, but many of them common to the wider catering industry.

It is hoped that this guide will be of assistance to volunteers, staff, managers and boards of management currently involved in the operation of a café. It can also provide those considering establishing a Community Café with some insight into the sector.