Before anything, you’ll improve your chances of success tenfold by being prepared for further costs down the road (particularly where networking is involved). Read on for the main points to consider when running an Internet cafe business.
1. Get a partner/hire front desk staff. Make sure you can get someone on board with you, or hire someone to handle customers while you run the business. It’s impossible to get work done with people constantly asking to buy time and snacks.
2. Advertise in yellow pages, online, even on craigslist and gumtree. IRC, leaflets at schools/colleges. Target parties rather than competitions, target casual gamers or MMO/RTS players before FPS gamers. FPS gamers tend to be more picky with what games are played etc.
3. Get a girl to work for you. Pay her more if you have to. It’s a no-brainer.
4. Don’t put up with weird customers or they will put other customers off, and you WILL get them coming in. Even if they are just generally weird or smelly, kick them out. Don’t feel bad about it, just do it. It’s a business decision.
5. Offer limited time specials. Let customers get boosts when it’s cheap, getting people in is what makes them come back. Student pricing/group pricing/weekday vs weekend pricing all works.
6. Don’t approach this like a gamer, know what gamers want, not everyone is you, or your friends. It might seem obvious, but don’t just optimise the place for a certain style of gaming (for us it was very FPS heavy, but FPS gamers usually don’t provide regular revenue). This is a business. Look for what is going to make you the most money, rather than what would give you the most geek cred’ or be the most fun. People who spend money regularly at LANs are often casual gamers or people without a powerful computer.