Kay Burke – Opening a Cafe

Kay Burke felt like a square peg in a round hole during her time in the corporate sector and once her children were safely through their teenage years, Kay decided to hightail it back to her county of birth, Cork. Settling back in the vibrant town of Clonakilty, Kay was already immersing herself in a food related hobby – Sugarcraft- at which she excels. Kay began to research cafe options and realised that she needed to learn the nuts and bolts of an industry with which she was not familiar. Kay enrolled on the Busines of Opening a Cafe Course with Blathnaid Bergin . Fifteen days over 12 weeks covered all the nuts, bolts, bells and whistles of getting it right first time. While doing the course, a property came up and Kay used the valuable advice received on the course to steer her through the acquisition of a leasehold for the property that became the  Sticky Bun Cafe. Kay learned not to rush into buying equipment before she knew what her menu would be and once she knew that, she went shopping and bought all the equipment outright. Kay neither needed nor wanted to borrow to open the business and so got off on a solid footing. Kay opened and had a baptism of fire, but with a son  – Kevin–  who is a world class chef in her corner, the cafe got off to a fantastic start.

Kay designed the cafe herself using the information from the Interior Design module on the Cafe course. It is now three years on and Kay is included in ‘Ireland- The Best’ by John McKenna , has been lauded by all the media in her home county and the business is going from strength to strength. 

What has Kay learned in this time?

Good staff are crucial to the success of the business and experienced front of house staff can take huge pressure off in the beginning. 

Being part of the local community gives a strong sense of belonging and the cafe has a loyal following. 

Do the Business of Opening a Cafe or similar course 

Vital to get some experience before opening so that you know whether or not you like it. 

Serve great coffee. 

Source and support top quality local producers – of course, they are spoiled for choice in West Cork. 

Systems are essential – it takes a while to get them right and they need to be tweaked but the business cannot function without them. 

Kay is having a blast!