What Food Should be Offered at a Cafe?

A café is different from a coffee shop in that a variety of food items are usually offered at a café, whereas a coffee shop usually only has a small assortment of desserts and pastries. If you plan on opening up a café, you will need to devote just as much time to the development and planning of a menu as you will to the creation of different coffee beverages and drink items.

It can be difficult to create a café menu from scratch, so it's a good idea to consider some of the standards included at most cafés. These five menu items are a great starting place for your café.


Sandwiches are always popular at cafes. You can offer hot and cold sandwiches that use a variety of different high quality breads, meats, cheeses, and vegetables. You can even offer a special sandwich of the day, that is prepared and ready to go, for those who want to order and leave quickly.


Soup is almost a necessity at a café. Customers love the comforting nature of hot soups made with fresh ingredients such as chicken, beef, pasta and assorted vegetables.


A fresh salad or two is a great thing to add to a café menu. Many customers choose cafes for their eating needs because they anticipate being able to find healthier options when compared with a fast food restaurant. Light salads, therefore, should be included on your menu.

Breakfast Items

It may be a good idea to include a few breakfast items on your café menu and cater to the early-morning crowd at your cafe. Breakfast pastries, eggs, waffles, pancakes, and assorted fruit are simple menu items that will increase your profits during the morning hours.

Pastries and Desserts

Because your café will be offering coffee beverages along with a full menu of food items, it's a good idea to include a variety of pastries and desserts on the menu. This will improve the success of your business during off-hours such as after lunch and after dinner. If customers want to come into your café for a quick coffee, they may be more likely to indulge in a sweet snack if you have an assortment of delectable desserts available and on display.

Coffee cake and muffins are perfect accompaniments to hot coffee, so these pastry items are quite common in cafes. Many cafes also offer different varieties of cookies, cakes, cupcakes, cheesecakes, biscuits, sweet rolls, cinnamon rolls, and even a special cookie called biscotti, which is baked twice and perfect for dunking in a hot cup of coffee. Remember, the goal for every café owner is to sell as much to each customer as possible. If you don't have any sweet snacks available, customers will be satisfied with only a cup of coffee. If the sweet treats are there, however, they will be very likely to indulge.

This is by nio means a comprehensive list of the food items offered at a café. However, if you start simple with these basic items and slowly add new items to your menu, you will be in a great position to please your clientele and steadily increase the business at your café.