What is an Internet cafe?
You know what an Internet cafe is, right?
Simply put… an internet cafe or cyber cafe is a place where you can go rent time on a PC or computer.
These locations usually cater to those looking to check email or use office style service such as copying or scanning.
Other styles are the ever-growing gaming centers which cater towards people who want to rent time to play eSports or game against people all over the world in tournaments or one-on-one matches.
So what is Internet Cafe Software?
Yes you guessed it… Internet cafe software (ICS) is a management timer software which help the owner of the location run the business.
The most popular features of any ICS are easily Security, Timing, POS, and Client Interface.
Security is so Important
The general goal of a location owner is to get the public and gamers to park their butts in a chair and use the PC or stations. In exchange the owner makes money.
What could go wrong?
Well that also is simple. When a stranger off the street parks it in front of a computer that person (and whatever skills he/she may posses) has access to the computer and potentially the network. While protecting the network is generally up to the owner, protecting the PC should be helped greatly by the ICS.
Someone could literally take over your business or install malware. That is bad!
The Perfect Timing
Timing is pretty important if you run one of the cyber cafe style locations. Why?
The goal is to get people in the location and keep them coming back. Getting the customer to buy more time or to create an account is a great way to do this! If your ICS has a bunch of timing options then you can offer more ways to time your customers and sell them more time.
Time is money?
Yes it is. With that in mind, being able to accurately time someone will earn you more money. Getting more money upfront for future services is even better. Make sure your ICS can do this!
What a POS!
No I am not talking about the abbreviation for “Piece of @#$%”… I am talking about your Point-of-Sale.
Most Internet cafes and Gaming lan centers are small businesses so naturally every dollar counts. All the leading ICS brands have built in POS software. This includes CyberCafePro, Smartlaunch, Antamedia, and Handy Cafe.
The POS is issued to sell items in your location including time. It is hard for an Internet cafe to survive solely on time which usually means branching out into other products.
Most locations sell more than just time. Things like drinks, food, and supplies are very popular in these types of establishments.
The POS should also be able to calculate tax and stock levels to make your life easier. After all, that is why you choose a software… to make more time for other ways to grow your business.
Client Interface and UEX!
Your user’s experience (UEX) is your #1 concern when somebody walks through your doors!
A happy customer is a return customer.
If your computers are slow and hard to use I can guarantee that you will not see that person or many of their social media friends walk back through your doors again. Having a balance of security and UEX creates a good interface. Some interfaces can be customized to match your business.
Could an Internet Café be a successful idea nowadays?
I was playing around on Quora and I noticed the headline “Could an Internet Café be a successful idea nowadays?”.
This is a question I often ask many of the people I come into contact with on a daily basis who own centers. I figure who would know better than an actual owner of a timed business.
The usual answer I get is “yes… if the market demand is correct.”
Internet cafes, cyber cafes, and many varieties of timed businesses were very popular in the 2000s. The demand and need has gone down significantly in more developed countries due to hand held devices and the abundance of home computers.
On the other hand many of these businesses have been able to adjust to the time with the emergence of eSports and other lan gaming. This features many people in a location gaming and socializing.
The Quora article touched on many good points:
It depends. Roughly, it depends on what you’re offering and to whom – which are the basic questions of any business.
What is an Internet Cafe, anyway?
The most basic notion of the Internet Cafe is a place where customers can rent use of an Internet-enabled computer for a fee. As with most businesses, that definition has evolved with cultural demand.
If you own or are thinking of getting into an Internet cafe style business model, Edward Zuckerberg offers a good perspective.
The article offers a go beyond just profitability. It also looks at security, anonymity, and social aspects. I recommend you check it out if you have a few minutes to spare.