Best way to layout an internet cafe in the Philippines or elsewhere

After a year of our internet cafe being in operation you start to notice things you wish you had done a different way or have already altered the cafe to suit yours as well as your customers needs.

First thing was plywood desks to be honest they function but aren’t the best. Also it doesn’t allow for layout changes as they were fixed to the walls, they are probably one of the biggest changes we have made. After running through the figures it worked out cheaper to actually buy computer desks from FastWin which are less than P900 each. The desks keep the PC high (heat rises) and at the same time the desks are light and moveable once in positions we want we just cable tie them together to stop people being able to knock them too far.

The next was issues with the network cables as simply the desks moved so did the cables and had to be fish lined from the ceiling hanging midair as we went for a central hub instead of along the walls. The reason for centralising the PCs was down to gamers needing to play against each other without being able to see each other. This also worked well for chatters as the “noisy” gamers were placed in a position where the gaming PCs don’t over shadow the chatters with their volume (the kids not the PCs).

So in future if your looking to setup a net-cafe as it is something many people talk about I would look at the following :-

  • Make sure you have a good earth as getting earthing shocks isn’t just common its guaranteed when trying to do things like plug in USB devices.
  • Try and get cheap desks with a heightened shelf for the PC this allows heat to stay away from the computer as well as its out of reach of feet and lessens the chance of tampering.
  • Try and design your cable runs to allow changes e.g. a central floor switch to allow moved connections as well as along the wall may make life easier in the future.
  • Kids damage way more things than they should so be aware of that and adjust your pricing (as well as monitor them closely). The term here is “bastos” which is basically no respect and here in the Philippines its common that if its not yours you don’t care about it.
  • Security could be an issue depending on location in the last 3 months I know of two armed robberies in nearby towns. Adjusting your security or even look at where your putting your location is a major concern.
  • Gamers and chatters don’t mix if you can try and put them in opposite areas so they don’t put each other off (generally you will lose chatters).
  • You need to mix PC’s old and new as gamers want new but chatters don’t need fast machines, getting the balance right will save you thousands of pesos.
  • Don’t expect instant success most things in the Philippines work word of mouth especially on a local level this is why setting up many businesses here is about an 18 month minimum return to investment. After things get established you will see things improve (if you do your homework right).