December 31, 2023

How Much Does a Melbourne Cafe Fitout Cost in 2024?

People come for the great coffee, and they stay for the amazing food. And when the experience is memorable, they’ll surely share it with others.

This is the world we live in. Serving the best coffee in all of Melbourne isn’t enough to attract new visitors. If your interior isn’t welcoming, remarkable, and/or shareable you won’t bring in new customers or get your current customers to create conversations about your brand online.

In today’s social sharing world, a complete experience is everything.  But beyond the aesthetic aspects, your cafe must be functional for your team too. Not meeting either of these standards could lead to slower service times, and unenthused guests.

If you feel like your cafe is lacking something—or if you just started building out your premises—it’s time to consider a new fitout. In this guide, we’ll explore the basic costs to fit out your cafe. Along the way, we’ll also share the most common pitfalls encountered when building cafe fitouts, along with some tips on how you can avoid them.

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Cafe Fitout Cost Per Square Meter

So how much do cafe fitouts cost on average? 

Between $1500 - 3000 per sqm

Of course, when laying out a range like this there are a variety of factors that could put a fitout on the higher or lower ends of this range. Cafes are as unique as the people who create them, so no one fitout is the same as another. 

In saying this, there are some basic features that differentiate cafe fitouts from other industries.

Hospitality fitouts are usually more complex than standard commercial fitouts. At the basic level, more joinery is usually required. When getting beneath the surface though, a significant amount of time and expertise is spent on implementing essential services (e.g. plumbing, electrical, mechanical, etc.). 

Cafe fitouts are also highly personal. The brand and aesthetic need to shine or the entire customer experience lags behind. Knowing this, business owners often opt for premium materials, fixtures, and furniture.

Lastly, cafes need to be highly functional for workers and equally warm and welcoming to guests; all while doing this in a limited space. An exceptional fitout expert understands this and will balance all of these requirements within a reasonable budget.

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Cafe-Specific Fitout Costs

Below are some of the more specific costs associated with hospitality fitouts. 

  • Commercial Kitchen: Kitchens often require features such as stainless steel substrate, a cool room, and safety vinyl (compliant flooring). While substrate and cool room costs can vary by project, compliant flooring costs start at around $200 per sqm. 
  • Joinery, Finishes, & Cabinetry: Includes built-in seating, custom loose furniture, countertops, benches, floor substrates and the materials or upholstery involved. Costs are project dependent, but for a reference point, a low-end 8-seater banquette seating arrangement could cost around $15,000.
  • Exterior Facade Changes: At the higher end of the spectrum, external facade works can cost up to $30K (depending on the complexity of the changes).
  • Furniture: Is it custom? Is it off the shelf? Are the materials expensive? In most cases, the more elaborate or custom your furniture is, the more it will cost.
  • Rangehoods & Grease Traps: If you opt to replace your current rangehood and/or grease traps, this could cost an additional $30K at the higher end.
  • Toilets: Assurance that you have the correct number of standard, DDA, and ambulant-compliant toilets installed. Cost is dependent on the number of toilets required.
  • Sinks: Hand basin sinks are usually a required installation to pass health department checks. Mop sink installation (if desired) starts around $1000.

We know what you’re thinking, that’s a lot of costs to take in! As mentioned before, each hospitality venue is as unique as the next one, all with different needs and requirements to meet. We want to give you a clear picture of what you should consider. While some projects are significantly more complex than others, this is more of a rarity than the norm.

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Common Cafe Fitout Issues (and How to Avoid Them)

Now you know what to be on the lookout for, but what about those things a builder might not tell you about? Let’s explore them below.

Material Lead Time

Lead time for certain materials can vary. While materials can be sourced locally, some items may need to be imported. At Canopy Fitouts we take a comprehensive approach to quoting and building your fitout. We forecast lead times wherever possible, and will suggest alternatives if you desire a speedier completion. 

Regulatory Bodies

With any construction project, approval from regulatory bodies will be required. Rather than taking on council fees, permit plans, and the potential red tape involved, our team will assist you and ensure the process is seamless. Don’t let neglected paperwork hold up your fitout.


Asbestos is the most hidden issue on this list. While it may not be an issue for your fitout, we’ll never really know until we get started on the project. At Canopy, we’ll do all early leg work to catch signs of potential asbestos and will help you get a professional to decontaminate the premises quickly.

Hidden Costs

We recommend allocating at least 30% of your budget to cover hidden services like the ones above. We will be as upfront as possible in the early stages of your build to help you avoid these costs later on.

Speak With a Cafe Fitout Expert

At Canopy Fitouts we believe in transparency at every stage of the fitout process, which is why we have no qualms with sharing the latest data we have around hospitality fitouts. Of course, cafes come in all shapes, sizes, and personalities so it’s best to speak to an expert first for further clarification on what costs will pertain to your business. If you have any specific questions or are ready to get started on your fitout, speak with our knowledgeable team today.

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