Starting a Board Game Cafe with Melissa Villanueva and Angelo Sepulveda

Playing board games is a great way to connect with old friends and make new ones. Listen to Melissa and Angelo share how to start a board game cafe, given the lessons they learned in building a successful group of coffee shops.


  • Deep commitment to your business is essential. Don’t bother getting started if you’re not going to be all in
  • Don’t need to reinvent the wheel in order to be successful. It’s ok to follow a successful model and execute it in your city
  • Make up for your growing pains through good customer service
  • Use complaints about a competitive product or service to find out how to launch a new product that’s better

Action Steps:

  1. Layout the menu of food, drinks, etc, and of course, games
  2. Run numbers to understand revenue, and see if you have a profitable model
  3. Once you’ve decided on your offerings and revenue model, decide on the layout of the space
  4. Investigate competitors in your area: what are they doing well and where are opportunities for improvement?
  5. Play some board games! Find out which ones are suitable for this idea and create a curated list
  6. Find a suitable location - either high-traffic or a large space
  7. Here are some potential models to use, one or all three:
    1. Patrons come in with friends, grab a table and technology or a person facilitates your experience
    2. Create a consistent time, say 7pm every night that anyone, even solo gamers can come in and join a game
    3. Create smaller rooms to host customized gaming experiences for groups including the appropriate atmosphere, props, music, etc.
  8. Explore potential revenue models: e.g. cover charges, order minimums, group rate custom experiences.
  9. Join forces with, or buy out an existing coffee shop, bar or restaurant. You can start by hosting some game nights or tournaments for them.
Follow through on these action steps and email us your results at You'll get exclusive access to a private Facebook group of action takers and one listener will earn a free mentorship call with our guest, and potentially, a business partnership.


Melissa Villanueva and Angelo Sepulveda are a couple who started a coffee shop (Brewpoint Coffee Workshop and Roastery) with nothing and in the past 6 short years grew it from one shop to a coffee company with multiple storefronts, and now their own book on how to start a coffee shop. 

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Run With It by Chris Justin and Eathan Janney is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.