The Complete Guide to Buying a Cafe
Practical Advice to Get it Right

Other Useful Information

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BAS Returns

BAS Returns (Business Activity Statement Returns) are a great source of information about a café. Business activity statements are usually completed quarterly throughout the year – commonly known as Q1, Q2, Q3 & Q4. The following fields are of particular interest:

BAS Return Field How to use this information
ABN (Australian Business Number) This can be used to identify the entity that owns the café. The ABN can then be used to perform the online ASIC search (see next chapter “Company Information Online”).
Total Sales Total sales display the revenue per quarter. The sum of all 4 quarters should equal the total revenue as reported in the end of year financials. This is the total amount to which GST is applicable. Seeing a breakdown of sales into Q1-4 can be useful as it can show variances in trade throughout the year due to seasonality, e.g. winter may be busier than summer.
GST on Sales or GST Instalment This is the standard 10% payable upon sales. This should equal 10% of turnover.
Capital Purchases This represents purchases of items of a capital nature not related to the cost of goods, e.g. equipment
Non-capital Purchases This represents the cost of goods and should be approximately 30% of turnover. This figure should not vary significantly throughout the year. Any large variances throughout the year should be questioned.
GST on Purchases This is the amount that can be claimed back (deducted) from the GST payable. This amount should be approximately 2-3% of turnover and includes GST on purchases such as rent.
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What else is in the chapter 'Other Useful Information'?

Information Online

ASIC ...

Food Authorities

Recently, the NSW government implemented a “name and shame” list for hospitality businesses that have been fined for contravening food hygiene laws. Unfortunately, other states around Australia have yet to ...

Café Reviews

Other useful sources of information on the Internet are café review websites such as Not only can these websites give you an idea as to how well the business ...

Decision Time

For each café business summary you look at it’s important to make an initial decision based on the financials. Don’t waste time at this stage – dismiss those that ...


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