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How To Start a Coffee Shop Business

Updated on June 17, 2016

Start Your Coffee Shop

Starting a coffee shop can be a very exciting enterprise. Serving your favorite coffee, espresso, and other snacks to your community members is often appealing to people from all walks of life and professional backgrounds.

Additionally, with more and more people drinking coffee every day, the robust market is sure grow, ensuring profitability to those coffee startups that plan and execute well.

Starting your coffee shop can be a dream business. And while it might seem easy and straight forward, it requires a lot of knowledge in a wide variety of areas. But don’t fret, the good thing is that you can get help in establishing your coffee shop by some pretty good online resources to get your planning started.

When you open a coffee shop, there will be a few important steps you’ll need to take. I’m going to list the main ones below.

Get Your Passion for Coffee Ready

Owning a coffee shop or coffee stand isn’t just about making a sale. It’s about sharing great coffee! If you are thinking about setting up a coffee shop or café, consider getting your passion on! Learn as much as you can about coffee and the retail coffee industry. Try new roasting profiles, meet roasters, visit other cafes, and attend a coffee event somewhere. Chances are that if you live in a big city, there are bound to be some coffee related events, competitions, seminars, and conventions.

Decide on a Concept for Your Coffee Shop

What kind of coffee business are you thinking about opening? Would you like to open a coffee drive-thru stand? Would you like to open a café & bakery? Would you like to open a waffles and coffee spot? The possibilities are endless.

To move forward, however, you will have to decide on a coffee shop business that works for you.

Your Menu

Once you decide on your concept for your coffee shop business. You will want to decide on your menu. It will be important because your menu will determine your equipment needs, your space requirements, and even your interaction with your local health department.

Establish Your Business Structure

There are several ways to legally structure your coffee business. A common way to structure your business is through an LLC or corporation. You will want to check which one makes sense for you and your company. Aside from establishing your business, the way you structure it will have a big impact on your liability and taxes.

Write Your Business Plan

When you start down the path of opening a coffee shop, you will want to have some sort of plan. A plan helps keep you grounded in your concept and stay within your budget. Writing a business plan will also be needed when you talk to the property owner whose space you would like to rent.

The thing is that writing a business plan can be tough if you never have written one before. My recommendation is get help. There are many affordable templates out there to help you craft your plan.

Choose Your Equipment

Choosing the right coffee equipment will be a huge set of decisions! After all, what type of espresso machine should you get? Expresso machines are not cheap, so be sure you get the right one. The right espresso machine may have a lot to do with how many customers you plan to serve at the height of your rush.

Search for Vendors

When you own a coffee shop, you will be serving coffee, snacks, and possibly a number of other items. Your product lines you offer matter to your bottom line. While you will want to serve the things that your customers want, you will want to work with the vendors that provide you with fair terms. High extra costs can eat at your profit margin very quickly.

Sign Your Lease

To have a coffee shop or any type of coffee business, you will most likely need a physical space. Even for a coffee drive-thru stand, you will to have a physical stand and property to put it on. Unless your coffee business is a coffee truck or bike stand, you will most likely be signing some type of rental agreement for using that space.

Signing that lease will be an important factor for you. Make sure you review the terms of the lease. I recommend getting help with reviewing your lease.

Hire Great Baristas

Baristas are the key to your business. In many ways they are the “face” of your company. Your baristas not only will help you provide great coffee, but they will help drive your sales. Be sure to take your time in finding great baristas. Once you hire them, invest in their training. Treat them well. Pay them fairly and your business will grow.

Plan Your Grand Opening

It’s time to plan your Grand Opening. Put your planned opening date on the calendar. Develop benchmarks so that you will be sure to open on time. Promote your grand opening and reach out to local business and neighbors.

Need Extra Help to Start Your Coffee Shop?

Coffee Shop Startups provides an incredible audio resource for aspiring coffee shop owners.


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