Thinking about starting your own coffee shop? You’re not alone. Coffee shops are already incredibly popular. A variety of coffee franchises to challenge industry leader Starbucks are already available, but there’s no need to spend a huge amount of money on a franchise. You can launch your own independent coffee shop or cafe as well. Just take a look at the list of essential tips below.
10 Steps to Open a Coffee Shop
Secure the Right Equipment
Start by considering the kinds of products you want to offer for sale. The type of coffee you sell will determine the equipment that you need to have on hand. That list can include a cappuccino machine, drip coffee machines, press pots or French presses. Depending on your space and resources, you might even secure a variety of different items so that you can offer a larger variety of coffee beverages for sale when you open a coffee shop.
Choose a Space
Then you’ll need to find the right space to open a coffee shop. This can range from a full brick and mortar location to a small cart or truck. The smaller the space you have to work with, the less variety of beverages and food items you can realistically offer to customers. But if you have a full shop space, you can offer a full menu of different selections.
Find the Right Location
The location of your space can also play a major part in the success of your coffee shop. If you’re opting for a brick and mortar space, choosing one that’s in a downtown area or along a major thoroughfare can really increase your foot traffic. If you’re going with a cart or truck, you might choose to set up at local fairs or farmer’s markets. Or you could even set up a coffee space within a college, hospital, shopping center or office building.
Adhere to All Local Regulations
Different states and local governments have different regulations when it comes to zoning and local health department mandates. You’ll need to check in with your state and local governments to find what they require of coffee shops in the area where you want to open a coffee shop.
Research the Competition
You’ll also need to take a look at the other businesses that sell coffee in the area. Don’t just look at actual coffee shops, but also consider diners, carts and any other business that might compete with you. Then look at the prices and offerings to see if it’s an environment where you’ll be able to compete. That doesn’t necessarily mean that your products need to be cheaper than everyone else’s, but if your products are much more expensive you should at least offer something that customers can’t get on every other corner when you open a coffee shop.
Hire Some Staff
Depending on the size and offerings of your business, you may need to hire some staff to help you serve customers and run the day-to-day operations. The amount of staff you’ll need will depend on your budget, the area where you want to set up, the amount of products you plan to serve and your hours. If you’re running a small cart with just regular old coffee, you may be able to do it yourself. But if you’re starting a shop with a full line of coffee products and other food items in a high traffic area, you’ll likely need a larger team.
Source Specialty Items
You may be able to get away with selling regular old wholesale coffee to some customers. But more and more people are becoming aware of the differences in quality among coffee suppliers. That means they’re getting picky about where their coffee comes from. So it can be beneficial to find a specialty blend or reputable roaster that more sophisticated coffee buyers will appreciate. You can even create your own signature blends to help your products really stand out from the competition.
Think About Food Items
It’s not a necessity, but a lot of coffee shops find it beneficial to sell some sweets or other food items to go along with the coffee. If that’s a part of your business plan, you’ll need to also consider the equipment that you’ll need to make those food items. You also may need to adhere to some additional regulations in order to serve food to customers safely.
Furnish Your Space
If you have the space, you can also set up some places for your customers to sit and relax in your coffee shop. Invest in some couches, chairs and tables to make it a comfortable environment for people. And maybe even offer free WiFi to attract connected customers.
Market Your New Business
Once you have all the essentials in place, it’s time to market your new coffee shop. Even if you’ve set up shop in a high traffic area, your business could benefit from some additional marketing activities. At the very least, you can set up a website and social media presence to make it easy for online customers to find and communicate with your business. You might also consider local ads or sponsoring local events.