- The main steps to open a coffee shop
How often do you hear “I need coffee” in the morning? Are you a coffee lover? Do you have any entrepreneur skills? If so, it is the perfect time to launch your own coffee business.
Nowadays it is almost impossible for a modern man to pass by a good coffee shop. Everyday people all over the world drink millions of cups of this fantastic drink. Most of the people cannot imagine their mornings without a cup of coffee; some prefer to enjoy its taste even in the evening. And what about a heart-to-heart talk with a cup of rich coffee?!
If you own a cozy coffee shop that is opened with love and taste, this type of business can bring rather good profits. But what way to go to open a good-quality coffee stand or a shop with delicious drinks and a variety of desserts?
You can go three different ways:
- Buying a franchise. In a few words, it is the ability to run a business under a well-known brand (trademark) in a specific location on the basis of an agreement between a franchisor and a franchisee. All the essential business decisions are made for you.
- Purchasing an existing business. Buying a ready business is an excellent alternative to creating a company from scratch. This option will require a large number of different inspections. To avoid mistakes when buying a business, collect as much information about it as possible. Make sure the business is profitable enough to go further.
- Opening a business from scratch. This option requires much time, efforts, and attention. At the same time, it offers much more freedom and flexibility. Here you control the process, make decisions and take responsibility for any action performed.
Let’s pay more attention to opening a coffee shop from scratch and discuss the main steps how to start a coffee shop successfully.
The main steps to open a coffee shop
Learn as much as possible about your industry
You might ask yourself, “How do I open a coffee shop?”, “How do I open a cafe?” or “How much does it cost to start a business?” Nobody is born with the expertise of opening a business. Starbucks owner is not an exception. He did not launch his business knowing absolutely everything about running a coffee shop. Everyone needs to get this experience and acquire the necessary knowledge from somebody somewhere. And that is fine.
If your first experience of acquaintance with a coffee shop business is the vacancy of a barista, that’s a great chance to start learning the industry. To be a successful entrepreneur, it is not enough to have ambitions only. It is necessary to learn and research all the time, to learn some new tendencies in your business area, to investigate someone else's experience. If the entrepreneur follows this rule, he moves forward.
Evaluate your skills and knowledge you have and decide on where you need to invest time and energy to open a successful coffee shop. Communicate with other owners of coffee shops, ask questions, research. Attend coffee events, seminars, workshops, trade shows. Visit your local coffee shops, take a cup of coffee, sit and observe. This is a good investment into your knowledge base.
Think over your vision and make a business plan
Starting a coffee shop, it is necessary to determine the vision of the future coffee shop. Will your coffee store only serve coffee and desserts? Will you offer your visitors the opportunity to have a tasty and inexpensive meal, for example, a business lunch? Will you make alcoholic cocktails or add liqueurs and brandy to your coffee? Will it be a coffee place to sit and relax or a quick coffee to go? Maybe you have your own idea? Do not try to cover all the services, focus on your strength and narrow your target clientele. Be creative and differentiate yourself from other coffee places nearby.
It is so cool and exciting to open a coffee shop from scratch, to think over the interior and create a unique and cozy atmosphere in it. Of course, to create a coffee shop "with its own face” is expensive, but it's worth it.
Business planning is necessary to achieve financial success; it is an essential initial step in the process to operate a long-term and efficient company or an enterprise. A modern entrepreneur should be able to determine the prospects for the development of his business and be ready for structural changes in the production.
In simple words, it is a document, which summarizes your vision of the business, its overview and services description, marketing, financial, and operational plans.
Once you are ready with a business plan, familiarize yourself with law and tax regulations and obtain a host of licenses and permits on the local, state, and federal levels.
Choose a location
Well, it is not a secret that location matters. Choosing the right place to open a cafe is one of the critical components of success. Even the most beautiful coffee shop in the wrong place will not make any profit.
Do not postpone searching for your location because it is better to have a couple of options to compare and analyze them to get the best variant for you. Note, this might be time-consuming. You can begin with the places you know and go further from there.
Working with a local broker to find a perfect place for your coffee shop will save your time and energy, but make sure you are aware of the fee 7-10% of the total lease costs.
The coffee shop should be in a lively place. It is best in the business or student area, close to major transport stations, in a large shopping center. A quiet area should not even be considered as an option: the coffee shop will be paid off with a high number of daily visitors.
Check out if there are many vehicles or people pass by this place within a day. People are always looking for good-quality food and drink, and your coffee shop will have a good chance of building a loyal clientele if it is in such a high-traffic area.
You can open a small coffee shop on an area of 50 sq.m., but for a larger place, you need 100-150 sq.m. You will need enough space for drinks and selling, separated from the hall by a coffee shop counter.
Think about your brand identity
Even if the coffee is the most delicious, and the atmosphere is exquisite - people will not come to your coffee shop if they do get the desired mood there. Having a memorable brand face is essential.
If the name of the coffee shop is chosen properly, you will not have to invest a lot of money in promotion and PR-campaign. The name has to match the expectations and motivation of the target audience and be recognizable and easy to pronounce.
Make a design of the coffee shop logo. The recipe of the popularity is simple: create a cool logo and name — and here they are printed on t-shirts, cups, etc. Due to the trend of minimalism pay attention to the minimum of color and details.
Interior design and equipment
The interior of the coffee shop is the last stage of creating a corporate identity. Range and design unity, and expressing the key idea of the business, should be present in everything — from the color of the walls to the proposed varieties of coffee. There are no restrictions on the choice of style for coffee shops. It should complement the name of the place and remind of your mission. Look at some popular coffee shop styles below.
- Ecostyle. There is not much fresh air in a big overcrowded city. Surround your visitors with greenery, wood, and upholstered furniture in pastel colors to cool their overloaded brains.
- Minimalism. The minimalistic interior is clean, spacious and simple: painted white walls and a color touch of some particular detail, for example, mint green lamps. This design creates an atmosphere of freshness and allows guests to focus on the delicious drinks and warm talks.
- Loft. Subdued lighting, warm colors, a lot of wood, brick, and iron — these are the hallmarks of the Loft style. Despite its simplicity, industrial urbanism requires a professional approach of the designer - otherwise, your coffee shop risks becoming a dump of industrial waste.
- Vintage. Vintage is an excellent solution if you want to emphasize the reliability and old traditions.
A coffee shop is quite a liberal place, so you can express your imagination in its design and implement all your coffee shop ideas.
The place for coffee brewing can be decorated with a bar counter or a beautiful showcase for desserts. Do not forget to buy the right dishes. Each type of coffee is served in a special cup. Coffee equipment and equipment for a kitchen is quite a costly part of the business plan. Since your guests will be coffee lovers, you will not be able to save on the quality of coffee shop equipment. Each type of grain needs its own coffee grinder. You can cooperate with the local suppliers to provide you with coffee shop supplies, including a coffee machine or professional coffee grinder.
So, you will need refrigerators and freezers; a coffee machine and several coffee grinders; a mixer; a juicer; a microwave and oven for baking; a cash register; mobile terminals for waiters, and necessary furniture for the kitchen.
A lot depends on the staff of the coffee shop. What's the sense of your "magic" atmosphere and expensive design, if the waiters are slow, and the barista brews tasteless coffee. If you do not have plans to cook in your coffee shop, it will make simplify the task. It will only be necessary to establish relations with suppliers of semi-finished products and finished baking. If you plan a kitchen, you will need a cook and technologist.
To work in the hall, find waiters and organize training for them. A professional barista is necessary for a coffee shop. To keep your coffee shop clean and tidy, you will need to find a cleaner. If you do not plan to manage the process of your coffee shop, then hire a competent manager. An accountant can be invited to come.
Remember, top-notch customer service with a warm and friendly environment is everything in a food industry. This is the sequence of actions of the staff from the meeting of the guest to his leaving. It also includes behavioral patterns, communication with a client, even facial expressions, and gestures. Make sure you hire the right people to provide a wow customer experience!
An indispensable condition for a good coffee shop is a rich selection of coffee, so the range must include cappuccino, espresso, latte, americano, mocha, ristretto, etc. The further range and menu of the coffee shop depend mainly on the desire and imagination of the owner. Sweet desserts and rolls are ideal for a cup of strong coffee. Do not rush with other dishes, let it some time to check your clientele’s needs.
You can offer your visitors a choice of cups they like or syrups that complement a fragrant drink. As an option, you can offer alcoholic cocktails, including a mandatory ingredient, such as coffee with liquor or brandy.
The quality of the coffee offered in your coffee shop makes an image and reputation of your business. When buying, you should be careful about the shape, color, and roasting of coffee beans. It is essential to understand the aroma of raw materials and prepared drink, determine the degree of saturation and feel the presence of impurities. The aroma of delicious grains is clean, without additional smells, and their color and size is uniform in one batch. The best option is to purchase three or four varieties of coffee for different types of drink.
Start marketing before you officially open your coffee shop. Your business needs to be advertised to be popular and make a profit.
Invite family and friends. They, firstly, will be happy for your success, and secondly, they will be able to tell you what needs to be improved and corrected. To attract more customers, you can arrange various events and workshops at the coffee shop.
Make sure you create a profile of your coffee shop in all the popular social networks. Drop off some free coffee to local businesses with a flyer that promotes your opening day. Advertise yourself on TV and radio, invite famous food bloggers and influencers to try your coffee and enjoy the atmosphere of your fabulous place.
Public surveys show that 70% of consumers trust brands that have their own websites or social media pages. On the website, you can publish a menu, photos of the interior of the coffee shop, workshop events, etc. You can also have a coffee shop blog on your website.
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Opening a coffee shop business is hard work. But like every business, you need to be ready to face difficulties along the way. So, keep an optimistic attitude. Good luck!